Two weeks ago Yash Raj Films commenced work on their new years resolution. What resolution you ask? The promise to change Indian television as we know it! The promise to enhance your weekends’ television viewing experience. Four fictional shows and one non-fictional show, all slotted for an hour each and spread between Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights’ television schedules on channel Sony. But that was two weeks ago. Now, two weeks later, all shows have aired for two weeks in a row and its D’Day! How promising does the outcome of Yash Raj’s promise look? Read on to find out!
Lift Kara De
Lift Kara De marks the re-entrance of Karan Johar on the small screen once again as a host, however this time with no ‘koffee’ mug in sight thankfully but once again with his favourite top names of the industry. The show is a search for the “biggest” fan of 20 celebrities (one celebrity a week) and will capture the dream-come-true moment when fans meet their icons. The show combines an element of two kinds of popular reality shows in India, the first being the talk shows with top celebrities and the second being game shows. It perhaps takes the realism from Farah Khan’s Tere Mere Beach Mein to a whole new level. If you remember back to TMBM, you’ll remember that the aim of the show was to make stars relatable to the population at large and perhaps LKD does something similar by making the stars seem not so unattainable. This one is a must see for those die-hard fans of the stars as well as those who have a liking towards reality television! Life Kara De airs at 8pm on Friday and Saturday evenings
For those of you who are less likely to tune into a reality show, wait for an hour and catch Mahi Way at 9pm on Saturdays and your search for an intriguing storyline will end. Mahi Way is a refreshing tale about Mahi Talwar an aspiring serious journalist who for the time being writes an agony aunt column in a fashion magazine, hoping that one day she’ll be promoted to a full feature writer’s position. She is not your average girl and so she is constantly fighting the stereotypes set by society. The show follows her life, struggles and triumphs. Some may argue that Mahi Way bares some resemblance to the American show Ugly Betty, however the only similarity between the two shows is the fact that both of them are about a young aspiring journalist beating the odds. Apart from this small resemblance, Mahi Way is unique in its own brilliant way. The show is likely to bring in viewers of all ages, particularly female viewers, because not only does it have a unique and refreshing storyline for Indian viewers but it also brings a new light to female characters on Indian television. Those of you who watch Indian television on a regular basis would know that the avatars of Indian women on our television screens is rather limited to the “saas” and “bahu” tags, and so in this way Mahi Way fills in a rather big niche on our television screens.
Supernatural thrillers have always been a hit in the West, be it the black and white classic Jeanie, Bewitched or the millennium hit Charmed. However, on Indian screens, this genre is hardly explored at all, but this all changed with Seven, a story about 7 powerful human beings who are destined to protect the world with their unique super powers. The show mixes the usual supernatural philosophy with legendary Indian mythology which should strike a chord with the viewers. Special effects are a large part of the show and let’s just say that the show showcases better SFX than we see on our big screen these days! The show perhaps can be compared to the American drama Heroes which has a similar storyline, however Seven does have its unique element with the incorporation of Indian mythology. This one perhaps is a treat for all those youngsters constantly finding themselves without a thing to watch on Indian channels because the saas bahu seriels just don’t cut it!
To draw in the somewhat mature viewers, Rishta.Com is airing Sunday nights at 8pm! This one is yet another refreshing light-hearted comedy about two business partners, Isha Mirchandani and Rohan Mehra, who run a marriage bureau with the name…surprise surprise, Rishta.com! The show is a definite must watch for all those feeling suffocated from the daily soaps on Indian television with its light-hearted comedy, relatable characters and intriguing storyline. It boasts of a unique storyline, mature performances and very stylish and subtle cinematography. Whilst the writers clearly wanted to portray characters of the modern India, they haven’t totally overdone it and have created characters that although are in touch with the current times still have their desi-ness intact! You’ll find yourself drawn in immediately!
Next up is a crime drama set against one of the most versatile cities of the world, Mumbai! Powder focuses on the narcotic trades that happen in this city and intertwines the stories of people from all classes who reside in Mumbai. The same Mumbai that is home to glamour and glitz is at the same time home to some of the biggest criminal deals of the nation. It’s an interesting take for YRF to invent a crime drama but Indian-ize it completely. For all those who like their television time to mean something and hanker for powerful performances and hardcore storylines, this is a must watch!
In totality this new innovative move on the part of Yash Raj Films by truly bringing cinema to your homes in a whole new light. Perhaps in years to come we can truly stop relating the words “Indian cinema” to the phrase “saas bahu seriels” because at last a production house has recognised a niche market and is endeavoring to fill it. What is to be commended is that all five shows cater to different kinds of people, ensuring that almost everyone benefits from this new face of Indian television, be it the parents, teenagers, male or female.
Mahi Way and Rishta.com are likely to strike a chord with the viewers instantly, however the innovative storyline of Powder will require it to be met with the right viewer. Seven is perhaps the most experimental show of them all as supernatural has been a genre that our films even haven’t explored much, and the young audiences of India are quite accustomed to western television and its offerings, thus the storyline would need to indeed progress in an intriguing and sophisticated manner in order to hold the viewer’s attention. Lift Kara De is something to be enjoyed by the whole family and will surely bring in viewers for the 20 weeks it is scheduled to air.
As for ratings, the past few weeks’ statistics shows that the advent of all these shows has attracted viewers, however not as much as the makers had hoped for. Sony faces great competition from channels like Zee and Star, both of which are airing two very popular reality shows on weekends, Dance India Dance Season 2 and Music Ka Maha Muqqabla. Not to mention the popular weekend prime time movies that is always guaranteed high viewer ratings.
However, it is likely things will brighten up in the weeks to come as word spreads about the impressive content of all shows. Makers are all optimistic that viewers will tune in in good time as the stories of all the shows progress more and more as far more interesting twists and turns in the script are introduced!
Only time will tell if this debut of YRF on the small screen was just what the production house needed to come out of a dull period when all their films aren’t performing to the level expected. For now, be sure to check out the official website of the shows and see for yourself which of the five you’re most likely to tune into!