Top 5 “Gamechangers” on Hindi GECs in 2016

23 Dec,2016

 

By Shailesh Kapoor

 

This Top 5 yearender piece has been a regular feature on this column since 2013. (Links to previous articles: 2015, 2014, 2013). However, there has been one important change since 2015. The word “gamechanger” seemed too liberal to use for the 2015 list, and needed the quotation marks around it to qualify the liberal usage. I had secretly hoped at that time that this qualifier won’t be required at the end of 2016. But no such luck.

 

It has been a fairly uninspiring year on the content front, and hence game-changers continues to be a liberal word to use. That being qualified, here’s the list of the five Hindi GEC shows that stood out this year, for the impact they managed to have on the category:

5.  Diya Aur Baati Hum

The Star Plus show features in this list for one specific reason – Star Plus’ bold move to end the show this year. Diya Aur Baati Hum wrapped up on September 10, after a five-year run that saw a glorious period of at least three years. Like many other shows, the channel could have dragged this one for another 2-3 years, even more. It would have understandably been a tough call to take. But wisdom prevailed. Colors’ Balika Vadhu also ended this year, after an eight-year run. Hope there’s a trend being set here, slowly but surely.

 

4.  Kumkum Bhagya

Kumkum Bhagya finished two years in April (though it seems like it has been on-air for ages). Through the year, the show single-handedly kept Zee TV afloat, even as the channel struggled to retain its No. 3 spot in the second half of the year. There’s a certain storytelling style that Balaji Telefilms has mastered, and Kumkum Bhagya’s consistent performance is yet another outcome of that.

 

3. Naagin & Naagin 2

Naagin had topped this list at the end of 2015. The first season ended on a high in June, and the second season has worked equally well since its October launch. Treated like a true sequel, with characters and story being taken forward 25 years from where the first season ended, Naagin 2 continued to rely upon the tropes that worked for the first season – dramatic storytelling, glamorous cast, deft special effects (at least by Indian television standards) and most importantly, a sense of urgency and pace that’s unmatched in the category by far.

 

2. Shakti

This post-IPL launch on Colors had one of the more intriguing campaigns in recent times, playing on a “sach” that would eventually be revealed several weeks later. With a eunuch (kinnar) as its lead protagonist, Shakti managed to create differentiation with social relevance. That, combined with smart storytelling that made the most of every dramatic moment, ensured that Shakti quickly rose to the top of the GEC fiction charts, in turn helping Colors usurp Star Plus at the No. 1 position, especially with Naagin also on-air.

 

Will Shakti have an extended run over 2017-18? Only time will tell. But in a year of lacklustre weekday fiction launches, Shakti stood out as a genuine exception.

1. The Kapil Sharma Show

He had ruled the weekends for more than two years before parting ways with Colors. Yet, when he made a comeback with The Kapil Sharma Show on Sony in April this year, there was much scepticism about how the show would fare. There would be format fatigue after all, and Comedy Nights With Kapil didn’t exactly end on a high on Colors.

 

But those fears, as it turned out, were unfounded. The Kapil Sharma Show grew from strength to strength during the year, acquiring the same cult status, if not even higher, that the predecessor show on Colors enjoyed. That Kapil Sharma did not have a feature film distraction during this year helped. As did the superbly conceived and performed character of Dr Mashoor Gulati.

 

The Kapil Sharma Show took Sony to the No. 3 spot by the last quarter of the year. And unless Sharma messes it up with another feature film roadblock, 2017 is set to be a big year for this show.

 

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