From RRR to TRAI… Five Wishes From 2023

06 Jan,2023



By Shailesh Kapoor


Shailesh KapoorIt’s a new year, and that’s a legit reason to be excited about what one can expect in the year ahead. Here are five things, in no particular order, related to the Indian M&E industry that I’m hoping to see, some of them only wishfully so, in the new year.


1. RRR at the Oscars

An Indian film being nominated in the main Best Picture category at the Academy Awards is an exciting thought. It’s never happened before, and there’s more than a decent chance that RRR may be the first. The film also hopes to be nominated in some other categories, especially Best Original Song (Naatu Naatu). I’m eagerly looking forward to January 24, when the nominations will be announced.


2. Box-office revival of Hindi cinema

2022 has been a tumultuous year for Hindi cinema at the box-office, with collections dropping by almost 30% compared to the pre-pandemic year 2019. Other major Indian languages, especially the South ones, have grown or stayed stable, and the overall India box-office has done quite well in 2022, which is only the second year after 2019 to have grossed more than ₹10,000 crore across languages put together. If Hindi cinema is back on its feet in 2023, starting with Pathaan in January, it is almost certain that 2023 will be the biggest-ever year for the Indian box-office.


3. Better non-scripted content

After all the exciting developments in the decade of 2000-2009, which saw the import of several international formats and creation of a few homegrown ones, non-scripted content on Indian television, and now streaming, has lost its innovative streak. Even the true crime genre, that saw Crime Patrol, and later Savdhaan India, create a category of their own, is languishing. Shark Tank India (Sony) and Indian Predator (Netflix) have come as beacons of hope. But they stand out more as aberrations, because the streamers are obsessed with fiction, and television is happy launching new seasons of their long-running international formats. It won’t be an over-statement to say that along with comedy, non-scripted content is currently the most under-served category in mainstream entertainment in India. Hope 2023 changes that, at least to some extent.


4. Reboot of Indian television news

I’m now entering wishful territory, by hoping that 2023 can see rejuvenation of Indian TV news. It’s not a realistic wish given the timing of the recent change-of-ownership at NDTV. Indian television news has slowly but surely acquired a spoof-ish imagery, and even though mass audiences continue to watch it, that’s more a testimony to the reach of television in India, than the quality of the content our news channels are dishing out. One would have used the phrase ‘trash television’ for it, but Indian TV news content is often purposefully idiotic or divisive. The good old days of UFOs lifting cows up from the fields suddenly seem quite acceptable, when you compare it to the communal ideas being spread through the news on primetime every night. While digital news platforms attempt to make a difference, they currently don’t have the reach and the budgets to make the larger national impact.


5. TRAI exits the television business

This is that joke wish, the kind that a media website can run as a Fool’s Day headline. It’s not going to happen (at least not in 2023), but nothing will make me, and the entire television industry, happier than seeing TRAI’s incessant meddling, which has damaged the business in more ways than one can imagine, stop in 2023.


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