Television

"Some might think I am too young, but I believe risk taking abilities are more important" : (Part II)

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2014/08/20/bh7.jpg?itok=JOMr4yCo

If there is a list drawn up of the hottest young television professionals in India, her name will surely figure in it.

Coming from a family of bureaucrats, Monisha Singh has blazed a trail wherever she has been. Whether it was as an anchor for a DD show when in college. Or whether it was at Balaji Telefilms, in its early days, where as creative director she played a large hand in helping Ekta Kapoor build the fledgling production house.

Or whether it is at UTV where she has, as a creative director for the past two years, been steering the diversified media firm's creative for a handful of television shows, which are among the more successful ones it churns out.

All this and she is just 26.

The bubbly young lady loves being in the thick of it, at the centre of it all. Not for her the command centre, she has to be in the trenches, motivating her team of producers and eepees (executive producers) like a captain egging on his soldiers on the battlefield.

The economics graduate and mass communications post graduate is itching to do things, to move on to newer fields to conquer.

Indiantelevision.com's Vickey Lalwani caught up with her and spoke with her over several days to understand Monisha Singh, the television professional.

Excerpts from a two-part interview:

What was your experience at the fledgling Balaji Telefilms? What is the production house all about? What makes it tick in your opinion?

Balaji Telefilms was an amazing experience; it was like a family. I saw it grow from a small team of 10-12 people to a Rs 100 plus crore (Rs 1 billion plus) production giant. It was there that I learnt how to use my creativity and weave it into a web that works for television.

It can be one of the most grueling experiences and yet one of the most enriching ones for anyone interested in creating content for television. According to me five months at Balaji are equal to five years at most other production houses. The pace, logistics, hard work, team effort and creative drive exposes you to real television.

They have learnt to maximize the creative and the production resources that they have, cut costs and yet give the final product a fantastic look. It is the clever use of money that they have mastered. Agreed that they get higher budgets then most others in the industry do, but then their shows get higher TRPs, which is not unfair. They don't waste this extra money, they utilise it intelligently. Overall, there is a creative energy flowing through the organization courtesy Ekta.

While the environment was energizing and fulfilling, I had to get further up the learning curve and expand my portfolio. And opportunity came my way in the form of UTV, which was as mature as Balaji was young.

What excited you about UTV? What were the challenges?

UTV is the big daddy of television; one of the oldest and most successful production houses. What it offers creative people is a huge library of creative knowledge accumulated over the years of dealing with almost every channel and genre.

It has pioneered and created some of the more successful game shows, reality shows, soaps, comedies, quiz shows, action-based shows, thrillers and kids shows. Since I had primarily been involved with soaps, UTV attracted me as it would give me the opportunity to explore many more genres.

UTV isn't just looking at television, it is in almost every field of entertainment be it in advertising film making or commercial cinema or non-fiction or animation. It makes for a huge learning.

Has your one and a half years of experience at UTV lived up to your expectations?

Yes, and in every sense. As a creative director my job was not just to visualize and create, but to also make sure that it is rightly executed. I had to strike a balance between operations and creative, which is to keep the budgets in check and above all make sure that the show does well in the rating game.

We started Shakalaka Boom Boom, a kids daily show on Star Plus. It became my baby. I was involved in character creation, casting, sets, packaging, editing, keeping costs under control and making it gel well with kids who were its viewers. From what I know, it became a cult with them.

I was also shaping Kehta Hai Dil, which was earlier episodic but later took on a linear story format. Being a weekly it offered me a different set of challenges. It is easier to make a daily a habit. In a weekly, the content has to be that much more compelling, stronger, to get the viewer back six days later. On top of that Keha Hai Dil is a one hour format, which is a further challenge as you have to keep the viewer glued to it for an hour when her attention span is so short because of competitive options. And I believe, going by its ratings and popularity, I, along with my team, have managed to make a success of it.

UTV has helped me sharpen my people management skills as most of the professionals working here are more senior and experienced than I and they report to me.

I have developed several multigenre concepts for television, have been reading exciting film scripts, and now with UTV coming up with a channel for the young, I am also involved in broadcasting.

Could you elaborate on that?

Sure. UTV is launching a channel for the young, and the main focus is going to be localised programming dealing from drama, fantasy, game shows to animation series. We would also be acquiring foreign content and dubbing it, but the focus will largely be local programming.

Research has indicated that there is a huge gap in the market for kids programming. The current set of channels do not cater enough to the needs of kids. General entertainment channels have kids shows like Son Pari, Shararat, Shaka Laka Boom Boom, Hatim and The Magic Box. While these are hugely popular, there is nothing more to it. It is enough indication that there is a gap for kids content.

Our agenda would be to appeal to every child viewer. Advertisers have accepted the growing influence of kids on purchase decisions for products as varied as cars to computers to mobile phones. Gone are the days when they were just being targeted for toothpaste and chocolates. Therefore they are looking for media vehicles to carry their advertising. And our kids channel will offer them just that ideal vehicle.

"There is no set pattern or formula to spot a winner. Research helps us get the ingredients together but at the end of the day, it is gut feel and that instinct that helps you differentiate between a winner and a loser"

What are the challenges you face as a creative professional? How do you overcome them?

The day-to-day challenges are about operations and creative, which I have talked about earlier. On the second level, it is being able to forecast foresee trends, innovations and pioneer a trend, and stay ahead of the competition. Whoever thought that a Jassi would come up and cause so many ripples?

Also we have to keep up with changing times and flavour of the month. With the election mood in the country, we have an elections plot being woven into Kehta Hai Dil.

One has to keep churning out compelling content day in day out, so that the viewer does not shift to sports or news or whatever.

On a personal level, the challenge is to enrich oneself creatively during the day-to-day bustle.

How do I face up to the challenges? Well, they are a part of the job. And one deals with them.

Do you think creativity in television is encouraged in India or is it mediocrity?

Whoever said commercial television is only about creativity! Look at the west, television there is a creative science. Somebody comes up with a good idea, then armies of professionals - be it writers, script doctors, producers, directors or the suits - swoop in and work at making it a product that has a chance at success. Creativity for creativity's sake is not television. Within the framework of making a successful, watchable product, you can experiment with creativity. And that's how it should be.

Generating a product doesn't mean you are guaranteed success. You have to market it, do promotions, PR, even then you are not guaranteed success.

Creativity is encouraged in India within these parameters. I cannot create a show that is going to be watched just by me. At the end of the day, we are here to create programming that generates mass viewership, better TRPs for our shows. Be it following a formula or breaking the mould, the result has to be better TRPs. One has to cater to the needs of the viewer.

But the viewer is only going to view what we want him to view. If we don't think out of the box, how do we get the viewer to sample. There were experiments like Josh, and Astitva.

Yes, we need to get in more genres, we need to open our minds to handling some taboo subjects and issues, but we need to do so within our cultural sensibilities and sensitivities. We need better budgets and better advanced planning to make a better product, be it in the area of cinematography or story or art direction - basically the look and feel.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/08/16/shemaroo.jpg?itok=CsLkkQ6d
Shemaroo Entertainment Ties-up with TikTok and Vigo Video

Shemaroo Entertainment Limited, a leading content powerhouse has tied-up with Vigo Video and TikTok.

Television Production House Film Production
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/08/16/nisha.jpg?itok=GMAsbKYE
How Travelxp plans to conquer the travel space

Travelxp wants to travel far and wide. The Mumbai-based lifestyle channel, that has already seen a steady revenue growth for the last few years, now intends to grow by 30-40 per cent in the coming year.

Television Production House Documentary
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/08/15/Sony_Marathi.jpg?itok=gd2Uqx84
Sony Marathi aims to fill need gap in the market

Sony is taking the plunge into the Marathi general entertainment market to compete with Zee Marathi, Zee Yuva, Colors Marathi and Star Pravah.

Television TV Channels Regional
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/08/14/ndtv.jpg?itok=G6JI38LH
NDTV India reverts to pay channel from FTA

NDTV has decided to convert its free to air (FTA) channel NDTV India as a pay channel with effect from 15 September. On 8 April 2016, NDTV India, the Hindi news channel, started its FTA journey. Prior to that, the channel was a paid service priced at Rs 3.37 on direct-to-home (DTH) and addressable...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/08/14/tyson.jpg?itok=zxfKx9sB
Mohamedali pulls no punches, ropes in Mike Tyson to launch the global Kumite 1 League

Kumite 1 League, the first global team Mixed Martial Arts league, is all set to host boxing legend Mike Tyson.

Television TV Channels Sports
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/08/14/news.jpg?itok=pYr3369_
Times NOW & Mirror Now announce a special line-up to celebrate the 72nd Independence Day

As India gears up to celebrate its 72nd Independence Day, India’s leading English news channels, Times Now & Mirror Now, announce their special programming line-up to celebrate the spirit of freedom.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/08/14/fernandes.jpg?itok=ZWXeOW8Z
Changes in Senior Management & Board of Directors of lnduslnd Media & Communications limited, a subsidiary of the Company

The Board of Directors of HVL on August 13, 2018 have noted  that  Board of Directors of lnduslnd Media & Communications Limited ("IMCL"), a subsidiary of HVL has:

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/08/14/neeraj.jpg?itok=ZvLk4ckd
Sab's Aladdin to be relevant to the new generation

Sony Sab is all set to transport viewers to an age-old story with a modern twist. After giving three new launches this month, it is close to launching the fourth one Aladdin: Naam Toh Suna Hoga, produced by Peninsula Pictures, which will be aired on 21 August, Monday to Friday at 9 pm. Its recent...

Television TV Channels GECs
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/08/14/asia-cup.jpg?itok=L-YXgemt
Star Sports to telecast Asia Cup in Hindi, English, Tamil

The Unimoni Asia Cup 2018 is all set to commence from 15 September and will see Asian neighbours – India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan - fight for the trophy. Star Sports, the official broadcaster, has released its first film for the tournament which speaks of the unique aspect...

Television TV Channels Sports

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories