Most Indian television shows don’t follow the western concept of finite seasons, so it’s not surprising that the successful ones end up having a lot more episodes to their credit.
Until recently, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi held the record for running for a whopping 1,833 episodes. With Balika Vadhu now surpassing that figure, we look at other shows that have been on air for over four years, and what makes them click.
Plot: After 1,855 episodes over seven years, the story of Anandi’s child marriage has now moved on to her daughter being wed as a child, and how she is ill-treated by her in-laws. The show that caught the audience’s fancy has been delivering stable ratings, but it hasn’t matched its initial popularity in the past couple of years.
What works: Shashank Vyas, who plays Jagya in the show, says, "The social message and the good content have helped the show connect with the audience over the years."
Scope for improvement: "The show touches upon issues that need attention, but perhaps we should tap relevant topics too. Realism has been the USP of the show, but I feel we need a bit more of it now."
Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah
Plot: Six years and 1,500 episodes later, producer Asit Modi and his creative team have thankfully not succumbed to the time- or generation-leap tactic to boost ratings or sustain the interest of their viewers. The sitcom has garnered consistent ratings, and retains its loyal audience.
What works: Dilip Joshi, who plays Jethalal in the show, attributes its success to sheer hard work and commitment. "It’s been a wonderful journey; everyone has always put their best foot forward," he says.
Scope for improvement: "We shoot 12 hours a day, even on Sundays. I would love to reduce our number of working hours, and get Sundays off," says Dilip.
Diya Aur Baati Hum
Plot: This show, which recently hit the 1,000-episode mark, has been on air for four years now. The story revolves around a young girl who gets married to a sweet-maker, and he helps her realise her dream of becoming an IPS officer. The USP of the show is that the makers have blended the romance of the couple and the friction between the girl and her mother-in-law well, to engage the audience.
What works: Deepika Singh, who plays Sandhya in the show, says, "The writer and producer, Shashi Mittal, and the creative team have ensured that the story is engaging and entertaining. When I meet fans of the show, they say they love watching it with their family, and that it has a good social message too."
Scope for improvement: "There is nothing that I would like to change; I feel blessed to be part of this show," says Deepika.
Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai
Plot: The six-year-old show — about a young couple discovering love after marriage, in a joint-family setting — has completed 1,650 episodes. It is currently set in Cape Town, South Africa. The lead character, Akshara (played by Hina Khan), has shed her saris and heavy jewellery for a simple, modern look. With multiple time leaps, the show now focuses on the lead pair and their teenage kids.
What works: Producer Rajan Shahi says, "It’s a family show that doesn’t have negative characters or loud drama. Everyone in a family can watch it. The positivity, culture, traditions and family bonding keep the audience glued to the show. From the first day till now, the flavour has not changed."
Scope for improvement: "Every character is too perfect. I would like to add a little imperfection that would make the characters more endearing," says Rajan.