Is the pressure of TRPs not letting TV show makers to experiment with new content?

BySyeda Eba Fatima
Dec 10, 2022 11:56 PM IST

Indian television, for long, has been trying to reinvent and rediscover itself in terms of content

Indian television, for long, has been trying to reinvent and rediscover itself in terms of content. While several shows such as Naagin, Kawach among others have tried to bring something new to the table, there seems to be a constant pressure to maintain the TRPs and keep hold of the prime time, leading show makers to switch back to the gimmicky shows. And we see a return of the same old family dramas, saas bahu sagas and conflict between the good and bad. Will this chain ever break? We find out.

TV has been trying to come up with new stories with shows like Naagin and Kawach
TV has been trying to come up with new stories with shows like Naagin and Kawach

TV show producer Binaiferr Kohli believes that TV usually is for the masses and it has to be about everyday things that people have seen, heard or read.

“Even if its mythos, audiences have read it and are accustomed to it. If we try, and give them something that’s very foreign for them, or something they do not relate with, they won’t like it. And that’s then TRPs fall,” reasons Kohli on why TV content remains stuck in its comfort zone.

Kohli also believes that at the end of the day, audiences want to relax and watch something simple thing and not concentrate on understanding it so much.

She elaborates, “The tracks that work are the usual everyday things. The audience sees themselves in it, their sisters, mothers, children in those characters. They see their success and failures they’ve been experiencing. They wait for the good moments to come in the track because they relate to it and feel happy about it. They smile and cry with the characters. That’s what works and has been working forever.”

While a show like Naagin has way too many supernatural elements, there’s a catch why it’s clicking with the audiences. Actor Mahekk Chahal, who features in the show, says the story does the trick.

“The show has managed to survive for consecutive seasons because it always had a revenge plot, and that’s what everyone expects from a show like this. So, it’s the storyline that needs to resonate and then the show can belong to any genre, it doesn’t matter,” says the actor.

Perhaps that’s the reason most stakeholders feel that what’s already working with audiences, should not be touched or changed only for the sake of experimenting. They insist that makers can introduce new stuff by means of twist and characters to make it look fresh, but the base should always remain the same.

Director Lalit Mohan, who has backed several hit shows on the small screen asserts that it’s not like makers have never tried to experiment. He tells us, “I’ve worked on shows that were youth centric, totally different from the family dramas that we’ve been serving. I made a show called Roomies, inspired by the American show Friends. We were suppose to shoot 30 episodes but had to wrap it up at 26, because there were huge losses. People were not interested in watching it.”

As part of the creative industry, Mohan notes, one needs to understand that as much as this is art, it’s also a business. “You can’t keep on running a show for six months in the hope of getting good TRPs. The producer as well as the channel would go bankrupt that way,” he says.

That being said, some feel patience is the key when you are trying to give people something new, which is different from their usual taste.

Actor Rajniesh Duggal, who has featured in a handful of TV shows believes it’s unfair to expect audiences to get glued to a new concept, totally alien to them, overnight. “This change in terms of content would never come on TV unless everyone in the industry takes on the challenge of running the show anyhow for at least three to four months, and then may be taking a decision based on the audience’s reaction,” he states.

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