It’s that time of the month when as per the tradition goes we pull out the report cards. While it has not been an eventful year for TV, let us scrutinise what happened on the small screen.
Family dramas ruled the roost in 2022. Anupama, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, Ghum Hai Kisikey Pyaar Meiin (GHKPM), Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, Imlie were all family dramas that were regular in the top five ratings list. Meanwhile, other genres like the rom-com, thriller genres, for instance, Fanna: Ishq Mein Marjawan, Channa Mereya, Spy Bahu failed to click with the TV audience. Actor Sudhanshu Pandey elaborates, “It won’t be wrong to say that after Anupamaa, the trend of TV became about families, relationships and also about triumphing women.”
Ayesha Singh who plays Sai in GHKPM thinks people “want to watch simple common people’s struggle” and agrees with Pandey’s thoughts. “The audience wants to watch strong women characters instead of being pushed around. They are welcoming strong female characters,” she says.
Imlie’s director Ashish Shrivastav shares an interesting observation stating that love triangles became a trend in 2022. “TV shows primarily work on trends. This year love triangles and conflict-based stories are working. You can pick any show and they all are love triangles,” he shares. Interestingly, GHKPM, Udaariyan, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai have all been love triangles that managed to do wonders on the TRP charts.
No viewers for mytho, historical and supernatural dramas
Mythological and historical sagas that were once a success formula for makers seemed to have taken a hit. While the number of shows from this genre decreased, 99% of the shows that were released couldn’t leave a mark. Highly anticipated shows like Vidrohi, Kashibai Bajirao Balla, Dharm Yoddha Garud, Jai Kanhaiya Lal Ki, tanked poorly and shut down. While others like Yashomati Maiyaa Ke Nandlala, Punyashlok Ahilyabai aren’t doing great in terms of ratings as well.
Supernatural dramas which were a massive hit before the pandemic witnessed massive downfall as well. Ali Baba: Dastaan-E-Kabul, Naagin 6, Pisachini are just a few supernatural dramas that failed to impress the audience.
Nivedita Basu, Head of Content Strategy & Business Alliances (GEC), shares, “The cost for a channel to sustain a period drama or mythological is tough. When we did a Parshuram, it worked very well for us, because the cost was effective and we always aimed to run it for a finite period.”
While there is still concern with respect to TV ratings and their authenticity, one cannot undermine the fact that there has been a steep decline in the ratings this year. Even the most popular shows such as Anupamaa and GHKPM have not crossed the four-point TVR.
“I think the audience’s patience has gone down as they have matured so much after the pandemic. They have seen so much content online that they demand better cinema. That is why the ratings of overall get networks have gone down. Also, they don’t have the patience to watch ads as they are used to skipping or forwarding,” explains actor Shakti Arora.
Actor Avinash Rekhi, whose last show Tere Bina Jiya Jaye Na shut down within a year owing to low ratings, says, “TV se sabke ghar chalte hai. Every week defines the age of a project. However, this pressure of ratings also takes away the creativity and quality.”
Producer Sandiip Sikcand states that the constant decline in the ratings is a concern that broadcasters should worry about. “There is pressure on actors and production houses and more so on the latter. However, they cannot do much until there is a change of outlook from the broadcaster’s point of view. We have to have a platform that is willing to bring about a change of content and take risks to open doors for people to be aware of different genres, shows and content. So the pressure should be more on the broadcasters.”
Getting the axe
While the ratings have been dropping, the broadcasters are taking no time to axe a show.
Appnapan, Kaamnaa, Muskurane Ki Wajah Tum Ho, Harphoul Mohini, Jagannath Aur Purvi Ki Dosti Anokhi were just a few shows that had to face the brunt. The shows were pulled off air even before they could connect with the audience.
Actor Karan Vohra, who is currently seen in Imlie, shares his perspective on why shows are shutting down so soon: “The shows that are coming and going follow the urban trend more and that doesn’t work. We need to accept that TV is for the masses and a certain type of audience.” Shrivastava chimes in, “We are not working on original content. For the past 2-3 years, TV has been doing a lot of remakes. OTT is doing a lot of experiments with its content. We need to cater to certain experiments.” Basu nods on the subject of lack of experimentation: “All the prototypes of Anupamaa – a middle-aged woman having a midlife crisis – did not work. People like an original story and something that resonates with their own life.”
Bringing that old charm
2022 saw an avalanche of actors like Shweta Tiwari, Karan Wahi, Manav Gohil, Sangita Ghosh, Iqbal Khan and several popular actors from the noughties back on the small screen leading daily soaps. “A lot of actors from the past took a self-imposed sabbatical and they are so talented, that to see them coming back is such a treat,” gushes Sikcand. “Talent speaks volumes and once a star is always a star,” actor Mahekk Chahal mentions. Iqbal Khan was seen after a gap of four years with Nima Denzongpa and Na Umra Ki Seema Ho this year. He shares, “Nobody works more than 12 hours anymore. Budgets have become better compared to earlier. So it’s all good.”
Arora, who was seen in a daily soap after almost four years states: “Makers are bringing back the actors who had the hold.of.the audiences. If there is a known face people still hold back the remote button for a while, otherwise the audience has become ruthless in changing channels.”
Making buzz for all the wrong reasons
The year could have indeed been a nightmare for several PRs of GECs across. Swarnghar, Naagmani were a few shows that were heavily trolled for their utterly ridiculous scenes (hope you remember the science-defying kite flying episode). Indian Idol 13 was called scripted by several viewers for its shocking eliminations, Roadies was slammed by its loyal audience for the removal of its host Rannvijay Singha, and #MeToo accused Sajid Khan’s participation in Bigg Boss 16 led to a massive furore on social media. Sona Mohapatra, Saloni Chopra and others objected to his participation and slammed the network for the move.
Lacklustre awards season
Another observation of the year was the lacklustre awards season. While there was a time when TV was known for that period when the entire fraternity used to come together for the awards season, it was missing this year. Rekhi shares, “Awards are recognition to an actor but only if it is given based on merit. I hardly see any award shows doing that.”
Actor Shubhaavi Choksey defends: “I don’t think we should think about the disappointing year of awards as opposed to what is happening in the world. With the pandemic coming and going, I do feel bad that it’s not happening as it used to before but it’s not disappointing.”