Ok, so Indian television was not in its brightest spot, but 2012 had its share of eyeballs. Of course, there were the usual quirks and quips, (including the consistent and persistent daily drill of so called breaking news); and quotes and quacks (who can forget the life-saving Sandhi Sudha or Nirmal Baba’s grand sabhas!). Still, if one has to rewind and play, it was Star Plus’s “Satyameva Jayate” that dwarfed the giants and gave a much-needed jack to the jaded Indian television programming.
Following suit was the Aam Aadmi winning his lakhs on the hot seat on “Kaun Banega Crorepati.” “Indian Idol” this year was rewarding, so was the generous focus on India coverage on Discovery, NDTV Good Times, Fox History and Traveller and TLC. However, in between the rona-dhona, saas bahu dramarama; a relentless censor played spoilsport by refusing to curb the cut, reducing the viewing to a jerky ride.
Then there was the Indian advertising commercial that got smarter while the news got sillier; family prime time was subjected to 1,000 episode celebrations, generational jumps, and social issues with no cause or effect; music channels committed culpable musicide, sing and dance reality shows continued in full glory while mythology ruled the roost. All we can say is a big thanks to DTH providers’ plus features: record, rewind, forward, play, and our favourite - delete!
Here are rest of the TV highlights for 2012:
It’s the small-screen-and-big-star syndrome with Bollywood actors answering telly calls - from Amitabh Bachchan on Sony’s “Kaun Banega Crorepati,” Salman Khan for Colors’ “Bigg Boss,” Madhuri Dixit for “Jhalak Dikhlaja,” Ayesha Takia on “SurKshetra” with Asha Bhonsle as the judge of the year on the show, Sohail Khan on “Comedy Circus” to Soha Ali Khan on “What Not to Wear India.” Akshay Kumar making a comeback for new season of “Khatron Ke Khiladi” and Anil Kapoor giving a Hindi twist to the super hit action series “24″ on Colors. Stars are still entertaining the masses.
Apps, games, virtual temples, online auditions, video wars, Facebook interface – the Indian television went digital this year. Zee’s “Dance India Dance L’il Masters” mobile application and website offering live chats with the show’s judges, dance tutorials by mentors and an opportunity to interact with the contestants received 10,000 downloads, 2,12,852 hits, 18 lakh views and 14,642 comments. “Indian Idol” auditions took place online. Star Plus’ smart phone application delivers entertainment through features like TV viewing, missed episodes and show updates. UTV Movies revamped its Facebook page to become one of India’s leading online destinations for Bollywood movies. Facebook page of “Roadies” has over five lakh fans. The success of Star Plus’ “Satyamev Jayate” has prompted the launch of an application that allows streaming the thematic song that concludes each episode. This application has made it to the Top 25 category on iPhone Appstore and ranks number 17, beating Instagram at 18. Last year, Fox History and Traveller channel hand-picked hosts for the shows “Life Mein Ek Baar” and “The Freaky Traveller” via contests on Facebook. Zee has come up with virtual temple where people can have virtual darshan, kirtan and katha! Wow!
BACK TO FUTURE
Barney Stinson is back, so is Meredith Grey, “Castle” and the whole ’70s bunch. If anything grabbed eyeballs, recordings, TRPs and undivided attention, it was the re-run of hit sitcoms, back-to-back on Star World and Comedy Central. It was déjà vu to watch “Doogie Howser MD,” “Wonder Years,” “That ’70s Show,” “Coupling,” “Two And A Half Men,” “Las Vegas,” and etc etc.
BOYS TO MEN
McSteamies, McDreamies, “Mad Men,” yeah, the men have never looked this hot on Indian television. Ram Kapoor from “Bade Achche Lagte Hain” may be a favourite, but how can we give the shirtless wonders on small screen with brooding looks, chiselled abs, fitted wardrobe, and the hole rugged sexuality a miss? From the bhai, Salman Khan (“Bigg Boss”), Sohail Khan (“Comedy Circus”), Ronit Roy (“Adalat”), Karan Singh Grover (“Qubool Hai”), Vishal Karwal (“Bigg Boss”) to Angad Hasija (“Ram Milaye Jodi”), Ravi Dubey (“Pavitra Rishta”), Mohit Raina (“Devon Ke Dev Mahadev”) to Ashish Sharma (“Rab Se Sona Ishq”), Rannvijay (“Roadies”), Aamir Ali (actor and anchor), Eijaz Khan, Iqbal Khan (“Yahan Main Ghar Ghar Kheli,” “Teri Meri Love Stories”), Nishant Malkani (briefly on “Ram Milaye Jodi”) – the men were the showstealers.
It came as a rude shock, but it happened alright when story, teleplay and dialogue writers from across Hindi Indian television industry boycotted the annual Indian Television Academy (ITA) awards on November 4. The reason? In protest to the academy’s letter to the Film Writers’ Association (FWA) that rejected their request to include an award for Best Story alongside Best Teleplay and Best Dialogues on the ground that Indian television shows do not have any story. Er, that is true, isn’t it?
THE UGLY TRUTH
Yes, reality shows got desperate, loud and dirty. From forced drama on “Bigg Boss,” self-proclaimed superdude Ashmit Patel’s grooming guide on Bindass’ “Superdude,”forced cross connections on “Splitsvilla,” that condescending Brit accent on “Kingfisher Calendar Girl,” verbal backlash and whiplash on “Roadies,” awkward questions on ”Gazab Desh Ki Ajab Kahaniyan”…yup, it got real nasty.
WE DON’T WANT THE MUSIC
Youth is the king, queen, the ruling class, and so thinks Channel V and MTV, who have turned off the music and ventured into fiction and non fictions shows. So, there is V’s “Surveen Guggal,” “Dil Dosti Dance,” “Best Friends Forever,” “Buddy Project,” ”Humse Hai Life,” “Gumraah,” MTV’s “Splitsvilla,” “Roadies,” “Rush,” “Bring on the Night,” ”Road to Love.” The only conscious music programming on music television was the second seasons of “Coke Studio @ MTV” and “MTV Unplugged.” Both disappointed again.
Kuch toh gadbad hai! It may not be Byomkesh Bakshi or the carrot-munching Karamchand cracking cases with their wit, but Sony’s “CID” has opened crime files like never before. Following suit were more crime thrillers like Sony’s “Crime Patrol” and “Adalat,” Colors ”Shaitaan,” “Gumraah” (Channel V), and Life Ok’s “Savdhan India.” Horror too got its gory bloody space on Indian television with “The Vampire Diaries” on Zee Café, “Teen Wolf” on AXN, ”Supernatural,” Zee’s “Fear Files,” “Haunted Nights” and “American Horror Story” on FOX Crime.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Filmmakers have realized the value and reach of the Indian television and given into satellite rights of their films. So, the year saw television premiers of hits like “Ek Tha Tiger,” “Rowdy Rathore,” “Agneepath,” “Vicky Donon.” English and regional films were added to the library as Hindi GEC’s aired dubbed versions – so there was “Bourne Supremacy,” “Avatar” and James Bond movies in Hindi! It happens only in India!
Airing the same programme simultaneously on two or more channels. Star Plus’s “Satyameva Jayate” set the trend by simulcasting on the entire Star Network and DD. Sports has been doing this for a while, the GECs are catching up now. Zee’s “Ramayana” runs on DD too, Channel V’s “Gumraah” ran on Star Plus while “Coke Studio @ MTV” was aired on DD. It’s the reach and money, even if it means running two different seasons or staggered episodes of the same show on to different channels. Star Plus and Star Utsav does it, so does Star World, AXN and Zee Café. Reliance’s BIG CBS Network will simulcast the latest season six of “America’s Got Talent” on BIG CBS Prime, BIG CBS Love and BIG CBS Spark.