Coming soon post-lockdown blues: Straight on to your small screen!
As your favourite shows get ready to brighten up the television screens again, we chat with producers and experts to find out how things are likely to pan outUpdated: Jul 07, 2020 22:42 IST
It’s not just Bollywood that has felt the hefty impact of the nationwide lockdown. Hindi TV shows, too, were stopped in their tracks, with channels having no option but to telecast old episodes. But now, TV producers have gone back to work, and fresh episodes are in the offing. Interestingly, BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) India’s latest data shows that Malayalam and Kannada GECs [general entertainment channels] have witnessed huge viewership growth with the return of original episodes.
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Now, as Hindi shows get ready to brighten the small screen again, the big question is: will makers have to go out of the way to re-connect audiences with their shows, or will it happen automatically? “I don’t think connecting again with the audiences is going to be an issue because we are still the same people with same habits and heart. Indians are emotional people, so if we strike a bond with certain storyline/characters, it becomes a part of our life,” says producer Sumeet Mittal, whose two shows – Barrister Babu and Shubharambh – have already gone back on floors.
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Producer Rajan Shahi, on the other hand, feels that everyone has to be “on our toes to survive.” He says: “At this point, no one knows the future of the shows. I feel, now, we have to recreate the brand of a show, and that will be nothing less than re-launching them. We’ve already seen several shows shutting down [during the lockdown], and not many new ones getting the green signal. So the biggest challenge for us will be to make sure that TRPs come in strongly and audiences come back,” says the maker of shows such as Yeh Rishtey Hain Pyaar Ke and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai among others.
But Mittal, whose Barrister Babu started with fresh episodes on July 6, feels Indian audiences’ love for “their favourite shows will never go away.” He says: “We want to see stories which give a next-door kind of vibe. And during the lockdown, it’s not as if audiences got a better option [to watch] as per their taste and liking.”
Experts, on their part, feel the “pent-up demand” is going to work its magic. “I have a feeling that people are going to lap up the fresh entertainment options – be it films or otherwise – as and when they come up for consumption,” says Atul Kasbekar, managing director of Bling Entertainment. Film exhibitor-distributor Akshaye Rathi concurs, saying: “Be it films or TV, the idea should be to offer interesting, engaging stuff to the audiences, and they are going to lap it up.”