TOI: Out of the box--Gulaal

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Posted: 06 May 2011 at 8:05pm | IP Logged


Prime time shows are trying out unusual concepts in a bid to wow the viewers and grab eyeballs 

Amrita Mulchandani 

For those of you who thought zara hatke was a word associated with Bollywood films,think again.Even tellywoods top makers are now following the variety is the spice of daily life mantra in their prime time dailies.So,instead of the usual saas-bahu tearjerkers or mushy candyfloss romances,you have shows with protagonists who are different from the run-of-the-mill screen characters we were used to.In Baba Aiso Varr Dhoondo,the protagonist is a young dwarf and the show revolves around her trials and tribulations in her quest for true love;in Krishnaben Khakhrawala the leading lady is a tough working class woman who rules her home with an iron hand and is also a small businesswoman;in Looteri Dulhan the female protagonist marries and dupes older men for a living;Pyaar Kii Yeh Ek Kahaani is about vampires,Gulaal is about a woman with a lucky charm,Gunahon Ka Devta is about a reformed rebel and how far hell go for love,Phulwa is about a young dacoit and Chhoti Si Zindagi is about young children living in an orphanage.
By telly standards,theyd surely qualify in the different mode.So,what makes general entertainment channels (GEC) try out unusual concepts Is it just for the sake of variety or is it some sort of creative experiment Making a show based on an unusual concept is a risky decision but it is important to experiment.We try and strike a balance between experimental and regular shows.Sometimes the n ove l t y f a c t o r works,sometimes it doesnt.At the same time regular shows also may not have a 100 per cent guaranteed success rate.It is important to try four to five concepts every six months.Top channels can afford not to experiment but the rest have to do it to get the numbers, says Saurabh Tewari,programming head fiction of a leading GEC.
However,writer-producer Raakesh Paswan,whos producing Baba Aiso Varr Dhoondo,says that he didnt deliberately set out to do something different.I dont attempt different shows to make a point,I prefer to work on a story that appeals to me or touches my heart.Shows that have a social angle with a dash of entertainment are sure to make impact, says Raakesh.Is it risky,as other showmakers are doing soaps based on predictable formats There is no set formula for success,thats why makers churn out shows based on concepts which have worked in the past.No one wants to take chances.But I feel one needs to experiment and make some changes, says Raakesh.
Actors who essay the role of the main protagonists in these shows are also taking a professional gamble.If the show doesnt strike a chord with the audience and grab the required number of eyeballs,channels pull them off the airwaves and it means no show for the actors concerned.So in a scenario like this what makes actors take up such shows My show is about a widow with magical powers who marries her much younger brother-in-law.Its a concept that has not really been explored on Indian television before and it was a challenge to do this show.Only if we change the dynamics of what is happening on television can we get different 
content, says Manasi 
Parekh Gohil.Initially I was sceptical about playing a vampire in my show and making it appear different from the ones we have seen in horror films,but Ive been able to make the character appear convincing.As an actor one needs to take up new challenges, says Vivian DSena.The audience always wants something new and we have to cater to popular demand, says producerwriter Asit K Modi.While show makers are a cautious lot,unwilling to take too many e x p e r i m e n t a l turns,in the end what matters most is how the audience reacts to new concepts.For the hand that holds the remotes calls the shots in the TRPs game.amrita.mulchandani

(Clockwise from top right) Pyaar Kii Yeh Ek Kahaani,Baba Aiso Varr Dhoondo,Krishnaben Khakhrawala and Looteri Dulhan 

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