"In a country of 1.3 billion people you can expect lakhs of stories": Network 18's Avinash Kaul

"In a country of 1.3 billion people you can expect lakhs of stories": Network 18's Avinash Kaul

OMG- Yeh Mera India is the longest factual entertainment show in the country.

Avinash Kaul

Mumbai: History TV18 has launched the much-awaited Season 10 of "OMG! Yeh Mera India." on 6 February 2024. This show, known for its immersive storytelling, has marked a significant milestone as it celebrated a decade of inspiring narratives.

Each episode offers a fascinating glimpse into the number of facets of Indian society, blending entertainment with education to offer a comprehensive portrayal of the nation's essence.

To commence the celebration of its tenth season, History TV18 decided to do things this time uniquely as it held its event at a luxury yacht along with the host Krushna Abhishek and others.

It is no surprise that factual entertainment in India hasn't been on the rise due to a myriad of reasons like less spending on this genre as compared globally and budget constraints. This genre stands quite unique due to the extensive research that goes into its shows and episodes.  

Indiantelevision on the sidelines of this event, caught up with Network 18 (broadcast) CEO & A+E Network MD Avinash Kaul, where he spoke on various aspects of this show from its evolution, research, it's longevity and many more…

Edited excerpts

On the main motive of creating this show

It's a show that was started eight years back, and now it's in its tenth season. The whole idea was that when you look at general entertainment channels, a lot of things are covered like singing, dancing, a bit of comedy, some bit of magic, but not everybody looks at everything else that Indians do. The factual part. The factual part could mean that you could have, for example, we have featured a person who uses fire to cut hair. We also have featured a person who made an airplane on his terrace.

Now where would you put all of these stories? It doesn't fit into a regular talent show, it's a passion that a person is doing for their entire life. They believe that it is creating history in their own way like a person who had the largest family in India, that was in the first season of OMG. When there was a school where there were no fees, accepting all the rubbish that you can collect that pays for the piece. In this season, we are showing a village, which is known as a ‘Hockey Village’ of India where more than 40 people who have played professional hockey have come from that village. Every house has a person who's been on the hockey team.

Now these stories, where else will you pick it up? Because no mass entertainment channel is picking up. News channels are too busy covering politics, crime and everything right now. So there was a space for creating everyday Indians, when they create history, chronicling all of those and immortalizing those stories. That is why this show started. Now the show is in its tenth season, which means that it has been so popular that we had to do it more than once a year. And that's what is continuing now and hopefully will continue in the future.

On the kind of research and production efforts went into each episode

It's extremely detailed, the research is all here through. The team here works in very detail, trying to capture the authenticity of the story and different length and breadth of the country wherever it is coming from. So there's a year-long thing, and then the production teams come over and then go into every state wherever the person is shooting the story. There's a lot of rigor in doing all of this.

On the show contributing to the channel's programming and overall content strategy

As an overall content strategy, it's the most vital part because it is everyday Indians creating history. So it's very vital and part of the original programming that we do in India, it's the biggest winner that we have. It's the longest standing factual entertainment show in the country.

On the reaction of audience since the show’s inception

It is fabulous, because we've got sponsored interest, the reason we are in our tenth season is because viewers have given a whole lot of love. On digital, it is across billions of impressions. So that tells you how viral it is. Each and every story is viral. We have now covered 400 stories and are extremely well.

On factual entertainment failing to rise in India due to lack of original Indian content

That's the irony because India and even the OTT platforms are still binging on crime and those kinds of genres. In a mature market when the audience grows, then obviously these things play. So I'm hoping that now more and more documentaries, more and more factual entertainment will also come on OTTs. Because of the channel's business, there hasn't been much acceptance of what history has or in large measure some parts, bits and pieces or competition but not really that much. I'm hoping now in the next wave of content, it will be factual entertainment content on OTT as well.

On the longevity of the show

See stories are unlimited. There are 400 stories only that we have done so far. In a country of 1.3 billion people you can expect thousands of stories or lakhs of stories. So it's only as much as we want to do we can cover on. So we hope that it continues for many, many years.