Can't get enough of Bollywood? Movies theatres, promos and film magazines aren't the only things you need to depend on now. Take a few minutes to flip through the TV channels and you get Bollywood action right at home. On TV.
Every channel has at least three shows with movie songs for titles: Laagi Tujhse Lagaan (Paap) on Colors, Sasural Genda Phool (Delhi 6) on Star Plus, Mahi Way (Kal Ho Na Ho) on Sony and, of course, Emotional Atyachaar (Dev.D) on Bindass. Instant connect makes this practice a hit, says Saurabh Tewari, head of programming-fiction on Imagine. "When you're launching a new show, it's a good way to hook the audience." But that is where the influence ends says Tewari. Ultimately the show stands on its own merit.
Tewari himself was responsible for a few titles during his stint at Colors, (before he shifted to Imagine) such as Lagi Tujhse Lagan and Yeh Pyar Na Hoga Kam. Yeh Pyaar, in fact, did not just have a title inspired by Bollywood but even a Kishore Kumar classic (Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas) from Blackmail as its opening song.
The song-and-dance routine unique to the Indian film industry is now common on TV. Every celebratory episode - and remember they celebrate just about everything on TV - has to be an item number. Sometimes, they do an Om Shanti Om-style multi-cast gig or bring in a special guest.
Sukesh Motwani, fiction head, Zee says it's all part of the process. He feels that the execution of content could be Bollywoodised but not the content itself. "The scale is definitely getting grander like Bollywood, but the soaps are still about ordinary people. However, in scenes of high drama, I don't dismiss the possibility of borrowing from Bollywood."
Many shows also replicate the look and feel of characters from movies. Imagine's Do Hanson Ka Joda that was produced by Yashraj looked like a complete copy of the SRK-starrer Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. Even the basic plot was the same as the film.
Two brand new shows on Star Plus and Zee bring Devdas back in vogue. Star's Tere Liye's promos not only pander to Bengali sensibilities but also seem inspired by the film's cinematography. Lead character Taani's run (sari wafting on the stairs included) to see her lover (in the promos) is almost a straight lift from Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdaas where Aishwarya as Paro makes a dash to see the dying Dev. The male lead sulks like Shah Rukh as well. Zee's Sanjog Se Baani Sangini, on the other hand, has a Paro alright but she is from Haridwar.
And the Bollywood craze on TV seems to be working fine for filmstars too. We saw more of Salman Khan on various TV shows - reality shows, soaps, talent hunts et al - than we saw him in promo ads for Dabangg. The scene was totally different only three years back, Says Tewari: "Just to get a star to do a small cameo on one of the top 3 shows of TV was tough. Now you have them promoting their movie everywhere - from the no. 7 show on some channel to the top most."