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Good writers are hard to find, says the television industry

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MUMBAI: The heartbeat of any television programme lies in its story and content. Developing good content through various ideas and imagination is a significant priority for television channels and producers. Story-telling, as they say, is an art and the small screen is constantly looking for compelling scripts that tell stories which entertain, engage and enrich the audience. Over the past few years, the Indian television industry has been exploring new formats and series of programmes in order to give the viewers an excellent TV viewing experience.



Television director and creator of the unique chat show Satyamev Jayate, Satyajit Bhatkal says, “To be honest, we did not have any preconceived model for content creation or the kind of show we hoped to do. We made 6-7 documentaries on real life people and we realised that there was so much happening in the country. The common man faces so many problems and we needed to address these serious issues and give a 360 degree look to the matter.”



However, except for a few who are willing to take up the challenge of creating something new, many are still stuck with the tried and tested.  According to Bhatkal, television, today, is way too cautious.  He elaborates, “It is a challenge that we have to cater to people of various education levels and social backgrounds. However, I feel we are not willing to move to a different level of aesthetics.”



Director of many popular television series like Amanat, Kyunki Saans bhi kabhi bahu thi, and the current hit show Jodha Akbar, Santram Verma believes that there is a division amongst the audiences today as while some of the viewers want to watch fresh content, the older generation wants to stick to the same stories that were showcased years back. As a result, he feels that it is hard for the industry to evolve.

He says, “Everybody is sticking to the safe formula of ‘saas-bahu’. Good writers are hard to find these days. Writers lack the fire in them to come up with fresh concepts. TV is not experimenting with novel ideas.”



Speaking on the quality of writers, producer of the very popular show, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, Asit Kumar Modi says, “There is a lack of good writers. Generally speaking, channels go with writers that they have previously worked with. If we want to encourage new content, channels should have better adaptability for new writers and then, we can produce better content.”



When asked whether broadcasters give the makers enough support and freedom, Modi informs that Sab played a good role in encouraging fresh content and promoting comedy shows like his on the channel.

Bhatkal expresses that Star has been an extraordinary and participative partner for his show, “Star allowed us to feature the show on a Sunday morning instead of an evening prime time slot as we wanted the whole family to watch. Since it did not have a Telugu channel, the network gave the broadcast rights to its Telugu competitor as we wanted the programme to air in every Indian language. Star even permitted SMJ to be aired simultaneously on Doordarshan on the same day and at the same time, at the expense of its own traffic. What more could I ask for?”



Talking about the concept of seasonal shows, Verma says, “Seasonal shows are the best. If implemented fully on Indian television, it will have a better emotional connect with the audience.”



According to Modi, it is a good idea to have seasonal shows as after a point even the audience gets bored. However he is quick to point out that channels should also be convinced of the format.

Channels need to have more confidence in seasonal formats and help in the distribution of the same. Modi emphasises that irrespective of ratings, losses and profits, one needs to constantly experiment on Indian television.



To discuss more about the content on television, Indiantelevision.com is organising the ‘Content Hub’ that brings together writers, creators, producers, artistes and broadcast executives, both for TV and digital, all under one roof. This initiative is meant for all professionals, newbies and anyone who is keen to know about writing, producing and creating content for television and the digital space.

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