Not just over yet

Not just over yet


A NEW BEGINNING (From left) Actors from the new season of ‘Kitani Mohabbat Hai’; A still from ‘Choti Bahu’.

Indian television shows seem to be inspired by their international counterparts. We have seen Friends running for 10 seasons, Lost, Ugly Betty, among other shows, coming up with successive new seasons and now, the Indian television industry is following suit. Case in point are sequels of serials like Miley Jab Hum Tum and Baa Bahoo Aur Baby. Although they didn’t do that well, there are more to come. If news reports are to be believed, very soon we will see a sequel of the super hit show Bidaai on television.

This, besides the other two popular sequels — Kitani Mohabbat Hai and Choti Bahu — that are currently on air. Ask Rajan Shahi, television producer and director, and he will respond without being non-committal, “When Bidaai went off air, we had discussions with the channel authorities on a possible sequel. However, nothing has materialised yet. However, a number of actors have been calling me up enquiring about the possibility of a sequel.”

Angad Hasija, an actor from Bidaai, says that he too has heard similar rumours. “I would love to be a part of the second season, but I don’t think I would like to play an elderly character in the show!” he quips. Considering the fanfare that the show had generated, a sequel may not be a bad business proposition for Shahi.

There are also rumours that Bairi Piya, a successful show on Colors, is also all set to launch a sequel. Whether it will succeed or not is something only time can tell, but there seems to be a renewed interest in sequels on Indian television.

For instance, after the success of Mahi Way, the makers plan to bring the show back on television with its second season. This trend proves that Indian audiences are open to the idea of watching more than a season of any daily soap. Especially when sequels or rather new seasons of reality shows have borne positive reviews and raked in money — Sa Re Ga Ma, Emotional Atyachaar, Chak Dhoom Dhoom, Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa, etc.

But then, what makes a sequel work for one show, while for others, it doesn’t? “Whether it is a sequel or not is secondary. What is primary is the story and the way it is told. No show, irrespective of how popular it was in the earlier avatar, can create an effect if the storyline is weak,” explains Deeya Singh from the production house of DJ.

The production house had produced Choti Bahu and has recently brought it back on television as a sequel. Agreed. For example, Kutumb’s (the show that brought Hiten and Gauri Tejwani to limelight) sequel flopped, although the show’s first avatar was a hit amongst the audiences. This proves that a sequel cannot bask in its prequel’s glory. It needs to have a strong and convincing story.

Today, if Choti Bahu’s second season is successful, it will largely be credited to the fact that the scriptwriters have been able to capitalise on Avinash and Rubaina’s popularity and have also dished out a new storyline; something that other shows have not been able to.

In the recent past, Miley Jab Hum Tum and Baa Bahoo Aur Baby sank for similar reasons. While the former failed because it introduced too many characters in the sequel, the latter flopped because it lacked freshness. The story was similar to the original serial. Who would want an old wine in a new bottle? 

In the last decade, serials ran on television for close to 10 years. But if you look at any soap today, none of them last on air for more than two years. Does that mean they are inferior to their predecessors? Perhaps not. Possibly, the answer lies in the fact that audiences’ tastes are changing. No one is ready to invest their time and energy for stale entertainment. They want something new.

The only reason consecutive seasons of reality shows are doing well is because they bring to fore new talent, provide drama with interesting twists and turns which, in the long run, is what keeps viewers hooked. The same formula applies to daily soaps. Keeping viewers entertained is the only mantra that works. Period.