Interview: Anuradha Prasad, Managing Director, BAG films

Anuradha Prasad speaks with Neha S on the current face of reality, complicated content-distribution-TRP relationship.

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Interview: Anuradha Prasad, Managing Director, BAG films

Interview: Anuradha Prasad, Managing Director, BAG films

Anuradha Prasad speaks with Neha S on the current face of reality, complicated content-distribution-TRP relationship.

publive-imageThe small screen seems to be flooded with shows that have reality stuck into their base storyline in some manner. Be it hard hitting 'Rishton se badi pratha' based on moral killing in hinterlands or 'Mano ya na mano', a lift from paranormal happenings- reality beckons as the vital ingredient for a successful TRP recipe. But this is starkly different from the face of reality that hogged the limelight in early 90's when these shows were restricted to crime. As shows like 'Wanted' and 'Haqeeqat' not only fetched accolades but also triggered off a new trend. But cut to today- the charm of a bit of reality has unaffected none. From dating shows, to game shows, to daily soaps- all have a dash of reality added to it. Much to the extent that the lady who started off this fad is also playing with the new, changed rules of the game.

Neha.S of gets involved in a candid chat with Anuradha Prasad, Managing Director, BAG films as she divulges not only the current face of reality but also throws a light on other interesting aspects.

Q) There are already a host of reality cum fiction shows running on the small screen, how is your current show -'Luteri Dulhan' (slated to start next week on Imagine at 9:30 pm) different?

This upcoming show is not a completely fiction based as before finalising the script we did a preliminary research and got to know that there are seven-eight such gangs operating in the interiors of Haryana that dupe grooms and flee with their money. But they are not totally villainous as they themselves have been victimized in their lives in the past. Thus although the inspiration is from an actual incident but the show has a fun-element showcased in it. And plus it's the first show that we have made for the channel also, thus we believe that it will be able to stand distinct.

Q) You have made many shows in the past like 'Kumkum' that ran over a span of around 1000 episodes. But if you observe closely in last two years, not many shows have been able to garner the same eyeballs and maintain a foot on the small screen for long. What is the probable root cause for this come-and-go scenario among serials? Is it the lust of audience for something new every time or is it the hollow from the creative team's side?

I believe that it's largely because of the dearth of honed writers that once penned down rock-solid scripts and dialogues. At the same time we have to understand the fact that whenever a new concept is introduced it takes a little time to sink in and get accepted or rejected among the audiences. But as we all have witnessed that there has been a paradigm shift in the TV industry in last 10-12 years, thus the small screen has become a different ball game all together. I mean look at the target audience today- they watch news channel for entertainment. Similarly areas like Gujrat, Eastern UP, and Bihar has become a big market and this is all TAM based. And people in these areas want to see the spice on screen. Thus the content industry is going through the evolution stage and I believe that it will take another 5-6 years for India to evolve as compared to its global counterparts.

Q) Offlately, you are more involved in running the channels as compared to producing shows. But how do you ensure to imbibe the same essence in your shows that you paid heed to in your early days?

Oh, that's a challenging job because there is a huge bundle of expectations and credibility attached to it. Thus I am very particular about some issues in general. Like the women protagonist in my serials is not the typical 'abla nari' who keeps on shedding bucket full of tears in every episode of the serial. Like I remember when we made 'Kumkum'  the 'bahu' avatar changed on the television after it. Even the character of 'Tulsi' of 'Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi' revamped its portrayal into a more confident one.  Thus I do not get involved in shows in depth but I definitely try to take care of the basic ideation behind it.

Q) You are given the title of the maverick that started the concept of 'Reality' based shows on the Indian televisions with your shows like Rozana or a Haqeeqat in the past. But now there's a different face to the term that once you introduced. How do you look at this change?

India follows the trend in next five years that US is adopting now. I seriously do not believe that audiences should be stretched too long to see anything. Today, the content is snappier in nature. But besides the content, I also believe that there is another serious issue. The viewers give money for what they see on television but it hardly goes back to broadcasters. Today if your distribution is good then your channel is hogging the primetime and TRP's. On the contrary the ideal situation should be that broadcaster's should go to the producers for bidding. This will not only make the content as king but will also benefit the multiple parties involved in it. Despite of all this, the good thing is that, today the writers are paid well and thus in turn there is a whole new crop of budding creative stimulating people who want to join this field and fill in the gap.

Q) Out of the host of multi-genre shows produced by you including the docu-drama series, saas-bahu saga, musical shows et al, which remains that one show that caused tremors to you during its set-up?

I think, all of the shows made by us, especially the docu- drama series were the most challenging to transform into the screens of a common man. And the reason being thatyour rols is not just restricted in the making of the show but you also have to educate and explain the viewers of the basic understanding of the concept. But if I have to pick one, than 'Haqeeqat' was the one that gave sleepless nights during its making.

Q) Any upcoming shows in the offing that you are geared for?

Our recent show named 'India investigates' on Fox did very well. Then there is one with the Imagine that I mentioned earlier. But honestly speaking I am very 'child like'. And with every new show I am hell nervous as I was for my first show. But since I have spent so long in the industry and that too in the news profession initially, I just manage to pick up right things at the right time and at the right platform.

Q) When you switch on the TV, which kind of shows do you like to watch personally?

I like to watch shows that have emotions in the central place. Now that does not mean that I am a keen follower of high pitch drama shows but they have to be rich in sensibility, emoted in a right manner.