Though fictional characters have made their mark in the television space, non-fictional characters create an equally strong connect with viewers.
Prathap Suthan, Managing Partner and Chief Creative Officer, Bang in the Middle shares that the lions of Africa are his favourite, owing to the real lives they lead – without any put-ons, and minus the drama and artificiality.
exchange4media chats with Prathap Suthan to find out what he likes about the lions of Africa.
Who is your favourite character in the television space?
There was a time many many years ago, when I genuinely used to watch TV, Raymond of 'Everybody loves Raymond' was my favourite. I liked him unabashedly – his goofs, his complexes, his fights with his wife and his mum, etc. They were so real. But that was a long time back. I don't watch TV now. I don't watch any shows. I am a boring nobody for advertisers.
Of course, I have a TV at home that I switch on to watch at times – news, sports, etc., but no GEC shows. There are far too many of them, and I don't like to get addicted now. I hate habits, barring a couple. Besides I am off characters. They are unreal people. I can’t have any relationship with fake tears, and red ketchup. Maybe I have evolved. Maybe I truly like Bugs Bunny, etc. who is real. Because he is cartoon real. Bugs Bunny doesn’t act other than as a rabbit in any other show or put on an act or go pinching someone’s backside in real life. He maybe a cartoon, but he is real. True character. He doesn’t exist other than as a cartoon. But like I said, I don’t watch him or his shows anymore. I only watch him in the screen of my memories. Or YouTube forever!
However, here’s my all-time favorite character – the lions of Africa; on Nat Geo, Animal Planet, or even Discovery.
What do you like about them?
Absolutely real. Primal. Lords. Leaders. Brutal in their lives. Brutal in their deaths. But they live real lives. No lies. No put-ons. No make-up. Including the gore. And the final agony of dying all alone as the mere shadows of what they were. Most of their lives are minus drama and artificiality. None of them fake relationships. None of them fake anything for that matter. They live well. They sleep well. They hunt well. They work well. Their politics is decided by pure fang and muscle. It’s simple living in a way. Besides they fear almost nothing. With no other animal really to fear. Convert all that into a human perspective, and it could relook at how we live our lives. Teach us a few lessons.
This is fascinating…please elaborate
The story cannot be truer than their lives in the veldt or in the Serengeti. It’s actually not a story. It’s history that repeats itself. With every cub that’s born, a glorious story comes to life. One that roars its way through a natural sequence of events before it withers away into oblivion. Each of their stories kind of follows the same tumble of events. The pride maybe different, the grasslands may be different, the deer maybe different, the fights maybe different. But barring that, none of them change the plot. They beautifully replay the same plot. A lion forever will behave and play lion. Not cheetah. Not hippo. Not monkey.
Do you think popularity of a particular character extends itself to the show or a show shapes up the characters?
In regular serials, it works like a two-way street. Both need each other. The characters need the show and vice versa. In the way I see my characters, who represent a certain honest approach to life, they don’t need any show. They are the show.
How often do you tune in to shows where lions are involved?
I don't have a schedule. But when I have time to sit in front of the TV, I always look for a show that has lions in them. Most times I end up watching other animals, but I do stumble on to lions frequently.