Bollywood biggies walk the TV talk
New Delhi: The small screen is going big. Making the transition from the big screen, mainstream Bollywood producers Vipul Amrutlal Shah, Ritesh Sidhwani and Sanjay Leela Bhansali are planning a bouquet of television shows while Aamir Khan has already set TRPs soaring with `Satyamev Jayate`.
"Satyamev Jayate", a Sunday brunch delight, has already brought back those who had drifted away from TV ruing that it had nothing appetising to offer. The show has touched a chord with its well-researched shows focussing on burning social issues. Before that, of course, stars such as Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan have discovered the reach of television.
Now, increasingly, big production houses are walking the television path.
Shah, who is making a comeback on TV after a long gap, explained the movement saying: "Whenever there is a platform, which is strong and powerful, everyone wants to work on that."
"I think everybody recognises that TV is a very strong medium and has grown multifold. Its increasing popularity is the reason why people from silver screen are coming on TV," Shah told reporters.
Before making it big in Bollywood with successful potboilers like `Waqt: The Race Against Time` and `Singh Is Kinng`, Shah had played a successful innings on TV with the 1999 TV show "Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka".
Shah, who is back on the small screen with "Bhai Bhaiya Brother" as a producer, feels the medium has its own positives and negatives. "TV is time bound. You can`t change your deadlines, come what may. You have to work without sleeping for 36-40 hours.
"Films do not have this kind of pressure. You can always take a break, regroup after one week and start working."
Known for making urbane stylish films such as `Dil Chahta Hai`, `Rock On!!` and `Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara` under the Excel Entertainment Pvt. Ltd banner, which he co-owns with Farhan Akhtar, Sidhwani is also ready with a game show for television.
"I don`t think I or anybody in my age group are excited to go back home and tune into a TV show. There is a lot of scope with content on TV. So Farhan and I are planning a show with which we will be able to achieve that," Sidhwani told reporters.
"We aim to bring in new audience through our show. We want to add value... We will do one show first to see where it takes us and then maybe more in future," he added.
Bhansali, too, is keen on bringing his style of lavish filmmaking, seen in his directorial works such as `Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam` and `Devdas`, to the small screen - albeit as a producer.
"TV is the most powerful medium today, and it will grow even more powerful tomorrow. So I feel it is important for my work to reach out to the homes of the people, rather than people coming to the theatres to watch my work," Bhansali told reporters.
"I may not be directing for TV, but I am definitely looking at producing TV shows, essentially soaps," he added.
While these production houses are yet to start their journey, Rajshri Productions, one of the earliest television serial producers that made its debut with `Paying Guest` in 1985, Yash Raj Films and Red Chillies have already cashed in on the magic of the small screen.
YRF TV, a wing of Yash Raj Films, came with fresh content and story lines with shows like `Mahi Way`, `Rishta.Com`, `Powder`, `Seven` in January 2010 and `Khottey Sikkey` and `Kismat` 2011.
Rafiq Gangjee, vice president marketing and communications, YRF, says the aim behind the shows was to bring in a variety for the viewers.
"The major challenge was to try and bring a little bit of film into television...We wanted to give the existing viewers new and discernibly different programming," Gangjee told reporters, adding that YRF would be back with new and exciting stories.
Shah Rukh Khan`s Idiot Box, a unit of Red Chillies, floated shows like `Living With A Superstar`, `Ghar Ki Baat Hai` and `Tere Mere Beach Mein`.