With female protagonists ruling the roost in television serials for a long time, television and film director, RAVINDRA GAUTAM analyses the sudden shift as heroes step into the spotlight. While many film-makers have tried their hand at cinema that featured women in a prominent role, last year such stories had greater resonance with the industry when woman-centric films like Queen and Mary Kom were not only made, but also fared well at the box-office. The Hindi entertainment space on the small medium seems to be opening up to a similar change as well. The medium, which has long been perceived as the best source of entertainment for the female audience, is on an evolutionary path.
The reason for the change can be attributed to many things; the foremost being the saturation that seeped in because of similar content being repeated. The success of one idea on one channel led to similar content across other channels. But too much of anything is bad after all! There was an excess of female-oriented dramas. It was time to look ahead to newer concepts. And that is when shows like Yudh, 24, Pukaar and Mahakumbh, among others, were born.
But having said that, while the experiment with women-centric subject in films have worked, on television, we still have to see the male-centric shows create the same effect. While the producers and broadcasters are more receptive to such experiment, it’s unfortunate that very few shows have been successful. Shows with strong, male characters have been unable to succeed as compared with a strong female protagonist. The one I can recall is Madhubala —ashow though named after the female protagonist, was more about the hero, R.K.
But the reason for male-oriented shows not doing well can’t be completely attributed to the paucity of a good idea. The major logic behind it is that the audience base for Hindi entertainment shows are women, and thus anything that is different from the usual family dramas, get less eyeballs.
Men come home from work only after nine in the night, by which time half the shows are already aired. But then that’s the reason crime shows slotted at that time have done well. The other reason for the crime genre to work well is also that it’s crisp, has thrills and gets over in an episode or two.
The same, however, can’t be said about the historicals, which though revolve mostly around male heroes, suffer because of the way they are treated. Rather than sticking to History, the plots diverge and usuallya historical ends up in a family drama, again to satiate the appetite of the female audience.
There still seems to be hope as new ideas are taken into consideration. Sitcoms, a favourite of both the genders, are being planned across channels. Shows, which have a balance between male and female characters are also becoming the norm. For instance, my current show, Begusarai is very balanced with strong male characters, something like that in Gangs of Wasseypur, that will appeal to the male audiences as much as to the female viewers. There’s hope that like films, soon even television is set to witness a shift in preference.