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Why mythology is an evergreen favourite on small screen

Santoshi Maa, which draws inspiration from the cult classic film Jai Santoshi Maa, went on air on November 30 and the channel is hopeful about the show’s success. Industry insiders also inform that the hit mythological show Devon Ke Dev...Mahadev might also have a rerun. With so many shows on air, we try to find out why mytho shows are always a hit with the audiences.

tv Updated: Dec 02, 2015 21:08 IST
Shreya Mukherjee
Gracy Singh is back on the small screen with Santoshi Maa.
Gracy Singh is back on the small screen with Santoshi Maa.(YOUTUBE GRAB)

The first two major shows that took the nation by storm were Ramayana and Mahabharata. That was in the late 1980s when Doordarshan was the only channel available to Indian television viewers. Interestingly, both were mythological shows and became instant hits. Since then innumerable mythological shows have been aired on both Doordarshan and private television channels and the audience have always enjoyed watching them. It goes without saying that mythological shows have been a safe bet for television channels, helping them generate high TRPs. Currently, the two ongoing shows, Suryaputra Karn and Sankat Mochan Mahabali Hanuman, too, are garnering high TRPs. Siya Ke Ram, a story told from Sita’s perspective, which went on air recently too, has struck a chord with the audience. Santoshi Maa, which draws inspiration from the cult classic film Jai Santoshi Maa, goes on air today and the channel is hopeful about the show’s success. Industry insiders also inform that the hit mythological show Devon Ke Dev...Mahadev might also have a rerun. With so many shows on air, HT City tries to find out why mytho shows are always a hit with the audiences.

A still from Sankatmochan Mahabali Hanuman.

Why they work

Time and again shows such as Alif Laila, Durga Durgotinashini, Ek Aur Mahabharat, Jai Shri Krishna, Luv Kush, Mahabharat, Om Namah Shivaya, Ramayan and Vikram Aur Betaal have enthralled the audience. Actor Ashish Sharma, who plays Ram in Siya Ke Ram, says that our society draws a lot from the Bhagavad Gita and the Puranas. “This is one of the reason we connect with such shows and love watching them. Also most of us have not read the Mahabharata or the Ramayana, so these shows help us know the epics. Such shows should be remade and retold every decade keeping in mind the new generation,” says Sharma.

Abhimanyu Singh, CEO, Contiloe Pictures, and producer of shows such as Sankat Mochan Mahabali Hanuman and Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat, says that the audiences are attracted to these shows because of the philosophy that these stories contain. “It inspires everyone and the philosophies solve our problems and teach us good things about life,” says Singh, adding that the producers feel safe as mytho shows usually generate good business.

Siya Ke Ram.

Tweaked stories

To make the narrative appealing, the makers of such shows also tweak the stories. Singh says that since such tales can be re-interpreted, making minor changes at times make the show interesting. “Ravan’s image is that of a mayabi, so we can show him spying on Ram in the form of a butterfly in Ram’s garden. Such changes make the narrative gripping,” he says.

Ranjan Kumar Singh, director of Sankat Mochan Mahabali Hanuman, feels that at times minor changes in storyline are made to make it more visually appealing. “Everything is done keeping the essence intact as we don’t want to hurt anyone’s religious sentiments,” says Rajan. He also says that since mytho shows are high on special effects, it’s also a visual treat to the viewers.

Big shows, bigger names

Mytho shows boasts big star cast. Popular faces on television such as Gautam Rode, Ashish Sharma, Barkha Bisht Sengupta, Mohit Raina, Mouli Ganguly and even names from Bollywood such as Aarya Babbar, Dalip Tahil, Bijay Anand and Gracy Singh are and have been part of mythological shows.

“I don’t know why people feel popular actors avoid doing mytho shows. Aren’t they also doing good? Sometimes such shows give you more fame. Shows with good content are important and not the genre,” says Ashish, who would love to play Lord Krishna next.