As the world celebrates the idiot box, TV stars talk about the change they want to see in the industry in India
The TV industry is a very dynamic one in the West. Sadly, when one talks of Indian TV, the first thing that comes to our mind are the saas bahu sagas. For actors, daily soaps are synonymous with long hours, zero prep time and absolute lack of diversity. On the occasion of World TV Day, we spoke to a few celebs about the change they would like to see on Indian TV.
I feel we need a bit of planning in the Indian TV industry. Also, we should have seasons of various shows. When episodes are shot in advance, one can keep a check on the quality standards of a show. Also, producers should stick to a definite number of episodes as decided in advance.
As an actor, the one change I want to see in the TV industry is that creativity should remain because as time passes creativity vanishes. The working hours should be regulated. I don't think TV actors are at a disadvantage because in less time actors have to show their best. It is a great training ground and we learn a lot.
I think TV shows need to become seasonal. In the US, people look forward to shows as they come with a new season. It will encourage creativity amongst an entire team. The audience interest will also be sustained and excitement levels will be higher.
I feel a section of TRP ratings should be solely determined by what people watch in urban areas. As of now, TRPs are majorly influenced by what people see in semi-urban and rural areas. This is why we see a certain kind of content flourishing on the small screen. However, if we calculate what people in cities watch, we will see a very different kind of programming. Today, we have a variety of genres in films, we can see that on TV too.
The change I want to see in the TV industry is that actors should have scripts in advance which will help actors to prepare better. It will help producers also as we will take less time on sets. The payment should be done in thirty days. I can't really say that TV actors are at disadvantage because once you understand your character then delivering becomes easier. It will be nice if actors, creatives, technicians and directors get more time to prepare the actor which might help everyone for good in all ways.
TV is changed a lot, some for the better, some for the worse. As actors, we all want to grow and learn better things. It is all about what the viewers’ want, so the story changes accordingly. The rules have gone for a toss for daily shows. Timings are irregular, payment is delayed and anyone joins the unit without a professional card. The system should be improved. I don't think that actors have any disadvantage but are challenged daily on an unimaginable level.
I feel production houses need to have a bank of episodes ready so there is no extra pressure on actors. At times, we have to work for more than 12-14 hours for weeks, which takes a toll on our health. Pre-planning and organization will improve the quality of programming and performances to a great extent.
I feel daily soaps put a lot of pressure of producers, actors, technicians, etc. Somewhere, the burden should reduce because on a set we have 90-100 people working non-stop without a break or consideration for their health, family or social life. This is insane. Telecast issues should be sorted out. Moreover, we should understand that it is a creative field. We are not doing mechanical work. In such stress, it’s impossible for makers or actors or writers to deliver quality product for weeks on end.
In terms of programming, of course, we want more than the saas-bahu soaps. I hope we have more youth-oriented shows in the country like Sumit Sambhal Lega, etc. Of course, ratings are an issue when it comes to such shows but they refresh actors. I also hope that besides regular channels, alternative platforms like Hotstar come up in the country, where we can see more varied shows. Also, we must have seasons like they do in the West. Actors will love it as we won’t have to do the same role for years at a stretch.
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I think we need to fix timings as far as daily soaps are concerned. The task of generating content from Monday to Friday takes a toll on quality. In the late 80s and early 90s, we had shows like Circus that were telecast twice a week. The content was so good that we remember them till date. Today, the shows get TRPs but very few of them have recall value. As of now, meeting telecast requirements is the biggest task before a producer. This affects quality of performances, writing, technical side, etc. If a daily soap is shown even 3-4 times a week, we will have more time to prepare.