Rude shock for producers and performers

13 Apr,2012

By Kshama Rao

 

Producers woke up to a rude shock on Thursday  to the news of Imagine shutting shop. If IPL wasn’t enough, then the closing down of a TV channel meant further doom for the producers.

 

JD Majethia

Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific Inc. (Turner) dashed off a letter that to the producers and the media about Imagine being wound up with immediate effect, so much so that shootings had to be abruptly cancelled on Thursday as the TV giant didn’t want the channel to spend on even one day of shooting!

 

While the industry is still reeling from the news, the worst affected are the producers whose shows were running on the channel. Rajan Shahi, who had launched Jamuna Paar on Imagine just a little over a month ago, refused to comment: “It would be too premature”. Other producers like Siddharth Tewary, the Sagars who had Chandragupta Maurya and Dwarkadheesh running on primetime were incommunicado as they grappled with the sudden turn of events.

 

JD Majethia had launched two shows, Jassuben Jayantilal Ki Joint Family and Ek Packet Umeed four years ago (on January 21, 2008) when former Star TV honcho Sameer Nair had spearheaded NDTV Imagine amidst much fanfare. He said: “It’s sad and shocking. It was a channel, which with the entry of Vivek Behl at the helm of things, looked poised for bigger things, a turnaround but that was not to be. It’s a huge setback for producers and for those who work on a per day basis. A daily show means a minimum of 100 people associated with it in various capacities and with Imagine closing down, it spells doom for them. All that talent and labour goes down the drain. It’s a loss of about Rs200 crore worth of yearly business for Imagine and the industry on the whole.”

 

Mr Majethia said that it was the channel’s “unclear philosophy” that did it in. When they started out, the mantra they had adopted was positive, light hearted, happy programming but then Colors launched with its emphasis on “high drama” and Imagine started floundering. The channel lost its focus, couldn’t make shows that could connect with the masses and hence lost the plot. “But as I said, things had begun to look up with the entry of Vivek,” he added.

 

Another producer, on the condition of anonymity, who had worked for Imagine said it was the haphazard way of doing things and not following a clear brief that cut the Imagine story short.

 

Veteran producer Dheeraj Kumar of Creative Eye Productions however played down the whole thing. His show Sawaare Sabke Sapne Preeto which was launched a year back was going strong and he said: “Just like how you get surprises in life, this too was a surprise for us. I wouldn’t call it a shock. I guess these things happen. You think, Turner wouldn’t have thought before taking this decision. Yes, it was overnight and could have done a bit smoothly with advance intimation but it’s alright, I have no complaints as we have had a good creative collaboration with them. Personally, I am not worried about my workers because we are a big production company and they would be absorbed in some or the other project. I am hopeful that Turner with its huge umbrella of channels would give us a chance of providing content to them. I am optimistic.”

 

Aasiya Qazi, an actress who made a debut with Ekta Kapoor’s Bandini which ran for over a year and followed it with Deeya and Tony Singh’s Dharam Patni that was pulled off air in January is “shocked”. “It was the channel that gave me a chance to start in this industry. It gave me two shows, so yes, I am definitely shocked. I don’t know what happened and whoever I have spoken to are equally clueless. I didn’t even know why Dharam Patni was pulled off air abruptly a couple of months back. I feel sad for the artistes and the crew of the new shows like Jamuna Paar that had gone on air a couple of months ago. It’s demoralising for them,” she says.

 

Vishal Karwal, who plays the title role of Dwarkadheesh in the Sagars’ ambitious mythological on Lord Krishna, is both “happy and sad. I was happy because I wanted to come back to Mumbai. I have been shooting inBarodafor the show from Mondays to Fridays and it had begun to get to me. I was in talks with the producers to let me go to Mumbai. I am sad for the workers whose bread and butter depend on these daily shows. They don’t earn more than Rs10-15,000 a month where as for actors like us, we can still survive.”

 

He terms the sudden development as “unprofessional and devoid of professional ethics. The channel hasn’t been doing well for a while now and even the new channel Life OK overtook it in the numbers game.”

 

Sources in the industry said the producers whose shows were largely affected won’t comment on this considering their dues are yet to be cleared. Worst hit are the Sagars whose two shows, both mythologicals and lavish productions, Dwarkadheesh and Chandragupta Maurya and others like Shahi who had barely launched a new show with a massive set.

 

A source said: “One wrong word in the media and they run the risk of not getting their dues. They have already been hit badly so any press statement could jeopardise their equation with the channel.”

 

So it’s wait and watch for now.

 

Kshama Rao is a senior journalist tracking the television trade for over 15 years.

Post a Comment 
  • Guest

    Just wondering WHY Vivek Bahl is reffered as VIKAS BAHL??? Please get the names right

  • Dr Pkalia

    let some channel take up chandra gupta maurya

  • Dr Pkalia

    let some channel take up chandra gupta maurya

  • Dr Pkalia

    let some channel take up chandra gupta maurya

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