Ab TV pe Raj’asthan
Be it the interesting cultural milieu of the state, the colourful lifestyle of the people here or the presence of socially relevant stories like child marriage and dowry, Rajasthan is turning out to be the toast of TV At a time when channels are fielding one new serial after
the other to stay in the race of scoring higher TRPs, there is one formula that seems to be working for everyone – that of weaving a story around Rajasthan. Be it the vibrant culture of the state, the picturesque locals or even its so-called conservative social structure, anything Rajasthani is touching a chord in the viewers’ hearts, and the result is a host of serials based on the desert state.
“Rajasthan is very colourful, both in its culture and lifestyle and it offers a visual delight to the viewers,” says Saurabh Tewari, fiction head of a TV channel. Agrees Rajan Shahi, director of a new serial that’s set and has been extensively shot in Udaipur, “Compared to other states, Rajasthan still has the traditional lifestyle which is the basis of these small-town serials. Also, the colourful clothes and jewellery that’s worn by women of the state and portrayed through the characters on screen interest women viewers very much, which in turn leads to high TRPs.” Shivani Dasgupta, associate creative head of a production house that has rolled out a serial with Rajasthan as its milieu says that the multi-layered Rajasthani culture enlarges the scope of experimenting with the show, “The success of the serial primarily depends on the storyline and the characters – how true they are to real life – and Rajasthan has some really interesting stories to be told. Also, the backdrop of Rajasthani cities contribute to the overall appeal of the show even as one has the scope to play with colours and drapes.”
Interestingly, these soaps largely appeal to the audience in the metro cities who lead a fast paced life. Sampurn Anand, the scriptwriter of a famed TV show set against the backdrop of Rajasthan, explains, “The traditional tag helps Rajasthan score high in the race for TRPs. The urban audience enjoys watching the Indian festivals and traditions that are depicted through these serials. Most of them have reached a stage where they don’t follow the traditions and rituals any longer because of time constraints or other reasons, but love living them through these on-screen avatars.”
But it’s not just the colour that prods writers to use Rajasthan as a backdrop. Apparently, it’s also the presence of social evils in the state like child marriages, dowry and even sati that make for socially relevant screenplays. “Many of the evils that seem a thing of the past for people living in metro cities are still very much a reality in Rajasthan. And these stories can be said in an impactful manner through television,” says Anand. In fact, some of the shows set in Rajasthan are helping TV viewers to step out of kitchen politics and into the social arena, feel experts. “It’s the content … the heart wrecking story based on a social evil – child marriage for instance – that wins the heart of the audience,” says Poorva Satnani, the creative head of a series.