After the completion of 1000 episodes of Colors’ show ‘Balika Vadhu’ on May 14, 2012, another show of the channel ‘Uttaran’ celebrated reaching the milestone of 1000 episodes on November 8, 2012.
Prashant Bhatt, Programming Head, Fiction, Colors said, “Whether it’s 1000 episodes or 100 episodes, every show has its own destiny. You work on every show with the same amount of sincereity, dedication and passion. You do a lot of strategising and cross channel work and there are certain things which click for a particular show. In another two years, we would hopefully see other shows achieve a similar milestone.”
Today with short attention spans as well as with a slew of options available in the form of new shows in the Hindi GEC space, sustaining a show for a long time has become extremely challenging for broadcasters. According to Bhatt, there are certain key challenges that are faced by channels when they are looking for a long run. As one progresses from the first to the tenth to the hundredth episode, with every twist in the story, there is a risk of bringing the ‘been there, done that’ feeling to the property. Hence, channels need to constantly up their creativity so as to bring a hint of freshness and individuality to the show.
Bhatt is of also of the belief that audience expectations increase with time. Hence, it becomes very important for the show to prove its worth every single time. “You cannot rest on the applause of the previous week’s episode. You need to filter out the noise and decide what else could be done which is new, fresh, would excite the audience and meet their expectations. Hence, the challenge lies not in planning for tomorrow but for day after.”
Bringing the ‘season’ format to India
The channel plans to experiment with the ‘season’ format with its earlier show ‘Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha’. The show will be back with season two early next year. The season format which is common in the English GEC space is an almost alien concept for Hindi general entertainment channels. According to Bhatt, though there are a lot of questions regarding viewer memory and the risks involved. The channel intends to understand viewer reaction and bring something new to the table through this move.
For the record, ‘Uttaran’, which went on air on December 1, 2008 on Colors, is telecast on the 10PM time slot. Since the launch of the show, the storyline has gone through a 10-year leap in 2009 and another 18-year leap in 2012.