Indian villages becoming epicentre of many hit teleserials

Indian villages becoming epicentre of many hit teleserials

Riding on the popularity of teleserials like "Balika Vadhu", "Lado", "Bairi Piya" and "Bandini", channels like Colors and NDTV Imagine have dethroned long reigning Star Plus, Sony and Zee TV, forcing them to switch over from family dramas to shows like "Mitwa" and "Agle Janam" that focus on the plight of rural people.

A decade ago, the idea of showing rural India on small screen was considered too low, something that would have been good for an experiment but with satellite channels entering small towns and villages now things have changed drastically, says Nikhil Madhok, VP (marketing and communication), NDTV Imagine.

"Now the urban India has been sold to a saturation point, thus Indian villages have suddenly become the epicentre of hit formula on television," Madhok says.

Welcoming the new trend, avid daily soap watcher Punam Jain says, "Today viewers' choice has changed. Now they are not interested in watching family dramas based on urban background. Few channels have grasped the vein of audiences and villages have suddenly become the epicentre of many teleserials".

Jain, an IT professional from south Delhi, says, "The USP of these serials lies in presenting the grandeur of real India. They are visually and culturally rich in content, from costumes to the typical lingo, knick-knacks of daily rural life, everything has something new for the urban India".

Even queen of daily soaps Ekta Kapoor has taken a break from 'K series' and is now joining the trend.

Her two new serials -- "Bairi Piya" and "Bayttaab Dil Kee Tamanna Hai" -- are based on people from villages and small towns. While "Bairi Piya" focuses on suicides by farmers in Maharashtra, "Bayttaab..." is the story of three sisters who were forced to live in Mumbai's slum areas.

On opting for the new trend, Kapoor recently said, "Initially with K soaps, the viewers knew what to expect from them but now I am giving them different flavours".

Ashwini Yarde, content head of Colors, which became the second most watched Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC) within 10 weeks of its launch, had recently said that shows like "Balika Vadhu" and "Lado" based on rural themes made the channel successful.

Another viewer, government employee Ankita Hiramath says, "These serials deal with social evils that rural people have been facing since decades.

"The rural lifestyle and perspective presented comes as a shock to the urban audience. Class-divide, forced marriages, infanticide, domination by landlords...something that is a part of everyday rural life may be  sensational for city breds," Hiramath says.

Even elder people have heaved a sigh of relief with the change in trend.
"It is a fact that television has faster and greater impact on our society. Thank god, now we have less of those scheming women as the gang of Komolikas and Sindooras were ruining our 'bahus' and 'betis' by their selfish and deceiving ways," says 60-year-old Komal Khanna from Hauz Khas area.

"Soaps have been playing with the emotions of the common women who are the primary target for high drama and suspense and who tend to favour the positive or the negative vibes given out by the women characters so the new serials came as a breeze of fresh air due to their mass appeal," Khanna adds.

However, some feel that only format of tele-serials has changed but the acts of plotting, attacking and scheming are still intact in disguise.

Madhok agrees with them partly. "Even if present serials are based on different themes but all of them are some kind of family dramas and ultimately fall into the formula-tested game. All the serials start off interestingly but after a few episodes the basic theme is left somewhere and the story moves in an entirely different direction."

He finds support in businessman Kamal Kishor, who says "Its right that viewers have a lot of choices these days but all the daily soaps end up as the stereotyped sagas where step mothers and mothers-in-law torture their daughters and daughters-in-law."