With more and more finite episode shows on Indian television, especially by Bollywood actors, there seems to be a sea change on the small screen
Looks like finally there is going to be some respite from the never-ending saas-bahu sagas that have been dominating the small screen. Winds of change have been blowing slowly with the programming line-up getting out of a soap rut and veering towards fiction-based shows. There is a story all right and, more importantly, a finite end.
Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Yudh, which will air from July 14, is slated to run for about 20 episodes. This limited episode series is being helmed by creative director Anurag Kashyap.
Unlike the present-day serials that depend on viewership ratings for survival and are injected with a dose of twists and turns as per channel demands, these shows stick to the track and bid farewell on time. The premise being that nowadays, especially youngsters, do not enjoy watching shows forever. Story arcs for a while are okay, but not when forced and senseless as is the case with most soaps. When a story is done, how much more can you ramble on?
Anil Kapoor produced the desi version of the American series 24, which aired from October to December last year
Interestingly, a lot of Bollywood filmmakers are now evincing interest in the small screen by coming up with fiction-based shows.
The latest B-town name to be a part of the television whirl is Rohan Sippy. The Nautanki Saala and Dum Maro Dum director will oversee a detective show that’s along the lines of Sherlock Holmes and will run for 24 episodes. The channel is keen to make it a big budgeted show and some B-town stars are likely to be roped in.
Paanch - 5 Wrongs Make A Right, told the story of a shy girl who enters college; it was a finite episode series
Sources state that auditions are currently on for the show that is hunting for a known Bollywood name to play the lead and negative roles.
Jaya Bachchan’s TV show Vasundhara that is in the pipeline is also a finite series.
Similarly, Anurag Kashyap is the creative director for the upcoming show, Yudh starring Amitabh Bachchan. It is about a real estate baron who is diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disorder. Shoojit Sircar has been roped in as a creative consultant with Bachchan co-producing the show with Endemol. This is also a limited episode series.
It may be pointed out that Anil Kapoor acted in and produced the desi version of American series 24 which was aired from October to December last year. Directed by Delhi Belly director Abhinay Deo, it brought a whiff of fresh air to otherwise stale weekend programming.
Rohan Sippy. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Leading TV producer Sudhir Sharma says, “Finite series format is picking up in India now. The storytelling is fresh, short and crispier. I produced Paanch and It’s Complicated and they got a good response.”
He adds, “After the initial phase, cable TV came into the picture and saas-bahu sagas became a rage. Now is the time for a change. New content has to be introduced as makers and viewers are becoming quality-conscious. The trend is here to stay, but how successful it will be will depend on the business returns as daily soaps run for years and their production formats and returns on investment differ from these finite episode shows. But yes, audiences are definitely more receptive when faced with a variety of options.”
Sharma also produced Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kahan, which aired in two seasons in 2012 and 2013.
Other shows lined up include Airline by Miditech, which is a 26-episode drama-thriller series featuring Tulip Joshi in the lead role.
Kaisi Yeh Yaariyan and Fanaa, that will air on weekdays from July 21, are also finite episode series with 100 episodes each.