Samir Soni, the intense anti-hero of the recently cancelled TV show Parichay, is fully aware of what his online fans are doing to get the show back. And we spoke to him to find out what he thinks about the online movement.
Do you interact often with your fans, especially those who have been rallying to get Parichay back on air?
I often get their messages even though I am not active on Facebook and Twitter. They somehow they manage to track my email id or even my phone number and get in touch with me. I am aware of how popular the TV fan websites are. Fans understand what's working or not working on the shows. They have their own observations about the story lines and most often I tend to agree with them, since that's educated audience giving an informed opinion. At times I have felt strongly against some changes that didn't go with the concept. And even fought for what I thought was right, even at the cost of getting a bad reputation for being considered difficult.
How important is the online fandom in today's television scenario?
There are diverse people watching the shows today, be it a housewife, a kid in a small town or a young college girl watching it at home. They are all going on the net to get their voices heard, which are only growing louder and can't be ignored any longer. People somehow have a clichéd profile of a viewer but with a lot of younger, social media accessing generation becoming involved now, it's not easy to club the TV audience into one, single bracket. They have a different opinion that might not always be reflected in the TRPs. Of course, TRPs are still relevant and this online fandom might not be the majority. But what they represent is a very passionate minority that adds substantial value to the shows.
You have a hugely active online fan following yourself, people who are constantly vying for your return on the screen. How does that make you feel?
It feels very flattering reaffirms my belief in the decision to stay away from TV shows and films that I don't find interesting. I wouldn't want to be involved with something that insults the intelligence of the viewers. Some television shows do that and they should be thankful that the audience still continues to watch them, not because they agree with all that they're seeing but because television is such an addictive medium.
What about the shows which dip in quality after a few weeks of being on air?
The quality of the shows today is not a reflection of the audience but that of the mindset of the makers. It's certainly not easy to make entertaining shows that are intelligent as well if you are working six to seven days in a week for the whole year, without a break. If you go by the length of the episodes (roughly 22-24 minutes) we are almost churning a full length feature film in two weeks. So one can't expect the quality unless there is a lot of discipline and planning involved, none of which is easy to do. So most makers opt for a cop out and are not always willing to put in the hard work that's required. They have to understanding that the audience is not stupid, they are just tolerant and soon they won't be. Which is why the concept of seasons is very important for us, and thankfully with the Indian version of 24 (An American television series which is being adapted for the Indian screen by Anil Kapoor and directed by Abhinay Deo) coming here, that trend will soon begin.
And, what do you have to say about the intense online campaign to bring Parichay back on air? Do you think the channel is willing to do something about it?
Honestly, there is little development on that front. The channel is aware of the online fans asking for a second season but they're hoping this protest will die off on its own. They feel that story has been exhausted and there's nothing left to show. I feel a show runs because of the characters and that's what the audience connects most with. As for Parichay, those characters are there and it's time to enjoy the hard work. But seems like that's not going to happen here.
So, when can we see you on screen next?
For television, I won't do something unless it excites me. I have a few films lined up, which I will soon begin working on.
From HT Brunch, May 12
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