Beyond the screen

How our stories touch people's lives

Since 1991, we have been telling stories that aim to inspire the imaginations of a billion Indians, leading the country into a better, more progressive future. We are able to do that because of the deep connection we share with our consumers, a connection we nurture by always working to understand what they love, what they dream of, and how our stories can help make their lives better. This connection is central to everything we do at Star, and it extends beyond the stories we show on the screen. Every day, we receive hundreds of calls, emails, tweets and posts from dedicated viewers, telling us how our stories affect their lives, discussing plot lines, offering suggestions, and rooting for their favourite characters to get more of the scriptwriters’ attention. Our Consumer Response Management team works around the clock, 7 days a week, to make sure that no suggestion, request or heartfelt story goes unanswered. “We are always connected with our consumers, engaging with them personally on a case to case basis,” says Shilpi Dubey Pathak of Consumer Response Management team. “We get close to over 100 emails and social mentions every day. Our average response time is less than three hours except for the escalated cases.”

 

“We are always connected with our consumers, engaging with them personally on a case to case basis.”
Shilpi Dubey Pathak, Lead - Consumer Response Management Team

Many of our viewers write in to tell us how our shows changed their perspectives on themselves and the world around them and helped them overcome social barriers and personal insecurities.

Last July, we received an email from a young girl named Shruti Ganesh, who is an ardent fan of our show Ishqbaaz. She spoke of how the romantic relationship between two characters - Soumya, a chubby but supremely confident girl, and Rudra, a fitness enthusiast - helped her accept her body image. “Soumya is very important to me because she has helped me personally to deal with my body image and made me realise I am beautiful the way I am.”

Another fan of Ishqbaaz wrote to us about how Gauri - one of the show’s protagonists - taught him that you shouldn’t let the lack of educational qualifications stop you from working towards your dreams. “Education is not the foremost, it’s self-respect and talent which takes you places,” they said. Other fans talk about how Gauri’s love interest Omkara’s fair and just outlook on life has helped them break the barriers of caste and class. Ishna, a viewer who never watched Hindi serials because she found them regressive, was so impressed by the progressive ethos of our show Rishton Ka Chakryavyuh, that she offered us suggestions on promoting the show so that everyone would watch it. “I used to curse Indian television shows however it has become a ritual for me to watch RKC now,” she writes. “I really want such content to be available to the masses because TV in a way shapes our thoughts because of its reach.”

“Our viewers are at the heart of what we do and our relationship with our consumers goes beyond that of entertainers and entertained. We are committed to connecting with them and their views, suggestion and requests are extremely important for us.”
Gayatri Yadav, President & Head – Consumer Strategy and Innovation

Adding a little sunshine to everyone’s day

Some of the happiest moments for our team is when they’re able to add a little happiness and sunshine to a consumer’s life. Such as when they helped a young bride-to-be find the perfect wedding dress - the same one worn by Gauri on Ishqbaaz - by putting her in touch with the designer who made the original. Or the time they dug deep into the archives to find a song that played during an episode of our show Dil Sambhaal Jaa Zara, just so a fan could make his girlfriend happy.

In November, we received an email from Mohan Rajasingam, telling us how a friend suffering from Motor Neurone Disease would look forward every day to our show Tamil Bigg Boss, which was one of the main sources of happiness in his last days. Rajasingam asked if they could send a video featuring one of the contestants to play at the friend’s funeral. “We sprung into action and got in touch with the Star Vijay team,” says Shilpi Dubey Pathak. “Their content team was very helpful and quickly worked out the messaging and it was sent to the deceased’s friend on time. This was surely a heart-wrenching experience for us.”

Thayalani N. Gomez, the mother of a boy suffering from autism, was always a big fan of Nakuul Mehta, who plays the character Shivaay Singh Oberoi on Ishqbaaz. She had written multiple letters to the team, sharing stories about her life and career, and connecting them to what she had learnt from the show. But when she wrote to us about how she used Mehta’s winning speech at the Asia Viewers Television Awards in London as part of her son’s speech therapy, the team decided to do something special in response. “I was overwhelmed with this fan story and so was Nakuul who wrote a personalised letter to our viewer, thanking her for her love and appreciation,” says Shilpi Dubey Pathak.

 

One of Star’s most loyal viewers is Kajal Sharma. She hasn’t let her physical limitations affect her enthusiasm for life and her determination to live out her dreams. A fan of the show Mayavi Maling, Kajal told us that she imagines herself to be Pari, while watching the show. She also invited the entire cast for an afternoon of lunch at her home in Delhi. We wanted to do something special for Kajal and requested her brother Parul to help us. A few months later, on July 4, Kajal and her family were on a plane to Mumbai to meet the cast of Mayavi Maling. And it was there that she received an even bigger surprise—she was going to a part of the show’s shooting. She quickly changed into her costume and shot her scenes with the confidence of a seasoned actor.

 

Shanaya Arora with the cast of Kulfi Kumar Bajewala

Another viewer who had developed a bond with a show is little Shanaya Arora. She has been watching Kulfi Kumar Bajewala since the first show and is a fan of the protagonist Kulfi. Her father, Sachin Arora, shared with us a video of his daughter singing the title track and informed us that she has been singing it every day since it was first telecast. So we arranged a meet-and-greet of the show’s cast with Sharanya who couldn’t believe she was meeting some of her favourite people.

And just when we thought we had met all our superfans, along came some who taught us the true meaning of privilege. She had been diagnosed with cancer and had only a couple of weeks to live. We received an email from her friend Shiv who told us about his friend. He also requested a soundtrack from Star World that his friend wanted to listen to. We immediately started working on making Shiv’s friend wish come true. As the requested soundtrack was last played 10 years ago, it was bit of a challenge to narrow down the ones that could be the closest match. With the help of the lyrics mentioned in the email, we finally arrived at two options and sent them across to Shiv. He wrote back later that the soundtrack had made her smile.

Stories like these remind us of how much our viewers trust, appreciate and love us, and inspire us to do more every day.

Imagine more
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