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Sequels in television is extremely challenging: Sunjoy Waddhwa

Television producer Sunjoy Waddhwa on crafting successful sequels for the small screen.

Published: April 11, 2014 10:20:54 am
A still from the serial, 'Is Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon'. A still from the serial, ‘Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon’.

The changing palate of Indian audience is gradually resulting in a change in the television industry. Indian viewers are becoming receptive to the concept of short span-serials with sequels, which earlier existed only in the West.

Interestingly, the most talked about TV shows might not necessarily be the ones with the highest rankings, rather these shows are huge on social media sites where they spur conversation and have passionate fans. These kind of shows are perfect for sequels. Since the viewers are already so invested, a sequel makes sense for everyone — the viewers, the channels and the producers.

Sequels are proving to be a hit formula in movies where one-time viewing proves sufficient but for TV, the process is extremely challenging. Viewers may watch the first couple of episodes for curiosity but will stop if there is no quality content in terms of good storytelling, strong characters, performance-oriented actors and consistency in delivering the product.

We were conscious of all this when we planned the sequel to the hugely popular Star Plus show ‘Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?’ The original was a star-crossed love story and presented an interesting contrast of personalities with diametrically opposite ideologies. We started receiving hysteric feedback from fans when the show came to an end. The popularity of this series and the chemistry of the main leads was huge. After experiencing the huge demand and popularity of the series, the channel decided to bring back its iconic narration for the viewers. The new edition is titled ‘Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon-Ek Baar Phir’.

The second season of the show made a mark in the television industry by creating a marginal increase in the TVT numbers from 1,394 to 2,612 for the time slot 6 pm, which otherwise has been a dominant territory of repeat telecasts. Nowadays the definition of a prime time slot has changed. Earlier prime time was between 9 pm and 11 pm. Now a show gets a slot depending on competition analysis and market research.

Popular daily soaps can be revived if the makers of the show understand how to get the sequel right. Sequels could be character-driven or theme-driven but story is the most important factor. The audience expectations are also more in sequels. A second season means providing something different to the viewers and not letting it become monotonous. The story might be completely different as compared to the predecessor or it can continue to have the elements of the original story with same characters and settings, but it has to be interesting.

On TV today, there is a huge potential to create new viewing qualities. If we want new viewers, then we have to reshuffle the deck and bring new ideas and strategies to the fore, which will have a lasting influence in the industry. Crafting good sequels is a way to go about it.

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