Report on Shemaroo

“This is the best time for Indian television”: Rajan Shahi


MUMBAI: Rajan Shahi made his directorial debut 15 years ago with the series, Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahi. What followed after that was a succession of hit shows including Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi, Hamare Tumhare, Rishtey, Kareena Kareena, Reth, Mamtaa, Millee, Virasaat and Saathi Re. Shahi started his own production company in 2007. His first series as producer was Sapna Babul Ka Bidaai on Star Plus, followed by Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai which is presently running on television.

As part of our Content Hub series, we spoke to the acclaimed director and producer on the existing content on Indian television today. Shahi tells us, “I think we are experiencing the best time for television today. There are so many different genres of programs that we see on TV. Every channel has a variety of comedy, romantic, horror, finite and reality series”.

Shahi feels that there are good story tellers in the industry but the television rating numbers (earlier TV rating points) are also important. According to him, the typical Saas-Bahu dramas do very well as far as the ratings go. He points out that there have been several people who have tried to experiment with fresh content but have not achieved their desired ratings.  “So, what is the point of try something new if I know I will not achieve the same level of viewership?” he asserts.

Speaking about the reach of Indian television content, Shahi elaborates, “We have a certain medium of our own. Our shows are hit abroad. People watch these typical shows as they like seeing Indian culture, traditions and customs.”

When we asked whether broadcasters understand the creative freedom of directors and producers, Shahi explains, “I am seeing a very healthy trend these days. Every broadcaster is trying to get new technology and new story-telling methods. This is optimistic. Channels are willing to experiment and support new makers. They are trying to get the best of sets and costumes. Channels place a lot of time and emphasis on developing content.”

Ending the conversation on a positive note, Shahi says, “The seasonal format is a really good idea if one wants to keep a brand name alive. There is a big scope for finite series and this is just the beginning.”

Content Hub is a three day conference organised by Indiantelevision.com and is aimed at established professionals, newbies and anyone who is keen on taking the plunge into the fascinating world of writing, producing and creating for television and the digital space.

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