Pia in Kasamh Se
She was positive earlier, well we are talking about Pia Dixit of Kasamh Se, but later on she falls in love with Jai Walia to that extent that she tries to kill her own sister Bani, who was Jai’s wife.
For all you soap-box viewers who’ve missed your daily dose of drama, intrigue and realism because of the ongoing strike called by the Federation of Western India Cine Employess (FWICE) and the Producer’s Guild, There’s good news. Finally the strike has been called off. The FWICE (which represents over 35,000 television workers) has signed a MoU with the Producers’ Guild, in which they have agreed that workers will move from a per-day payment system to a monthly salary structure.
While appropriate changes have been made in the new contract, how tough will it be for the shows to grab eyeballs again? According to reports there was a 25 per cent drop in viewership in general entertainment channels (GECs) in the last few weeks.
Sanjay Upadhyay, head of fiction, Sony says, “These weeks were gruelling for all broadcasters. But we all stood by each other.” However, the actual date when fresh episodes of the shows will air isn’t decided yet. Adds Upadhyay, “We will resume the new content of the current shows soon. Three weeks is too short a time to start working on new shows. There has been a drop in viewership, but the exact figures aren’t with us. We showed repeat telecasts of shows, but the fall in TRPs is marginal.”
Some channels had their shows reach a ‘story peak’ before the strike, so the TRPs for these shows should be high when their fresh episodes are telecast again. Vivek Bahl, creative head of Star Plus says, “Our two leading shows stopped at a ‘high point’. We plan to push the shows on that aspect. Our scripts are written in well advance, so we don’t plan major changes. I am hoping that content alone will attract the audience.” Some channels have big plans of launching new shows. “We will start fresh shows but the date is not fixed. We will also have new packaging and ‘high points’ (in the storyline) that will hype the shows. The fall in viewership during the period of strike was expected,” says Zee TV business head, Tarun Mehra.
Channels’ heads are thinking of ways to woo advertisers back (some had even shifted loyalties to news, lifestyle and sports channels). “All channels are suffering from low TRPs. We don’t want to talk about them. There has been a loss of revenue and advertisers are backing out. But once we are back with fresh episodes we will strike a good deal. We’ll have new shows to replace the ones that are off air. The date to show fresh episodes is not finalised yet,” adds Yash Khanna, EVP, Star Plus.
What changes do producers plan to make in their shows to attract audience? “We are planning major changes in the scripts. The story line is going for a big twist. I am glad that things will be more organised and we have a positive start,” shares Hemal Thakkar, producer of Jeevan Saathi and Teen Bahuraniyan.
Some producers had also started shooting outside Maharastra. “We have shot in Gujarat and will continue to do so. Today producers are shooting all over India and aren’t limiting themselves to Mumbai anymore,” avers Thakkar. But the location of a show is something that the “producers will decide as per storyline demands,” points out Khanna.
So what lies ahead? “We are working hard on our scripts and making creative changes. Now, it’s time to check the loyalty of our audience,” elaborates Rajan Shahi, producer and series director, Sapna Babul Ka… Bidaai. Today even the workers are a content lot. Says Thakkar: “There is a minimum hike of 40 per cent in the workers’ salary which is handsome.”
As long as the ‘striking episode’ yields better shows (since production houses had time to work on their scripts), satisfied actors (back from their much wanted ‘break’) higher ad revenues and TRPs, it would have been worth it all.