Small screen gets bigger

A rising trend that the Indian television industry saw in the year 2010 was increased  participation of more cinema stars on the small screen. While Amithabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Priyanka Chopra have already made their mark, two other superstars — Shah Rukh Khan and Madhuri Dixit announced their re-entry. It was also a golden year for Indian television sports channels.

If there is one phenomenon that upped the glamour quotient of the television industry in 2010, it is, undoubtedly, the descend of cine stars on the small screen.

Be it the legendary Amitabh Bachchan, peppy Salman Khan, handsome Akshay Kumar or the gorgeous Priyanka Chopra — all of them decided to make their presence felt on television this year and earned mega bucks in the process as well!

And before the year came to a close, two other superstars announced their re-entry in the world of television — Shah Rukh Khan (through his reality show Zor Ka Jhatka in 2011) and Madhuri Dixit-Nene (through Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa). No wonder, we have few people complaining about what was dished out by the Indian television industry in 2010.

But why are cine stars appearing on the small screen by the dozen? That television industry is the best medium to prove one’s presence was known for quite some time. Apart from the mega bucks that are being offered, another big reason for these superstars flocking to the small screen may be the fact that “if other stars can do it, why can’t I” thought process. How else can one explain Khan’s decision to host a show after his Kya Aap Panchvi Paas Se Tez Hain debacle? But, he does have an explanation for his comeback — “I feel extremely recharged! When this offer came to me, I thought this is a good time to start my television career again. After all, this is the place where I began.”

Another surprise element was the comeback of Madhuri Dixit through the dance reality show Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa. Probably her reason for deciding on television is more straightforward. She did try her comeback in films through Aaja Nachle, but unfortunately, she did not succeed. At least, being a judge of a popular show like Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa was a better option. And she was not wrong!

The other interesting and significant phenomenon was the patch-up between Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms and Star Plus. The two were inseparable when saas-bahu sagas were being churned out every other day on television. The channel and production house fell apart when Kyun Ki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi was brought to an abrupt end. This year, Balaji was back on Star Plus with the show Tere Liye.

And if Balaji is back, soap operas and tearjerkers cannot be left far behind, can they? Moving away from socially-relevant and hard-hitting serials like Aapki Antara, Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo, Pratigya, Na Aana Is Des Laado, some serial makers went back to the tried and tested family drama genre. Case in point is Dil Se Diya… Vachan. But did the audience want such shows back? Or, was it because socially-relevant soaps were finding it difficult to survive? There is no single answer to this question. Aapki Antara was stopped suddenly despite it being a big hit, Pratigya lost its track  midway and turned into just another saas-bahu saga. Therefore, one cannot pinpoint or identify a single problem why socially-relevant serials didn’t do that well after a few months on air. But that does not mean  that no more shows in this genre are being launched. Rishton Se Badi Pratha and Armanon Ka Balidaan – Aarakshan were two big launches this year, based on the issues of honor killings and caste-based reservation in education institutions, respectively.

Thankfully, creativity did not take a backseat in 2010. The first ever silent comedy show on Indian television – Gutur Gu on Sab – went on air. The creative quality of the show was superlative and the audience gave it thumbs-up by making it one of the most-watched shows on Indian television. But the same audience gave thumbs-down to some very popular and long-running shows, which bid adieu to the airwaves. The list includes names like Dill Mill Gayye, Jyoti, Bidaai and Miley Jab Hum Tum. Last  year, one could never imagine that these shows could go off air. But this year, the unthinkable happened. Probably, they had had their share of popularity and it was time for these shows to end gracefully.

Apart from the general entertainment channels, the urban broadcasters (AXN, Zee Café, Bindaas) also had a successful year, thanks to reality shows, which promoted voyeurism. Emotional Atyachaar, into its second season, is equally successful, while Girls Night Out on MTV is extremely popular. Breaking new ground were reality shows with a twist like D3 Commando Force – Dadagiri, which were equally successful.

And, of course, how can we not write about how sports channels fared in the year gone by? Thankfully, it was not just cricket. It was a golden year for Indian sports and television sport channels. Events like the CWG and Asian Games helped generate record TRPs for sports channels.

So, what do we look forward to in the next year? Like it or not, more reality shows for sure! And of course, some more thoughtful serials because production houses have understood that the Indian viewer cannot be taken for a ride any more. Today’s viewers know what they want and refuse to accept anything but that.

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