How will we remember the year 2017 for Indian Television? Well, it was certainly an eventful one. From the huge fall - out between Kapil Sharma and Sunil Grover to the arrest of Beyhadh actor Piyush Sahdev and quite a few splits/divorces, we had quite a few headlines. However, everything was not bleak. It was truly the year when makers decided to bring forth new stories and genres for the viewers. While family dramas continued to rule, it is evident that many young people are viewing some of the new shows albeit online. This was indeed heartening, as it's enough motivation for a lot of talented people to think beyond the boundaries of saas and bahu dramas. Of course, the first five months of the year was dominated by news of the huge fall out between Kapil Sharma and Sunil Grover. It sent fans of the two in depression and also dwindled the ratings of The Kapil Sharma Show. While none of the two parties elaborated on what exactly went wrong, what we got to hear from sources was pretty scandalous. As a TV buff, one of the saddest developments was of The Kapil Sharma Show going off air. We have to accept that some of the most people were associated with the show and the other new offerings in world of comedy post that weren't great.
Post that, we saw the huge controversy around Pehredaar Piya Ki. Viewers panned the concept of a 18 year old being married to an eight year old just for the sake of a promise. A plea was sent to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry about the same and the channel was forced to change the timing of the show. Subsequently, the show went off air only to return with a more logical story-line. It also sparked off a debate amongst the fraternity on censorship and the kind of plots TV actors were subjected to. It became evident that people can reject regressive content if they wish to. Now, we just wish that a greater number of people start appreciating the genuinely good work on TV.
The most heartening aspect of 2017 was the shift from family dramas to thrillers. The beginning of the year gave us Koi Laut Ke Aaya Hai, a spooky romance and revenge saga with great production values. Jennifer Winget's Beyhadh also got an extension due to the love it was getting from the audience. This led to two other thrillers Haasil and Ek Deewana Tha on the same channel. These shows had fresh ideas, outdoor locales, good performances and brought a lot of freshness for viewers. Channels seemed to be giving opportunities for newer stories and that was heartening. In 2017, one of Star Plus' long-running shows Saath Nibhaana Saathiya went off air.
Some reality shows fared excellently on the TRP charts beating the daily soaps. Their success rate was higher than that in 2016. Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Lil Champs, Dance Plus 3, Khatron Ke Khiladi 8 gave daily soaps a beating on the BARC charts despite airing only on weekends. One of the biggest disappointments was The Great Indian Laughter Challenge 2. Bigg Boss 11 gave us a huge surprise with the common man - celebs concept raking in great TRPs in second season. It also brought on board some big names from TV like Hina Khan, Shilpa Shinde and Vikas Gupta. Bigg Boss 11 is the most talked about show on social media. Shilpa Shinde became the most tweeted about contestant in the history of the game! Bigg Boss' viewership increased by more than 50 per cent since last year. The makers hit the right formula and how!
2017 also saw the launch of Indian TV's most expensive show Porus. It was significant for a number of reasons. It is not routine to see so much money being invested for a subject, which is unknown to most of the TV viewing population. With the show being shot extensively across Thailand, it had a different visual appeal altogether. Great cinematography, stunts and sets made it a visual delight. The show is also getting decent ratings for its timing. Another surprise packet was Star Network's new channel Star Bharat. It has made the other GECs run for cover with its shows, which became instant hits with the rural audiences. And the best part is that they are very different shows and not the usual family dramas. Porus Review: Superb cinematography, special effects and Praneet Bhat are enough to keep you hooked)
If the past couple of years made us cringe with some of the bizarre illogical stuff, this year was definitely more brighter. Concepts became progressive with the Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi mini-series focusing on the life of a house husband and his successful wife. While we miss the good old era of story-telling, we can take heart from the improved technology used on TV. Indian TV is surely an expanding brand globally if we see the craze of our soaps in far off countries like Argentina, Ghana and Chile. Shows like Beyhadh, Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi, Ishqbaaaz became brands in their own right setting a standard with their performances, writing and presentation. Our TV actors are no less than our Bollywood stars in terms of social media following and the popular jodis have invaded Twitter with their army of fans. Actors like Mouni Roy, Nia Sharma, Jennifer Winget showed us that they can give any Bollywood actress a run for her money with their class and sass. The year 2017 has been a superb one for TV with some landmark changes. We shall hope to see more new genres, exciting stories and fresh talent in the coming year. One thing that would be interesting to observe is how much time viewers will give a show with new content to flourish. The life span of non-performing shows is short, and many channels pulled the plug on programmes that seemed promising to many viewers. With competition from foreign channels, web content and films, Indian TV has to really work hard to capture the attention of the city audience. However, good content is always the king. We saw the good reception that Ted Talks India got from viewers. One thing is for certain, that there is scope for all kinds of content to flourish but how to make them profitable is the main concern for channels looking ahead.
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