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