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Friday, October 2, 2009


A interview taken to understand the nuances of Hindi TV serials:

Subhasis Chakraborty’s opinions about “Hindi TV serials and the society and the
changing plot”:

“Hindi Tv serials score over our Bengali serials because of national

If I was to fall back to my childhood
days, the TV series that fascinated me the most was Fauji, starring Shah Rukh
Khan. If the 70’s were the era of the angry young man, the 80’s brought in the
hero looking for a socio-economic establishment. I could get a glimpse of
bollywood and sense its glamour, since I was not much allowed to indulge in
movie watching at the time by my parents. I did not watch Hum Log or Buniyaad
for the same reason. I did watch few of the episodes of hum log on youtube
though some time back. Fauji was about the young protagonist becoming a soldier
in the Indian army, his romance with the army doctor. It was a story of
patriotism… yes to some extent I did identify with the protagonist.

The other series that I would get a
chance to watch some time or the other was Circus, again starring Shah Rukh

I even watched few of the episodes of
Rajni and liked it.

The basic aim of hindi serial
according to me, to maximize its “reach” and “time spend”.
And all these depend on the TRP-TV Rating Point.

 According to the analysis of TAM MEDIA RESEARCH,
how many people are watching a programme that’s associated with reach of the
programme, at the same time how long they are watching a programme without
shifting the channel, that’s associated with the time spend of the
programme-these determine the making of TV serials for it reflects the
interests of the people watching them.

Being a popular art form, hindi
serials follow the ideology of “Indian ness”, its nationalism, secularism and
reflects its patriarchal form. There is also a joint family structure, a
grandfather or a father figure. This pattern is present in the society and this
is what the serials show. Women are the main viewers of these soaps, thus the
saas bahu formula works for them. Nothing is more intimidating than the tussle,
the tug of war between the mother-in-law and the daughter -in-law. Serials
mostly portray characters in black and white. This is done to add the dramatic
effect, to induce the idea of morality working at all the layers of the

Women form the maximum bulk of the
serial viewing population. So to sale the serials, the producers and the
directors put in many woman characters, discuss their life, their expectations
and their trials and follies, celebrate their achievements at the slightest

Hindi TV serials for that matter all
TV serials do affect the children, they get matured quite fast, they get to
know things beyond their age and thus there is a loss of the actual childhood.
Complications in families do result from this unwanted development. It seems children
no more act like children; they all are adolescents from the age of 5 or 6.

I haven’t seen much of the serials
meant for children, thus won’t be able to judge as to whether they have been
able to meet the required demands.

But I feel if there is a scope all
the serials of any language do have a chance to better themselves.

All across the country there is a
large section of the population who lead a superstitious life, are orthodox
believers of gods, from whom religion is the means of ideal livelihood-mythological
serials cater to these section of people. Rural India would come under this
section. The urban sector seems to have grown out of such myths; it is only the
aged who have given their life to religious rituals watch these mythological

Necessity of mythological serials is
a relative discussion.

Again, analyzing positive and
negative factors of mythological serials is difficult…all I can say,
Mahabharata and Ramayana, when first aired in Doordarshan made people stick to
their TV sets, it was a joint family TV viewing affairs…these serials would
transport the audience to a different place, time and situation, make them
aware of their culture..The built up fantastic atmosphere was enough, to many
the viewer faithful to the serials. Thus the techniques, special effects were
seldom noticed. Now there are several such mythological serials telecasted in
most cable
channels, the intensifying effect of the old DD days
have ceased to exist.

Art form is never absolute…it creates
the dream, the desire suppressed in viewer’s mind…if serials are to be made as
an absolute representation of the society-it becomes news. Even documentaries
are little bit made up. Serials are never the TRUE picture of the society.

People are prone to watching Hindi
serials than the Bengali ones due to several factors.

The Hindi serials have a huge market
in India, the north is its faithful audience and the south is catching up. The
serial making teams has huge budget, thus it can produce better quality serials
than the regional ones, which lack these requirements. The sets are elaborate,
the props are better, advance techniques are employed, thus the entire get up
become more attractive, thus draws the potential audience more easily than its
regional counterparts.

The serials in early days focused on
the middle class, sometimes in the 90’s it shifted to the upper class, so
called the elite section. As for now, the focus is on the village scenario,
since TV coverage has increased and in order to attract the villagers, we have
to depict them in the serials too.

I don’t think this section-vise
depiction of the society is bias. Serials show what the pulse of the time,
situation, and social condition suggest.

Also, the choice of portraying a
particular section of the society depends on the policies of the channel on
which the particular serial is shown. The policies again are determined from
the agency TRP reports depending on viewership analysis.

I think in the present day Hindi TV
serials the technique is  better, as per
the storyline-the  Indian-ness remain, it
is more fast content wise to do away with boredom. Old serial showed more
details in each of the shots, in present day serials the total take gets
established in a short time in turn making the narrative fast.

The themes of TV serials cannot be
compartmentalized like pure drama, social issue or simple comedy. It is either
dramatically presented social issues or comedy with social issues; social issue
always is the main factor. Thus both the above mentioned blends are popular.

Yes serials do help in forming
opinions-‘gossip feeds the serials, serials feed the gossip…’’

Mr. Subhasis
Chakraborty, has worked as an  EPISODE DIRECTOR of a Mega Serial, named  EK JE
, (Akash Bangla) Story, Script and Directed by Sandip Chaudhury.
was also an Assistant Director in Documentary film: A JOURNEY WITH KAKMARAS (2002)Dir: Dhananjay Mondal,  and Bengali Feature Film : ANAMNI ANGANA Dir: Dr. Swapan Saha, released
in 2002.

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