Television’s reach and diverse audience is unparalleled. And the medium is growing in leaps and bounds. A lot has changed over time, but certain factors have played crucial roles. We take a look.
1. Reality shows
With new concepts hitting the small screen every year, reality shows have become game changers in the business of television. The growth of these shows may be attributed to their emotional connect with audiences. That explains why they rule weekend TRPs and attract A-list stars to promote their films. They are also a welcome respite from daily soaps and give talented individuals a shot at fame. In fact, quiz show Kaun Banega Crorepati gave a boost to Amitabh Bachchan’s career as well as the channel’s fortunes.
2. Gushy romance
Saas-bahu dramas may remain a staple, but there’s a fresh wave of romance in today’s TV shows. Qubool Hai, Sapne Suhane Ladkpan Ke, Madhubala and Pyaar Ka Dard Hai... have found favour with the audience. Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai (YRKKH) has even managed to complete 1,200 episodes. And the themes are getting mushier too. Most shows have an angry young man with a tormented past, falling in love with a bubbly girl, who turns his life upside down. YRKKH producer Rajan Shahi says, “Most shows do have a strong selling point of romance, which can be the driving force. But to sustain the show, other sub-plots are also needed.”
3. TV’s superstars
New stars emerge every day, but none have the evergreen appeal of Ram Kapoor or Ronit Roy. The current crop is riding on the fame of their ongoing shows, but these two have remained at the top for years. Their presence in a show very often determines its fate too. With just one show apiece in hand- Bade Achche Lagte Hain and Adaalat respectively-industry sources claim that they earn R1.25 lakh a day.
4. The big switch
Actors have always used TV as a stepping stone to the film industry, but they aren’t being relegated to side roles any longer. Sushant Singh Rajput quit Pavitra Rishta and went on to star in Kai Po Che. After its success, he has projects with Yash Raj Films, among others, in his kitty. Barun Sobti also quit a hit show (Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon) for films. “Work on TV gets monotonous and film roles are a good change,” he says.
5. Comedy — the way to go
Melodrama still rules ratings, but comedy isn’t far behind. Multiple shows in the genre are gaining pace, including the very popular Comedy Circus. This year, stand-up comedian Kapil Sharma broke the mould to produce, write and star in his own show, Comedy Nights With Kapil. Only a few weeks on air, it’s already a success, owing to his infectious humour and an interesting amalgamation of participative and interactive comedy. A-listers coming as guests during his weekend slot are an added bonus.
6. Getting fashionable
Popular TV stars Hina Khan, Jennifer Winget and Sanaya Irani have become fashion icons too. Their on-screen attires such as saris, ghaghra-cholis with kamarband and anarkalis have been influencing audiences’ style choices. Whether it is the way a sari is draped, the cut of a salwar kameez or an interesting accessory — TV fashion has always set trends among the masses. Designer Neeta Lulla, who designed the wedding outfit of Drashti Dhami’s character in Madhubala, says, “TV has become a huge aspirational medium. A lot of people, especially housewives, find these characters relatable and therefore emulate their style elements.”
7. From film to television
Movie stars aren’t appearing just as guests or judges on reality shows. They now want to be more involved with the small screen medium. Anil Kapoor is acting and producing in a Hindi remake of hit US show 24, while Anurag Kashyap is directing Amitabh Bachchan in a fictional series. Raj Nayak, CEO, Colors, says, “It (24) will have iconic sets, never-seen-before stunts and slickly edited sequences. No one has seen a show of this magnitude here. It'll be a game changer because in this industry, no one else has the concept of seasons.” Even filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali couldn’t resist the charm of TV and recently helmed an adaptation of Saraswatichandra.
8. Social awareness
Apart from entertainment, today’s shows aim to spread social awareness too. Balika Vadhu has a message at the end of every episode, while other shows constantly bring up family and society related topics. Even crime shows are gaining popularity. Instead of being gory and sensational, the likes of Crime Patrol, Shaitaan, Savdhan India (SI) and Gumraah tend to focus on social issues, helping viewers avoid becoming victims. Ajit Thakur, general manager, Life OK says, “The idea is to show people what to do and what to avoid. Crime shows on news channels deal with the establishment, but SI discusses what communities can do to prevent crime. Crime is a small part of SI, but a reality in our lives."