Even a decade ago, no one could have thought of writing an annual
sum-up article on the television industry, which was limited to a
Doordarshan and the odd Zee TV and Star World. Not only was acting in
television industry considered to be the last resort of a wannabe star,
but also like an old-age home for ageing, almost-retired stars.
Today not only are reams of newsprint used to let everyone know about
the goings-on in the industry, you even have television production
companies listed on the bourses. The year 2007 only contributed to
making the position of the television industry stronger in India. New
channels were launched, senior executives were poached from competitor
channels and innumerable makeovers and transformations happened.
Here's a recap of what happened in the big world of the small screen.
The Return of Reality Shows:
If there was one phenomenon that marked the television world in India
in 2007, it was the return of the reality shows with a bang. 2006 saw a steady decline in
the interest in reality shows, main reason being the winners getting
lost in the crowds. Though the Big Boss drama did manage to generate
some interest, it was not enough to overtake the serials.
That is what Sa Re Ga Ma Pa managed to do in 2007. So much was the
interest generated in this reality show that the audience preferred
watching it over Kyun Ki…a serial that has been on top of the TRP
charts for the last six years! But what was different in this year's
shows that helped it overcome 'epics' like Kyun Ki? Nothing - except
the fact that there was an overdose of them. If Zee had Sa Re Ga Ma Pa,
Star came up with Voice of India, not to forget Indian Idol from Sony,
which meant, even if you wanted to watch something else, you had little
option but to lend your attention to these shows. Plus, there is also
no denying the fact that the quality of singing improved amongst the
contestants, thereby leading to more interest.
Last, but definitely not the least, the cell phone companies and other
sponsors also let loose their purse strings to ensure enough publicity
and media hype over the contestants. With the Chhote Ustaads also in
play now, very soon you will see parents wanting their kids to become
singers akin to the craze of becoming cricketers today!
The unnatural death of serials:
Not every year sees so many mega serials being launched on television.
The first half of 2007 saw a plethora of serials being launched, only
to be taken off air within a few months. In an age when any serial
worth its salt completes 1000 episodes, a run for a few months is
nothing short of a mega-flop.
Take Kulvadhu for instance. Launched amidst a lot of hype and hoopla
and armed with biggies like Milind Gunanji, Kitu Gidwani
, Kulvadhu was
's (Maverik Productions) first television venture. But it
died an unnatural death due to low TRPs. Same was the story for Rishton
Ki Dor, Kabhi To Nazar Milao, Durgesh Nandini
, Aisa Desh Hain Mera,
Resham Dankh, Twinkle Beauty Parlour, Jeete Hain Jiske Liye – all
of them launched with an army of promotional salvos, but failed when it
came to standing the test of time. A weak script was the culprit in
most of the cases. The Indian television audience, it seems, is tired
of the run-of-the-mill family dramas and want something different.
Guess it's time television producers, like their Bollywood
counterparts, need to get more creative and think out better
storylines. They need to look at a Naya
Office Office or Baa, Bahoo Aur Baby to hit the bulls eye.
New channels on the block:
If you thought, the traffic jam on air was limited to metropolitan
airports, think again! The satellite situation is no better. And a
large part of the blame can be attributed to the geometric progression
at which television channels are growing.
The year 2007 saw channels like 9x, Bindaas, Zee Next and NDTV Imagine
as the big ticket launches. While the general entertainment channel 9X
(promoted by ex-STAR head honcho Peter Mukherjea's wife Indrani
Mukherjea) is the latest kid to hit the block, all the others are
specialized channels with a niche market. With so many channels aiming
at various niche markets, one wonders whether the consolidation
movement going on in the other industries (airlines, pharma etc) will
start raising its head here as well. The year also saw many head
honchos of television channels changing sides for greener prospects.
Balaji creative whizkid Sandeep Sickand left Ekta Kapoor
to join Sony,
only to quit after few months. Sameer
Nair, COO of Star TV India put in
his papers to move on to greener pastures. Ditto for Peter Mukherjea,
the man responsible for the stupendous success of Star channels in the
What was unimaginable for the last six years happened in 2007 – the
iconic Tulsi (played by Smriti Irani) changed! After a thorough search,
and equally rampant rumours, Gautami Gadgil
(better known as Ram
Kapoor's wife till recently) replaced Smriti, who (officially!) went on
a break only to form her own production house and act in newer serials.
While, Kyunki's popularity did not nose-dive, it did come down from the
numero uno position it was retaining for more than half a decade.
If this was not enough, Balaji also replaced Cezanne Khan (as Anurag
Basu) in its prime time serial Kasauti Zindagi Ki with Balaji loyal and
Kyun Ki star Hiten Tejwani
. With Hiten's popularity as Karan
skyrocketing every day, acceptance in his new role was much smoother
than Gautami Gadgil
's. Kasauti also saw another replacement in the form
of Vikas Sethi
, replacing Manoj
Bohra, who shot to fame with his role
of Prem in the same serial.
But why suddenly so many changes in the cast? And why are people like
Smriti Irani and Manoj
Bohra who were comfortable in their roles and
have cemented their positions opt to move ahead? Reasons vary from
fights with producers to the quest for making it bigger. While Irani
quit Kyunki due to a combination of both factors, Bohra quit purely
because of a tiff with the producer. Ditto for Cezzanne Khan, who had
infamous on and off set fights with Shweta Tiwari
Shows which are doing well in recent times are Chhoona Hai Aasmaan,
Dill Mil Gayye, Mere Apne
and ofcourse the reality shows. So what are
we looking forward to in the year to come? More competition to Balaji,
definitely, now that Smriti Irani's production house is providing
serials to the newly-launched 9X. Also, with NDTV's foray into the
entertainment world, Star and Times would be facing more competition.
But whatever happens, the winner in all cases is the viewer!
Author: Srabanti Chakrabarti