Years ago Kyunkii...Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, a soap portraying a Gujarati family changed the face of Indian television forever. Since then soaps with a Gujarati touch have gathered much TRP froth over the years enticing viewers across the country.
In the past, there have been successful examples like Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka, Khichdi, Baa Bahoo Aur Baby, Teen Bahuraniyaan, Jasuben Jayantilal Joshi Ki Joint Family, Hamari Devrani, Bandini, Mukti Bandhan, Krishnaben Khakhrawala, Hamari Saas Leela, Gulaal, Papad Pol, Sanskaar Lakshmi
. Today even as the industry is poised for a leap forward, the Gujarati family still rules small screen. Saath Nibhaana Saathiya
and Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah
are riding on a popular wave, while Alakshmi — Hamari Super Bahoo
andR K Laxman Ki Duniya
are also much sought after. According to TAM Peoplemeter data available, for week 4, Saath Nibhana Saathiya
garnered a 3.4 TRP, Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah
topped the charts for the second consecutive week with a TRP of 4.4, while new entrants Amita Ka Amit
got 0.6 TRP and Sanskaar — Dharohar Apno Ki
had a TRP of 1. 4. The soon to air Sanjay Leela Bhansali
is based on a Gujarati novel and is set in the state. Considering Gujarat is not part of the Hindi heartland, it is surprising that any show revolving around/set in Gujarat manages to grab max eyeballs. So what makes GECs tilt favourably towards Gujarat? Prashant Bhatt, fiction programming head of a leading GEC shared, "Gujarat has a rich culutral tradition which makes it easier to set a storyline amid a colourful backdrop. " And what endears a Gujarati family to viewers across the country? Producer Siddharth Kumar Tewary says, "Research shows Gujarati families are quite prominent on tele soaps. Since regional television is almost non-existent in Gujarat, people from the state automatically turn to Hindi GECs, giving channels big chunks of viewerships. Plus, Gujarati culture is vibrant and with Gujaratis having a presence all over the world, audiences find an emotional connect with stories set in Gujarat."
Gujarat — a state with myriad hues of talent be it in theatre, literature, art, dance, craft — has a pan-Indian appeal, so, naturally shows revolving around a Gujarati family. are favourite with GECs. Asitkumarr Modi, a producer says, "Gujaratis believe in living life to the fullest. Most Gujarati families live in joint family system and cherish their relationships. This helps in creating a layered storyline revolving a big family. So Gujarati families rake in higher popularity and offers enough masala to become an eyeball grabber."
For more than a decade, the Gujarati flavour seems to be a strong ingredient for a successful soap story and as long as the TRPs keep rocketing, the pattern will continue.