Made-in-China soap operas may soon be beamed into your drawing rooms, on the TV channel for the masses—Doordarshan (DD). Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is in talks with a visiting government delegation from China on the modalities of acquiring programmes. Although talks are in initial stages, Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma spoke about recreating the magic of ‘Oshin’, a highly popular Japanese serial which was aired on DD several years ago.
After the first round of talk on Wednesday with the Chinese team, headed by Cabinet minister for Radio, Films & TV Xu Guangchuan, Mr Sarma said a barter arrangement between DD and China’s state broadcaster CCTV was possible. Government sources said the delegation would also talk to private channel Zee for cooperation on both software and hardware.
Interestingly, Prasar Bharati is on a hardsell for 20 top entertainment programmes of DD in a barter arrangement with China. In exchange, it has asked for the best of China’s CCTV, “symbolising the country’s culture and values”. Referring to the popularity of Japanese serial ‘Oshin’, Mr Sarma said: “People want to know more about other cultures”.
While the two sides are talking about the terms of a barter arrangement, other options could also be considered, according to the Prasar Bharati chief.
As for other acquisitions, Prasar Bharati is sending a team to Pakistan to bid for radio (All India Radio) rights to the forthcoming India-Pakistan cricket series. As for the controversial TV rights, Mr Sarma is still pinning his hopes on a “possible re-bid”. If a rebid happens, Prasar Bharati would bid, he said.
As for China, the success of Oscar-nominated film ‘Lagaan’ in the country is said to have triggered the delegation’s visit to India. The team is scheduled to meet information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday to discuss a film co-production agreement. The country’s lengthy decision-making process continues to be seen as an obstacle. For instance, China’s state broadcaster CCTV had shown interest in buying rights to some Indian films two years ago, but there’s hardly any movement on that front yet.