Mythology and historical drama series have since early days captivated the imagination of the Hindi general entertainment space and its audience. Players have forever experimented with mythological-based series such as Ramayan and Mahabharat, along with historical series such as Akbar Birbal. One of the earliest shows, Shri Krishna, was first broadcast on Doordarshan's Metro channel in 1993. The series was then re-telecast on Sony Entertainment Television and later on Star Plus as well.
Sony Entertainment Television launched the historical series Chittod Ki Rani Padmini Ka Johur in 2009. Similarly, Zee TV had shows such as Raavan and Akbar Birbal, etc. It also launched Jhansi Ki Rani in 2009. Star Plus introduced Jai Ma Durga as part of it programming content in 2008. Star Plus’ sister channel Life Ok also launched Mahadev in 2011.
The genre has since observed a slowdown, with channels launching a greater number of shows pertaining to family, crime, reality TV, horror, etc.
But though for some time we observed a slowdown of such shows, late 2012 and 2013 were a little different.
Mythology and history making a comeback?
Recently Sony Entertainment Television launched its new historical drama series Bharat Ka Veer Putra – Maharana Pratap. Zee TV is also all set to introduce Jodha Akbar from June 18, 2013. Star Plus would also be launching mythological series Mahabharat.
Life Ok launched Savitri in February 2013. Colors also launched Jai Jag Janani Ma Durga in December 2012. Zee TV also launched Ramayan in 2012.
Mythology, forklore and history are genres that can be redone and packaged differently everytime, the end product being something that would have a fresh look and feel to it. Also, with the Hindi space cluttered with the similar type of content, players intend to bring something new to the table. Another significant element that adds to the charm is the fact that such shows have a large spectrum of audience involving all age groups.
Also, with players in the broadcast space wanting to bring the grandeur and the experience of cinema to the small screen, such shows become of the best bets.
The limiting factors
But all said and done, experts believe production and high investments to be some of the few challenging aspects of this genre. Lavish sets, costume, etc. add to the production costs, which usually range from Rs 8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh for a 30-minute episode.
Additionally, such shows do not provide opportunities for branded content or in-product placements as compared to other fiction or reality show, which in turn makes monetisation difficult. On the other hand, if the show strikes the right cord with the audience and observes high viewership numbers, the returns are high.