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Programming for success

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"Success is not only about getting more money in whatever you are doing, but doing things in the best possible manner and getting recognition for that," began fire brand actress turned producer Neena Gupta speaking on the session on 'Programming for Success' on the concluding day of Frames 2002. She stressed that there is a social responsibility as a media person on every one of us that whatever we do should have an impact on the lives of people.

If healthy content is not provided to the viewer, in the long run we are going to mentally cripple the coming generation, Gupta warned. She also mentioned that social responsibility does not mean no entertainment. "From my experience I can assure you healthy programming works. You have to put it in a right format which will appeal to viewers. There is a risk, but we have to take it," Gupta says. She agreed with Ravi Chopra of BR Films who mentioned in his inaugural speech that as programming is evolving, the presentation or programming format changes. But that should not affect the content which is vital.

Harish Thawani, CEO, Nimbus Communications, however, took a contrary view. His opinion being that that India needed to look at creating its own unique content that could be leveraged on a global stage, rather than adapting formats that have been successful abroad. He also mentioned that anything connected to cricket and movies is working and will work in future on television.

The session delved into the various elements that lead to a successful programme with Ramanand Sagar, well known producer, as the chairman. Sachin Pilgaonkar, producer of the popular soap Tu Tu Main Main, said programming success is all about team work. Pilgaonkar's view was that channels should share revenues for successful programmes with producer, who in turn should pass it on to the crew.

Almost all the speakers felt the need that people in programming in channels needed to be more open to new ideas. Executive producers are ignorant about Indian culture and literature was another complaint. Citing an instance where a pilot were presented to a channel about a series based on the Selected Stories of Premchand, an eminent Hindi writer. Not only was the channel EP utterly ignorant about the great litterateur, to add insult to injury: "Ask the writer to meet us," was the response.

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