Soap queen Ekta Kapoor ruled the television screens for over a decade with women-oriented shows like ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’, ‘Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki’ and more. These shows slowly became a part of viewers’ life before Kapoor shifted focus to movies. It now seems that the queen bee is back on TV, and is launching different shows catering to the changing palette of the audiences.
In today’s competitive space, it is indeed a delight to see the young producer praise competitors and their content. Known to be a hard taskmaster, Kapoor has been lately singing praises of the Shashi-Sumeet produced ‘Diya Aur Baati Hum’ airing currently on Star Plus.
Ekta Kapoor Speaking to TelevisionPost.com, Kapoor said, “New viewers are coming in but old viewers, who make up about 70 per cent of the viewer population, want something new. One of my friends told me, what he used to see as a husband-wife story on television was non-relatable as he and his wife work. Today, when they make a couple on TV, both are working, the issues are different. That’s why a ‘Diya Aur Baati’ is so relatable because a woman today in a small town wants to make her own name, work and at the same time make a family. So her dichotomy comes out very well through that show.”
The show narrates the story of Sandhya’s struggles as she dreams of becoming an IPS officer, thus breaking the boundaries of her confined middle-class life. However, she is forced to marry under strained circumstances and is not able to finish her graduation. She also has to deal with a strict mother-in-law. But her husband becomes her strength and helps her to fulfil her dream.
To compete with ‘Diya Aur Baati Hum’, Kapoor recently launched ‘Kumkum Bhagya’ on Zee TV.
Revealing her competitive spirit in an earlier interaction with TelevisionPost.com, she had said, “I don’t watch much TV as I get very competitive, but I am always asking around what is happening in each show. I see that there is a conscious effort in shows like ‘Diya Aur Baati Hum’ and ‘Saathiya’ to show women in strong light. And somewhere it’s a very subtle but strong way of putting a point across.”
In the early 2000s, television was governed by a majority of shows from Balaji Telefilms. With viewer demand and content being at a different stage, the female protagonists in her show were shown living in a joint family and standing up for her own rights, dealing with the daily struggles and yet managing a household together.
The shows connected with the audiences instantly and their popularity soared. In fact, very recently, in another context, Star India CEO Uday Shankar cited the example of Smriti Irani, the protagonist of Kapoor’s ‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’, as a strong independent woman who influenced many to be the driver of change in society.
But television has come a long way since then. With over 125 million TV homes now, there is polarisation creating multiple choices for audiences, Kapoor stated.
“I may not agree to watch a ‘Diya Aur Baati’ as it’s not my type, but at the same time I might want to watch a ‘Qubool Hai’ as I am from a different background. For me, the young romances work. Or I might want to watch ‘Diya…’, because tomorrow as a viewer I might feel very attached to the issue. So once there are choices, you have to snatch even those 5 TRPs from someone else,” she said.
Trying not to miss out on even the 5 TRPs, she is doing a lot of eclectic television now. So, while there is a nuclear family show ‘Ye Hai Mohabbatein’ on Star Plus, there are an older romance with ‘Bade Ache Lagte Hai’ on Sony, a historic show ‘Jodha Akbar’ on Zee TV, and the soon-to-be-launched Gujarati family love story ‘Meri Aashiqui Tum Se Hi’ on Colors.