Television

Colors and Balaji Telefilms gear up for 'Naagin' S5 with new writers, better VFX

Naagin is the hero franchise for the channel

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MUMBAI: TV viewers have finally been able to see their favourite characters on screen after unlock rules permitted shootings. Among the shows resumed is the popular Naagin on Colors. Viacom18 Hindi mass entertainment chief content officer Manisha Sharma is certain that viewership will gradually pick up owing to the engaging storyline, highpoints, plot twists and intrigue around the characters.

Sharma considers Naagin as the Game of Thrones for India. Each season of Naagin has a standalone narrative with the elements of love and revenge at its core. As per Sharma, over the years, the channel has experimented and innovated a lot with the concept. She terms it as a hero franchise and wishes to build it further.

The show has also stood against the trend of fluctuating ratings and has constantly raked in good numbers ever since its debut on Colors and even fortified the channel's position on the rating chart, as per Sharma. Colors’ belief in the concept of Naagin has already led the channel to work on season six.

She further adds, “One and a half years ago, the channel was going through a tricky phase but then we launched Naagin, we were able to stabilise our numbers. For us, Naagin is like a fiction equivalent of Bigg Boss which holds everything together.”

The channel shares a longstanding association with Ekta Kapoor, who is the mastermind behind the Naagin franchise. Sharma says, “Ekta is the master of creativity and extremely passionate about Naagin. It is owing to her passion and energy that we have been able to conclude Naagin season four and segue into season five immediately with an interesting new twist. It will highlight the secret of Naagmani and how the tussle for it originally started. We are hoping to get the viewers to tune in back into television.”

Sharma also highlights that owing to the longstanding association with Balaji Telefilms there are no specific budget cuts introduced.

Naagin falls under the genre of fantasy fiction – something not common on Hindi GECs. Naagin transports you to a powerful world with a novel experience.

The other challenge in Naagin for Sharma is adequate planning. As a finite series with recurring seasons, the scripts are locked in advance. “To do that, you need to be clear about the story and a lot of thought needs to be put in while developing the characters as well,” she shares.

The show is heavily dependent on VFX and so making last-minute improvisation is not always possible. While in other parts of the world the whole season is shot first and then aired, in India, channels still have some liberty to shoot it weekly. However, with current guidelines and limited number of people working on a show, the editing process also needs to be planned to meet the deadline. Hence, VFX will bear the burden of bringing good quality in the show.

In a recent interview, Ekta Kapoor had apologised to the cast of Naagin 4 due to the mediocre script. Hence, season five of Naagin will see writers. Sharma adds, “We bring in fresh writers after two seasons as it is more feasible and we get a new perspective. Sometimes we are able to put together a storyline for 10 or 12 episodes and sometimes it even goes up to 100 episodes. While we do have a pool of writers, we stick to a select few with whom our synergies match.”

Sharma notes that the line between primetime and non-primetime has blurred with people spending most of their time at home. While non-primetime shows are doing well, primetime shows have also picked up after initial teething issues.

The channel has made slight changes to the way it understands viewership data. Sharma reveals that the channel now analyses the numbers, studies the overall market and maps even news channels’ performance against GEC performance. However, she thinks it is too soon to predict the change in the viewership pattern as the audiences’ daily routine has changed.  For now, the channel is focusing on strengthening timeslots to bring back viewers and give them interesting story hooks to look forward to with the fresh content.

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