What’s mak­ing na­gins and vishkanyas click on In­dian TV?

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - Kavita Awaasthi kavita. awaasthi@ hin­dus­tan­times. com

Aman turns into a tiger and goes for the kill. A na­gin (shape-shift­ing snake) trans­forms into a woman, with per­fect make-up, mind you, in the blink of an eye. A girl is wooed by a go­rilla. These are some ex­am­ples of In­dian TV shows today. While fam­ily dra­mas and saas-bahu se­ri­als are still around, su­per­nat­u­ral el­e­ments are rak­ing in the rat­ings. What makes In­dian view­ers get hooked on to such re­gres­sive shows? How low can the stan­dards for In­dian tele­vi­sion fall?

The craze has in­creased since pro­ducer Ekta Kapoor’s week­end show, Na­gin, be­came a TRP chart­buster. Ev­ery now and then, it dawns on many mem­bers of the in­dus­try that there is a se­ri­ous dearth of high-qual­ity shows. But soon, these dis­cus­sions take a back seat, as the pres­sure to de­liver num­bers mounts. Today, TV shows have to prove their met­tle in less than a month. And grab­bing eye­balls through sen­sa­tional con­tent is the only so­lu­tion in sight.

Ekta has of­ten said In­dia isn’t ready for a pro­gres­sive show. “I don’t think ur­ban au­di­ences watch a lot of TV, whereas our tar­get au­di­ence has grown up on a legacy that feeds on such sto­ries,” she told us ear­lier. “The vis­ual drama in shows like Na­gin is new and ap­peal­ing for the au­di­ence. Only ur­ban view­ers, who love the Twi­light se­ries and Game Of Thrones (GOT), feel the dis­con­nect. You may have a dragon mother in GOT, but no one will watch that in In­dia,” she added.

Clockwise from right: Vishkanya, Chakravartin Ashoka Sam­rat, Na­gin and Kavach

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