Revamping television

fresh take

Revamping television

Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy,the director and musician who has introduced concept-driven shows like ‘The Dewarists’ and ‘Bring On The Night’, tells tuba raqshan why a majority of Indian TV shows can never stand up to their Western counterparts.

The Dewarists. The show is iconic, signalling a refreshing change in TV content. Here was a show which was as rustic as it could get, slickly styled and at the same time, unimaginably authentic. And director Vishwesh Krishnamoorthy would have it no other way. “My efforts resulted in far more than I had ever imagined,” states Vishwesh, matter-of-factly. True, there is a subtle touch of pride. But it is predominantly a feeling of ecstasy at having pioneered a concept like none other, especially in a scenario where television still means melodramatic soap operas, ‘teenspired’ fiction series and obviously rigged “reality” shows. And the second season of The Dewarists is enough proof that there is still an audience for such path breaking, concept-based shows.

Matter of mediocrity

“Reality shows are hopeless. Fiction is bad. There are many ways of getting a channel to people but it still hasn’t led to any significant change. TV is still sloppily made and it doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world. Most Indian TV shows can’t even stand shoulder-to-shoulder to shows in other countries. Masterchef India is very different from Masterchef Australia,” he points out, exasperated.

Why this mediocrity, we wonder? “I have no idea. It’s just about standing up for quality. As an audience, India needs to reject a lot of stuff that gets made. There is a lot of rubbish in all forms of art — be it TV, performances or even films. Like all others, I’ve been trying to make better quality TV or performance. We’re a country that makes a thousand films. The percentage of good, commercial and bad is a bad ratio,” says Vishwesh, with much emphasis.

Contemporary fiction

That brings us to his next chef d’oeuvre and Vishwesh is visibly excited. Bring On The Night (BOTN) is an extension of Eristoff’s brand philosophy. While filming The Dewarists, we wanted to try a contemporary fiction show with finesse and sophistication. When we presented the concept to Eristoff, they took to it almost immediately. So, we would be creating India’s first bi-lingual series,” he adds.

The concept is truly youth centric. BOTN is a story about four youngsters who come together to run a first-of-its-kind night club in Mumbai, which defies the status quo of a legal diktat by staying open till the early hours of the morning, thus providing a platform for the youth to unleash their nocturnal avatars. Vishwesh elaborates, “The day is only a part of the 24 hours while the other part of it is night. An individual has the choice of where he would like to be identified. Most people show their true side when the sun has set. The night is more instinctive and visceral.”

Global India

In a way, the series is an expression of a young, urban India. Bring On The Night is basically aimed at the type of people you see at music fests and those who form the new urban India. It is a global India with a wide variety of tastes — the Facebooking, iPad-using crowd that is a young, informed India. I think that it is up to the creators who decided what is contemporary and tradition. It is a simple thing to understand that the India of 2012 has been exposed to a decade of everything that has been available on the internet. It is a global generation where our lives are same over the world. It is a reflection of that,” explains this independent musician and ad filmmaker, who had spearheaded the campaign for Aamir Khan’s television debut, Satyamev Jayate.

Independent culture

Obviously, music forms an essential part of the series. “As a director, I use a lot of music and of course, it is a huge part of the cinematic process. The Dewarists was particularly about musicians. But in Bring On The Night, music is a cinematic tool. True, it is a very integral part of the experience but at the end of the day, it is about a story. And, that story is important,” reiterates Vishwesh, adding that his band, The Scribe, is working on a great album. “The new album is called ‘Hail Mogambo’ and it has been inspired from our previous album, ‘Mark of Teja’. This is our third album and it is an ode to the film, Mr India.
We are also planning to perform in two cities, Delhi and Bangalore,” he reveals.

The independent music scene in India is mushrooming at a positive pace. And Vishwesh indicates that this is a good sign for the genre. “The independent music scene is very good and we are going strong. It needs the same thing that it has always needed — great, hardworking bands, good music and lots of fests,” he says, in
conclusion.

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