Why Is The Massive Viewership Of Indian TV Shows Being Wasted On Sub Standard Content?

Posted on May 5, 2014

By Preetika Bhateja:

It was an usual day and my cab driver was sharing his family stories with all of us. This time he talked about how his wife makes him watch three very popular Indian T.V soaps back to back during their dinner time. While we were discussing TV shows, he explained why ‘Iss Pyaar ko Kya Naam Du’ is his favourite, ‘Diya aur Baati Hum’ has a great plot and ‘Saath Nibhana Sathiya’ is worth a try. A debate started right away to counter his opinion. In a cab full of people who were awestruck when Mr ‘Sherlock’ shocked us all, were in despair when ‘Breaking Bad’ ended and amazingly happy when ‘Game Of Thrones’ knocked our doors again, he dared to mention how his favourite scene was when the female lead ‘Sandhya beendni’ (of ‘Diya Aur Baati Hum’ fame) wins military race by eating her husband ‘Suraji’s’ samosas, that’s when we couldn’t stop ourselves but argue.

TV show

I could easily comprehend that while I was thinking only a fraction of people watch the Indian TV soaps, I was wrong. A fraction of people view the English ones, their audience comprises of 16-30 year olds. From what I analysed in the recent past, Indian TV soaps are all about abysmal sadness, saas bahu chronicles, crooked reality, stunt shows and more nonsense. Why can’t the makers of these show move past the T.R.P game and produce shows that have some solid content. When ‘Laughter Challenge’ became a hit, ‘Comedy Circus’ cropped up, which has now been going on for 7 years and has lost all its charm. Crime Patrol paved way for ‘Encounter’, ‘Savdhaan India’, and ‘Police Files’. ‘Comedy Night with Kapil’ urged the producers to make ‘Mad In India’, ‘Gangs Of Hasseypur’ etc. Why can’t they script shows that are not ‘inspired’ or on the same lines as the ones already present.

Some would argue that English TV series aren’t suitable for all kinds of audience, this is correct, but then why can’t the Indian TV show makers create shows of great potential in terms of thrill and drama with less objectionable scenes. Our sitcoms are not so great either. ‘Tarak Mehta ka Ooltaa Chashma’ and ‘Lapataganj’ started on a good note but have diluted content now. ‘Friends’ was aired for 10 years and was great till the very last episode. No new shows come up, even if they do they are same as the previous ones most of the times. Also, their shows for kids are way better than ours. ‘Recess’, ‘Lizzie McGuire’ and ‘Art Attack’ had better ratings than ‘Balveer’.

Indian TV, in the past, has been famous for remarkable shows like Dekh Bhai Dekh, Office Office, Sarabhai VS Sarabhai, Shanti, Hum Log, Flop Show and many more. There is no dearth of talent in this country, and the TV can certainly reclaim its value and stop being called an ‘idiot box’.

Not that I don’t like my English TV shows, but as I am now fully aware of what amount of viewership the Hindi shows get, I really wish they had better standards. I am waiting for the day when I won’t have to download the new seasons of ‘Game Of Thrones’ from Pirate Bay, instead, I will be busy watching an Indian TV series.

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