POV: Are serial makers running short on ideas?

By Anindita Sarkar , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | November 26, 2012
Lately, there has been a spurt of Hindi serials that borrow their titles from old movies or songs. Is this an attempt to hitch a ride on the popularity of the lyrics, or does the trend reflect a dearth of creative thinking? afaqs! spoke to industry insiders for their opinion.

Most shows on Hindi general entertainment channels today bear names taken from old movie titles or lyrics of songs. Is there a shortage of talent that can dream up arresting titles?

Zubin Tatna, national director, planning, MEC

Zubin Tatna

The interest of the show among the audience starts with the name. And, if there is an element of familiarity in the show title, which is drawn from old movie titles or lyrics, it always triggers curiosity among the audience.

Even though the majority of top TV shows are named after movie titles/songs, it is not a concern about lack of originality as the show format and content of the shows are fresh.

It will always be the content that will drive the popularity of the show. This is true for any form of entertainment such as books or movies. The title can only create some curiosity but if the story line is dull, it can never become popular or successful.

Borrowing titles from old movies or songs is just a trend that will fade away. For example, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge was one of the first Hindi movies named after a song but it had a strong relevance to the story of the movie.

Sudhir Puthran, media group head, MPG

Sudhir Puthran

This trend strongly reflects the fact that there is a dearth of creative thinking within the television kingdom. While the odd famous lyric or movie title can ensure the initial eyeballs for the property, there is no guarantee that the content will be aptly reflected by the title.

For instance, after a few episodes, Yaha Main Ghar Ghar Kheli on Zee TV lost its stickiness because the audience felt cheated. Woh Rehne Wali Mehlon Ki on Sahara One also had a similar fate.

Today, in a cluttered market, each TV soap needs to have an USP of its own. For example, Pratigya on Star Plus doesn't endorse a famous lyric and yet enjoys top rating. The same goes for CID on Sony, and Dance India Dance and Pavitra Rishta on Zee TV.

The focus of the programming team should be on content. For instance, Uttaran and Balika Vadhu have strong content with lesser-known titles. Titles should be innovative and different, like Chhal on Colors.

R S Suriyanarayan, associate vice-president, Initiative

R S Suriyanarayan

When cinema used to be the major source of entertainment, we had popular songs becoming the titles of subsequent movies. Television is also following the path and I don't see anything wrong with that.

In my opinion, Bollywood and the TV industry are certainly interlinked in the sense that both need to capture the current trends/moods of the people to be able to create a buzz about the titles.

Sustaining eyeballs is a completely creative call and dependent on packaging of the viewer-relevant content with the entertainment quotient. Titles play an important role in consumer psyche and create a sense of insight into the product/content.

Having said that, the entertainment industry tries to identify viewer mood and if some trendsetter tastes the success then the entire industry starts following the same trend. Take the examples of the sequels - the Dons of the world.

I don't think we have a scarcity of creative talent. We are capable of creating fresh titles. This is just a trend that is being followed.

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