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TRPs blamed for social messages going awry on TV

Just a few years ago, television producers found a new recipe to make successful shows - social messages garnished with melodrama and entertainment. The delicacy brought in hit shows like "Balika Vadhu" and "Pratigya", but the men

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Just a few years ago, television producers found a new recipe to make successful shows - social messages garnished with melodrama and entertainment. The delicacy brought in hit shows like "Balika Vadhu" and "Pratigya", but the menu soon changed track after the initial episodes. Experts blame TRP pressure for this.

"Balika Vadhu", a take on child marriage, recently completed 1,000 episodes, but its protagonist Anandi's fate is still undecided and the same is the case with "Pratigya", in which the lead actress ends up marrying the man who used to harass her.

Gajra Kottary, writer of "Balika Vadhu", says life in a rural setup is not easy.

"There are no jumps in life. Everything is very gradual and that is what we are trying to show. We have so far shown the pain of her (Anandi's) journey...," Kottary, who has based the story in a Rajasthan village, told IANS.

"Anandi has achieved a lot. The fact that she has won her in-laws who are by her side and support her. I don't think this should be considered something of less than an achievement," she added.

Anandi's achievement notwithstanding, the show has not delivered a concrete message yet.

The same is the case with "Pratigya" where the lead actress is initially shown fighting against eveteasing but later marries the guy who used to tease her and indulges in kitchen politics.

The shows on TV also tried to touch upon the issues of female foeticide and sexual harassment in "Naa Aana Iss Des Laado" and "Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo", but after delivering some successful episodes, the social themes fizzled out.

Why does kitchen politics overshadow social themes?

Industry experts say the TRP factor takes a toll and makes the story suffer.

Media analyst Kinjal Shah opines that the makers come with innovative show ideas but when they are hit by low TRPs, they take the path of kitchen politics.

"Producers make an effort to come with interesting story lines to break the monopoly of 'saas-babu' dramas. These generally do well in the beginning but are not able to keep the viewers interested for a long time," Shah told IANS.

"Another reason for low TRPs could be the lack of research by the team to keep up with the (original) track. When they fail to keep the story interesting while focussing on the social issue, they rely on the mean kitchen politics," Shah added.

Writer director Mrinal Jha says more than the TRPs, the producers' lack of confidence mars such shows.

"If you believe that people would want to watch a different story, then you should stick to it. If the makers change the original concept and move on to the same 'saas-bahu' storyline that means they themselves are not convinced about the script. This indicates their lack of confidence," Jha told IANS.

Jha has written scripts for shows like "Chhoona Hai Aasmaan", "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi", "Kasturi", and is currently scripting "Phir Subah Hogi" on Zee TV.

Kottary says the challenge is to work around TRPs.

"We cannot dismiss the TRP factor. One has to accept it and we have to work around it. The challenge is to sustain the TRP and not to forget the social message behind," she said.

She feels her "Balika Vadhu" show has managed to achieve that.

"We have said that in a very emotional manner, mixed with some entertainment and colourful culture of Rajasthan. We have played on that but never gone wrong on the central message that child marriage is a curse," said Kottary who has shows like "Jyoti", "Godh Bharaai" and "Astitva" to her credit.

She feels high voltage emotions are vital to keep the viewers hooked.

"Television is mainly watched by women; so the shows have to be very emotional. But the problem is with the makers who can't show the story in an emotional, yet real, way," she said.

-Aastha Khurana

Kasturi  Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo  Na Aana Is Desh Laado  Mann Kee Awaaz Pratigya  Phir Subah Hogi  Balika Vadhu  Star Plus  Zee TV  Colors 

Comments (66)

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ILovePushan 8 years ago Excellent post. I agree with every point. This trp politics is responsible for the fall of most probably all the TV serials these days. About '' Partigya'' and its 1st logo can be compared as the symbol of shamelessness of the PH. A good example of what trp can do. It can change the concept and buy the moral value teach the wrong lesson to the society.
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AyushiBudhia 8 years ago agree with avantikaharma1 balika vadhu has never let go of the main motive of the show not a single time in the jorney of 1000 episodes and again the current track is going towards the same CHILD MARRIAGE issue!
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NoOne12 8 years ago But I think balika Vadhu has really sticked to the stand. And it taking up other social problems is also quite realistic...2012-06-03 06:32:31
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SimSimmer 8 years ago I think all the tracks of MKAP and Balika Vadhu r all associated with some social concept. Both shows rock!!!!!!!! FAR WAY BETTER THAN SAAS-BAHU SAGAS.I think the reason why men dont really watch serials r because the shows r female oriented. It's either a woman fighting against some social problem, a saas-bahu saga, or simply a story with a female oriented theme with a female being the central character. That's why shows like BALH, Parichay, Adalat, CID and Crime Patrol and IPKKND will always be remembered because of real male-female or male lead.2012-05-29 18:54:37
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creative.bawa 8 years ago MKAP is still going strong...taking social issue like child sexual abuse,extra marital affair,children abandend their parents in thier old age,male infertility,education,domestic violence and many more...they r taking stand on such a bold issue which other serial don't even think of it.
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RagSia 8 years ago itz trp that rules undoubtebly!
bt d fact has it that a social message, combined with good punch of dialogue n bitsy drama can b super success.
u c success of Saubhagyavati bhava on Life OK prooves it!
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Veena.S 8 years ago MKAP doing good dealin social issues, along with entertainment n KriYa's love n thier life... MKAP rockzz...:))))
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shreenid 8 years ago balika vadhu has kept its main theme and has experimented with the tracks keeping in mind its theme ! BV rocks !
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Coolntrendy21_ 8 years ago BV You rock :) And the present track is AWES-OME...AnSh :)
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heera1702 8 years ago There may be some drawbacks in the social issues shown in MKAP, but it is far more better than the top rated saas bahu craps .i really appreciate the efforts that ph had taken and the actors whoco-operate with the show .and.the channel also
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