Lacklustre viewership may force SET to pull off 'Prithvi Vallabh': Anirudh Pathak

MUMBAI: Sony Entertainment Television’s (SET) bet on magnum opus Prithvi Vallabh didn’t go as planned for the channel. The show, according to its producer Anirudh Pathak, is likely to go off air from 1 July after completing its 45th episode.

Since its launch in January, Prithvi Vallabh has been getting mixed reviews. The channel had earlier planned to divide the show into two seasons of 40 episodes each but the failure to garner the desired viewership has compelled SET to rethink this strategy.

Speaking to, Pathak said that there is a need to better think about characters while picking historical plots. “I thought Prithvi would do well as the story of an untold tale from the soils of Indian dynasty. But it’s unfortunate that it didn’t. It’s a learning for me. Now, I know that if one is producing a historical show, they should make sure that the audience knows about the character. For historical shows, only a well-known character can garner good ratings. I personally feel that shows with a classic storyline should not be run on the weekends. Had it been a daily soap, the show could have garnered better ratings,” he said.

Prithvi Vallabh was the first show to come out of SET’s new sub brand SET Originals. Based on the book by well-known Gujarati writer Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi, it depicts the history, mystery, vengeance and a love story between two arch-rival warriors Prithvi and Mrinal living in a kingdom far away.

Pathak is no stranger to the genre having produced titles such as Devon Ke Dev..Mahadev, Siya Ke Ram and Mahakumbh, which have done fabulously well. Prithvi Vallabh was also the first show under his own banner launched in 2015.

A student of Sanskrit, Pathak has been keen on working on mythological and historical shows. His interest began in the early TV years when saas-bahu sagas were dominant and the mythological and historical genres were not even considered to be capable of engaging viewers. “When I was doing saas-bahu shows, nobody, at that time, wanted to invest their money on big-budget serials. But now, they do. And since I always had an inclination towards myths and history, I decided to work on these genres. After Devon Ke Dev..Mahadev became a hit I was pretty much convinced that the Indian audience has the appetite to consume such content,” he added.

The storytelling format has also changed since families that once used to get together and watch TV are now watching independently on their phones. So much so that people even in remote areas are consuming and comparing content such as Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones with Indian shows.

Pathak feels that channels will now focus on finite content and gradually long-running shows will cease to exist.

Pathak started his career as a writer with a crime show entitled Mujrim Kaun that aired on Sahara channel. After that, he worked with Balaji Telefilms as a writer for renowned shows like Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kavyanjali, KumKum and Karam Apna Apna. During his tenure with Life OK, he also helmed other acclaimed shows such as The Adventures of Hatim. Post Life OK, he was the name behind Siya Ke Ram, a show which depicted Ramayana from Sita’s point of view.

Pathak has created Chandrashekhar for Star Bharat, a show honouring one of the greatest freedom fighters of India, Chandrashekhar Azad. The show captures the entire life of Azad and what made him one of the undisputed fearless freedom fighters of all times. He is also making another historical show named Shankaracharya- based on the life of Adi Guru Shankaracharya, an Indian philosopher.

In the near future, he is in talks with Colors for his upcoming historical show, which is a recreation of magnum opus Mughal-E-Azam. He is also planning to crack a deal with Eros Now on the mytho-historical genre for his upcoming digital series.

Also Read :

Ace creative visionary Anirudh Pathak helms his first individual project 'Prithvi Vallabh'

'Prithvi Vallabh' is 20% history, 80% mystery: Anirudh Pathak

Star Plus readies new mythological series ‘Siya Ke Ram’

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