Mythologicals look back to a bright future

13 Sep,2011

By Dhara Salla

In the general entertainment channels (GEC) space the race is continuously on to provide differentiated content. While reality shows and new storylines are in great demand, mythology too is back in the reckoning. This time around it’s a blend of mythology and history  no longer just about Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. Jhansi ki Rani on Zee TV can perhaps be credited with redefining the genre.


Among the shows that feature among the top 100 quite regularly (though not at very high positions) are Shobha Somnath Ki, Chandragupta Maurya, Shani Shingnapur and Dwarkadeesh Bhagwan Shree Krishna. However, Sahara One’s Kahani Chandrakanta Ki, Jai Jai Bajrang Bali and Ganesh Leela are not on the list of the top 100 shows. The latest one to hit television is Veer Shivaji on Colors. Though not high-ranking, many of these shows are, in fact, in prime time slots.


One of the major reasons for their resurgence is their simplified avatar. Explained Ms Mona Jain, CEO, Vivaki Exchange, These are well produced and stories are told in a modern way, in simple language. They are made interesting and dramatic. They are riveting, and well scripted and edited to hold viewers interest. The ones you see these days are about strong characters who are known but their stories have never been put on screen these have new value and are of fresh interest for viewers.


Ms Surbhi Murthy, Associate Vice President, Allied Media reasoned, I agree that the numbers are not very high but they do attract audiences. I can say it is appointment viewership. These shows are fairly new, and they will start getting the numbers in some time.


Even if the numbers are low, the channels are ready to take the risk and carry them, said Ms Murthy, adding, The audiences are totally in the experimental phase and so are the channels. The channels don’t want their audiences to get bored.


Mythology has certainly returned to the Hindi GEC arena, as Ms Sushma Zaveri, COO Madison Media Infinity confirmed, Indeed there is a return of the trend of mythology. The good part is that it is also historical costume dramas and not just religious myths.


An interesting observation here is that content of these serials is aspirational and one does not really have to weave a story but present already existing content in a captivating manner. Mr Ajay Rao, Vice President, Dentsu, said, You could put it down as content-mining from culture. With the strong affinity that Indians have for mythological stories as evidenced by the successes of Mahabharata and Ramayana, it was only a matter of time before channels started delving deeper for more.


The reasons for this resurgence can be attributed to a number of factors. Myth does attract a certain segment of people and builds loyal viewers for the channel. To quote Ms Murthy, If you observe the stories of these mythological shows, they give a perfect plot, drama, action, love and a heavy dose of masala. The glamour of the era that has gone by and the canvas on which these are made are so much fantasy-like, that we Indians, like to watch such stories. We like to see such larger-than-life characters. Secondly it is a very refreshing change. It’s different from the usual saas-bahu drama, and the overly decked up women with male dummies. There is a sense of authenticity attached to such shows.


Interestingly, these shows are also good family viewing, as kids too have caught onto the serials like Jhansi ki Rani and their parents do not mind them sitting in front of the TV.


Lot of parents encourage kids to watch them given that these stories are steeped in our culture and values, and are clean, remarked Ms Zaveri.


However, observers believe that whether these shows gain in popularity would depend largely on how captivating the storytelling is. In most cases newness would have to be brought in the execution, as there is not much room for imaginative content in such shows. Stated Ms Jain, Mythological/historical shows will do well if the story is well told and has some relevance. Content and scale of production is most important.


As for marketers advertising on these shows, with their increasing popularity more and more brands are coming forward to be associated with them. Ms Sejal Shah, Vice President, West/South, VivaKi Exchange said, All family-related product categories like FMCG, consumer durables and telecom would associate themselves with these shows. Most of our brands from these categories are present here. Besides this, children’s brands, incense sticks and the brands that focus on the tier 2 and tier 3 regions also look at mythology as an option. As of now, none of our brands are with the mythological shows. But maybe we would go to Colors for one of our brands, revealed Ms Murthy.


And why not? The unanimous belief is that it indeed is a growing trend, with a future that looks positive. Twenty percent of content in the future should be in this genre, forecast Mr Rao.


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  3. Divyashetty says:

    this is a a super it show!!!!!!!!!!!!!! cool!!! bravo!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Rakesh Patel says:

    Nicely written!

  5. Anil Sharma says:

    Good work, Dhara…….
    All the best…& keep writing.
    Your’s Sharmaji 🙂