At the trailer launch of the sleek looking Television series 24, we caught up with the ever reticent Manisha Sharma, Weekend Programming Head, COLORS.
Excited about the response to the show, Manisha spoke about other popular weekend programmes like Jhalak Dikhla Ja and Comedy Nights with Kapil
topping the popularity chars while also talking about Bigg Boss 7 and other future plans on Colors
The trailer of 24 directed by Abhinay Deo looked glossy and exceptional by Indian television standards. Tell us more about the show.
24 is the Indian adaptation of the American series 24 which is famous worldwide but we are the only country where we will be re-shooting the series. With Anil Kapoor
as the producer we are adopting it to the Indian setting. It is a big thing for all of us at Colors
as it is on an international format and we have to keep up with the production quality which has to match international standards. It is a finite series which launches in October this year and we are committed to the property. It is a very successful property so we are already ready to do many more seasons of the show.
As you said it has to match international standards so how was it shooting for the show?
Television is shooting non-stop and 24 is a finite series. We dont have the luxury of not thinking as to what we are going to shoot. We have spent a lot of money on production values and the concept of a typical daily show doesnt apply here. We cannot go backward and forward like them. We have a bound script and that is the advantage of a finite series.
Each episode of the show is 24 hours. One cannot cheat time while shooting the show and we are following the time pattern and clocking it too. The clock will always be followed and we had to plan it real right so as not to leave any scope for an error. We cannot take leaps and cheat the clock. The story goes that the Prime Minister is in danger and the threat needs to be uncovered and stopped within 24 hours.
Was it a challenge to make the show keeping in mind the Indian audience?
Yes, the original 24 is very edgy and it was a challenge to make it in the Indian format keeping in mind that we are creating it for the Indian audience. Lot of time went into writing the show and we might have to tweak the story a bit but there wont be a drastic difference. However, there will hardly be any differences as we had workshops, which is what I love about format shows. We have had guys coming in and we looked at how they did things which helped us immensely. The days needed to shoot is realistically close to what they are doing and we are following the international rhythm of how that show is done. So far we have managed to shoot 16 episodes and we are now planning to shoot more.
After seeing the trailer many are comparing the show to be on the same scale as a film.
I would like to say that Television is a different medium and film is different. While Films are a wide medium, Television is a close up medium. In a Film you buy a ticket and can barely leave your seat but in Television you can surf channels. The grammar of both the mediums is very different and the original 24 too is TV and not Films so we have to work on it as for TV.
And how was it working with Anil Kapoor on a show like this?
As the producer of 24, Anil Kapoor
has kept the production values very high. As a person he is genuinely superb, humble and hardworking. Television is a very relentless job and the kind of rigors which go into shooting for a Television show is very difficult but we can see that as an actor even he is getting used to it and enjoying it. And he is giving his best since he has got the format into the country so he is very committed to the project, to the product and how it is coming across.
Coming to other shows; weekend programming on Colors is a big number grosser.
Yes, it is an achievement that we are proud of. I think it is all because of the channels decision to experiment and sticking to that commitment despite all the highs and lows that we witnessed over the past five years since the launch. The hard work by the in-house team and the production houses we partnered with too contributes to the success.
So have you cracked the success formula?
There is no success formula but we all know that weekends are for relaxation and that is what even our audience wants to do " they just want to sit back, relax and enjoy the time spend watching Television. That is the reason we have kept our weekend programming very easy, light-hearted, and fun. Dance and Comedy is a good combination and more so when there are celebrities involved. After a hectic week at work, comedy is something one looks forward to. With Jhalak, our contestants have been really pushing the limits with their performances, dance forms and it is the sheer passion that can be seen right through. The jury and anchors bring in their own flavour and have made this season an entertaining one.
While fiction is always popular, this time it is couple of different type of non-fiction programmes which have soared in popularity. What must be the reason behind the same?
I think it is the unique quality of our content which set these shows apart from the rest. Jhalak is a dance reality show which is getting better every season, every year while the success of Comedy Nights with Kapil
despite it being new is that it belongs to the comedy genre while keeping in mind the family audience so it appeals to all.
Jhalak Dikhla Jaa - Dancing with the Stars is in its 6th season this year and its the second season for Colors, so how do you bring the audience back to watch it year after year?
It all depends on the response from the audience which obviously plays a large role in bringing a show back for another season, year after year. The format of the show which gets new celebrities each year who showcase their dancing skills also has a human angle to it when we show all the hard work that goes into practicing and coming up with a better performance each time. There are new dance forms to be learned and display so that too makes it worthwhile viewing and obviously the audience wants to come back for more again. Not to forget our hosts and the judges who give us a mix of dance, drama and humor on the show.
I guess it is because of the fresh and unique format which is very much different from the usual comedy shows on television today which has made Comedy Nights with Kapil
a huge success. Everyone has seen Kapil Sharma
perform comedy acts earlier too but here he is supported by other able comedians who up the comedy quotient with their talent. Also the interactivity with the audience, the participation of stars who come in as guests on the show makes everyone give their best. When the audience sees the stars too enjoying the show as much as they are enjoying, it establishes a connect.
After Jhalaks grand finale, Bigg Boss season 7 will be the next big ticket for Colors. What are the preparations on the same?
As we all know, Bigg Boss season 7 focuses on Heaven and Hell this time and is again hosted by Salman Khan. We are finalizing the names of the contestants too and even though we cannot reveal anything as of now it is sure going to be an entertaining watch with a mix of celebs and may be even exciting twists in the format.
What are the future plans when it comes to weekend programming on Colors?
We are waiting to see the reaction to 24. If this works for us I think its time for Indian television to have lots of fiction shows of international standards. Since all the shows that we do we are buy formats so there is a certain discipline which ensures that we do not deviate from the international standards. We at Colors
would like to explore more in this genre and I am very excited for the same.
Seema Khot Mattoo