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Switched on!

Channels increasingly prefer new producers to old hats, thanks to their novel ideas and cost-effective ways

tv Updated: Mar 14, 2012 14:58 IST
Rachana Dubey

This Monday, actor Bhairavi Raichura’s first daily show, Chhal, goes on air on Colors. With that, the number of new producers for TV shows will cross the two-dozen mark in less than two years. The actor, popular as Kajal Dada from the comic series Hum Paanch, joins the league of writers like Ila Bedi Dutta and Rakesh Paswan, and creative heads from channels like Saurabh Tewari, who’ve turned to production and launched their own banners.

“I will continue on Sasural Genda Phool and Balika Vadhu. But whenever I’m required to be on the sets of my own production, I will take a break because Chhal is my baby. I can’t dump it on others,” says Bhairavi, adding, “It’s a scary genre to debut with. No one has ever attempted social thrillers on TV. Until we test waters, how are we going to ever find out if something works or not?”

It’s this attitude of new producers that draws leading Hindi GECs to opt for them over old production companies. Shows like Pratigya, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, Bidaai, Afsar Bitiya, Uttaran, Hitler Didi and Devon Ke Dev Mahadev have helped channels not only up their TRPs but also cut costs since the per-episode charges paid to a new producer are less than those paid to established ones. In a hypothetical situation, if a newbie is paid R 10 lakh for an episode, a leading producer would easily charge twice.

Prashant Bhatt, head of fiction programming, Colors, says, “New producers come up with fresh ideas. In most cases, I’ve noticed that even if they’re trying to sell an old concept, their execution is different from what has been seen and heard.” Currently, channels like Zee TV, Star Plus, Life Ok, Colors and Imagine are front-runners as far as providing a platform to debutant producers is concerned.

Ila Bedi Dutta, who produces Hitler Didi, says, “At the outset, I didn’t know what I would do with the show since I’m a creative person who can only write and conceptualise. But the Zee TV personnel were helpful.”

Saurabh Tewari, who will soon launch two shows on leading channels, has in the past, headed two leading GECs as their programming hand, and hired several new producers. “Channels don’t consider costs as much as the quality of the ideas and the producer’s enthusiasm. A new guy is always ready to go an extra mile, and at times, even accommodate a channel’s frivolous demands,” he reasons. “The work relationship is extremely easy with newbies. So, they’re always welcome.”

Now, a film on Indira Gandhi!
Hollywood director Bruce Beresford, a three-time Oscar nominee and also an Oscar winner for Best Picture, arrives in India today. He will direct an international film for India-born Hollywood filmmaker Krishna Shah, later this year. Shah is in talks with major studios in India for the big-budget film, Birth Of A Nation. It’s an epic war drama along the lines of Gandhi and Pearl Harbor.

The film will have late prime minister Indira Gandhi as its protagonist and will talk about her involvement with China, President Nixon and the American Seventh Fleet. Casting starts in a couple of months. A debutant will be hired to play Indira while the rest of the cast will be a mix of Hollywood and Bollywood faces.