Star India to initiate creative freedom discussions with TV producers

MUMBAI: Remember the terms perestroika? Glasnost? The first stands for reformation, the second for openness. Both were popular terms used in reference to the USSR as it crumbled to herald the freedom that hit it in the late eighties and nineties.

Some of that is about to hit Indian television. Remember last week’s admission by Star India deputy chief creative officer Gaurav Banerjee that the network may have erred by starting the mad race of pursuing seven days of soap and drama every week from the five days formula earlier. Speaking at the Indian ScreenWriters’ Conference in Mumbai he candidly stated: “I confess that it was a mistake because we reduced the ideation time of writers and of actors as well. We thought that we could manage the workload and it won’t affect the product but unfortunately we were thinking of a TV industry as a pizza delivery service which was big mistake.”

He also announced that Star India would cut back the seven-days-a week to five days once again.

Now Star India and Gaurav are going a step further. He has told producers that he would be more than happy to extend creative freedom to them, something they have been pleading for, demanding and crying for. Each show, said Banerjee, would have a single show runner giving it the much needed vision. He has invited producers for a meeting in Star India’s office on 20 August to further spell out what he means by creative freedom.

The producers’ fraternity is very excited about the new initiative by Star and are welcoming it. Says Frames Production founder Ranjeet Thakur: “It’s a very great move for the industry on the whiole because the minute the producer comes with a certain plot thought or idea I think it works better. The producer has some vision behind the show and if that creative freedom is given to them to execute in the same manner, it’s a wonderful thing to be happening in the industry. It’s a very positive note. It’s a great move by Gaurav and Star and slowly it will become the norm of the industry.”

Colosceum Media CEO Lalit Sharma adds, “Firstly, it’s a very good take towards producing good content. Now the show runner will have the responsibility. It’s the happiest moment for the Indian producers but along with that there comes a responsibility. It looks like a win- win situation but one has to be extremely responsible for what they are producing.”

Fortune Production founder Farhann Salaruddin opined, “It’s totally yes to the intention of giving creative freedom to producers and a lot of people must been waiting for this day to have the ball in their court. Whatever you make good or bad the credit will be yours. It’s a good move but how successful it will be only time will tell us.”

Shakuntalam Telefilms founder Shyamasis Bhattacharya adds: “ It’s a welcome move. I think we all (producers community) have been wanting this to happen. Last year we met all the CEOs of different channels asked for the same and Star taking the lead is appreciated. Now there will be one vision that can be of the broadcaster’s show runner or the producers. That’s exactly what happens across the world and also in India but not to that extent. If you see Balaji’s shows’ success rate its high because their shows run after Ekta’s vision. I believe the shows’ success rate will go up after this move.”

And that is exactly what Gaurav is hoping will happen.

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