Joined: 01 December 2004
Mumbai, May 8: IT'S something everyone who watches TV knows—we're not watching the K serials, as much as we used to. We're sensing fatigue, a lack of interest in stories that have become so convoluted they cannot be unravelled or so bizarre they cannot be believed.
now, we have the figures to prove it. If you match recent TAM TRP
figures with those of a few months earlier or even last year the same
time, you will notice a significant dip, across channels, time bands
and for almost all the drama serials on air.
figures—in December 2004 Kyunki Saas Bhi Bahi Bahu Thhi rated 12.9,
Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki 10.5, Kasauti Zindagi Kay 10.8, Dekho Magar Pyar Se
3.7. In April 2005, the figures for the three shows are: Kyunki 10.4,
Kahani 9.8, Kasauti 8.7, Dekho 2.6.
In another comparison, last April, Star Plus had 60 episodes in the top 100 rated episodes for a week; a year later the figure has fallen to 51. What is true for Star Plus is equally applicable to other channels: Sony's Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin has enjoyed fluctuating fortunes—last April it was rated at 4.3 while now it is at 3.8. Similarly for Kkusum.
The afternoon serials are showing a drop in ratings too. Kumkum's gone from 7.3 to 5.6 in a year. The bottom line? We're still watching lots of TV but less of drama. Many of these shows have gone in for makeovers, changeovers and a switch of generations: thus Jassi's plain Jane is now a superstar model, Dekho's Nikki has gone from being an overgrown schoolgirl to a curvaceous good-looker and Kasauti... has advanced in years to focus on Prerna and Anurag's children. Astitva...Ek Prem Kahani (Zee) has also moved onto the gennext, while Yeh Meri Life Hai has gone from being about the ambitions of a young middle class girl to the usual teary melodrama. However, none of these strategies appear to have worked. Certainly, the next generation in shows like Kasauti... or Kahani... are not nearly as interesting as Prerna, Anurag, or Parvati and Co.
The changes in storylines have also been disappointing: in Yeh Meri..., Pooja marries her boss, Ronit is married to Pooja's sister Poornima. The show's effervescence has been replaced by rona-dhona. In Kkusum either the protagonist or husband Abhay are forever suspected of a crime and the story moves in circles. Kasauti... went in for location outdoor shoots in foreign parts, but this has not been able to paper over the shortcomings of the younger characters.
Another mystifying factor that contributes to viewer disenchantment is that characters never remain true to kind. Abhay (Kkusum) goes from good to bad and bad to worse before becoming good again. Ditto Dekho's Karan. And now, in the latest character transformation, Amrita Singh's character in Kkavyanjali (Star Plus) has become a manic evil woman when she was a good and loving mother earlier on.
Another and perhaps the most important factor in this disillusionment with drama serials is that we have discovered the virtues of reality show, especially since Indian Idol. And with more such shows—Fame Gurukul on Sony, KBC on Star, the great Indian soap will need much more than numerology to spell success.
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