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Monday, January 24, 2022

The good, bad and ugly of Indian television in 2021

2021 taught TV industry's resilience as they fought the second wave of Covid-19, created newer concepts and brought out retreads. As many got married and welcomed kids, a few celebs stepped off the stage forever.

Written by Sana Farzeen | Mumbai |
Updated: December 31, 2021 11:12:51 am
good bad ungly of tv 2021Here's all that happened in the television world in 2021.

The year 2021 has been comparatively uneventful for the television industry. Last year, with the pandemic bringing the industry to a halt for more than four months, show makers went all out this year to attract and retain audiences. This year also saw a lot of personal celebrations. From popular celebs tying the knot to a few welcoming little ones to their homes, there was a sense of joy all around. And while there were moments of happiness, a few shocking demises in the industry also left the world shocked. As we await to embrace the new year, here’s looking back at the good, bad and ugly of Indian television.

The show must go on

The biggest highlight of this year was how the industry managed to deal with the second wave. Already having faced massive losses last year, makers were sure what may come, they will not halt production. They decided to pack the entire cast and crew and moved them to isolated locations for shoot. While some picked the villas at Goa, others moved to spots on the outskirts of Maharashtra while a few shows picked up less-populated cities to continue filming. Overnight, storylines were changed to fit in the new locations. And towards the end of the tragic second wave, the television industry emerged victorious in their fight.

Indian Idol

While singing reality shows have always been a favourite among television audience, Indian Idol created history. With the show doing well in terms of ratings, makers kept pushing the finale. The 12th season was a yearlong musical festival. Every weekend, the talented lot (probably the best in recent times) enthralled fans with their performances. And while the length of the show may have broken many records, for the first time, a reality show aired a 12-hour long grand finale. Choosing a special date — August 15, starting noon, the ‘Greatest Finale Ever‘ saw Pawandeep Rajan win the trophy at the strike of midnight. The reality show was also much in talks for its various controversies. Be it Kishore Kumar’s son Amit Kumar criticising the contestants, to fans complaining about portraying a fake romance between Pawandeep and Arunita Kanjilal. Many singers like Sonu Nigam and Abhijeet Sawant also said how ‘reality shows are no more real’ and TRPs have taken over the real talent.


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A post shared by Pawandeep Rajan (@pawandeeprajan)



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A post shared by Ranveer Singh (@ranveersingh)


Big little stars

Talking about reality shows, this year Bollywood star Ranveer Singh made his television debut with The Big Picture. Currently riding high on the success of 83, the actor may not be doing wonders as a host but he did get love from fans for his small screen debut. If sources are to be believed, the channel has already signed him for another season. Other than him, his Ladies vs Ricky Bahl co-star Parineeti Chopra also announced her arrival to the idiot box. The actor will join Karan Johar and Mithun Chakraborty to judge Hunarbaaz on Colors.

Women on top

As for fiction, while Kundali Bhagya and Kumkum Bhagya continued to rake in big numbers, Anupamaa on Star Plus also became quite talked about. The story of a middle-aged woman going through a divorce and then struggling to create her own identity became a surprise success. Recently, with the makers kickstarting Anupamaa’s love story post her separation, fans have been rooting for her and the channel couldn’t be happier with the rising TRPs.

Baby, baby

On the personal front, while the first half saw Nakuul Mehta-Janki Parekh, Anita Hassanandi-Rohit Reddy, Kapil Sharma-Ginni Chatrath, Mohit Malik-Addite Malik and Anirudh Dave-Shubhi Ahuja welcoming new additions to their family. And as the year was about to end, Bharti Singh also announced that she is expecting her first child with husband Haarsh Limbachiyaa next year. The comedienne, this year was also under the limelight after she managed to lose oodles of weight. Flaunting her fitter avatar, Bharti had shared how intermittent fasting helped her shed off more than 15 kgs.

Band, baaja, baraat

Coming to weddings, while the first half didn’t see any band bajaa, Rahul Vaidya and Disha Parmar tied the knot on July 16. However, in the last three months, Shraddha Arya-Rahul Nagal, Neil Bhatt- Aishwarya Sharma, Ankita Lokhande-Vicky Jain, Sanjay Gagnani-Poonam Preet, Kapil Arya-Gurpreet Bedi, Sayantani Ghosh-Anugrah Tiwari, and Shireen Mirza-Hasan Sartaj got married.



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A post shared by Kapil Sharma (@kapilsharma)


Old wine, new bottle

Even though new stories were written off-screen, on-screen, the same kind of stories continued to be made. Be it the ‘rural angle’ or the ‘foe-turned-lover’ track, most television shows looked rip-off of each other. And if this wasn’t enough, this year we also saw quite a number of retreads. From Sasural Simar Ka, Balika Vadhu to Thapki and Sasural Genda Phool, the audience was given the same toffee in a new wrapper. While on the web, fans usually await for new seasons as the story progresses, on television that’s clearly not the case. Getting a fresh cast may get traction in the initial days but given the success of its predecessor, these shows clearly did not manage to recreate the magic.

Sob stories to the rescue

Also, while Bigg Boss 15 continued to be all about fights this season, other reality shows also thrived over contestants’ sob stories. Be it Ranveer Singh getting emotional about a young boy trying to pay off his family debt, or how Amitabh Bachchan helping a contestant reunite with her parents after she married against their wishes, non-fiction shows continued to earn ratings thanks to all the emotional drama. Bigg Boss 15 failed to create a buzz despite some big faces as its contestants.

Controversies galore

This year also saw many celebrities getting embroiled in controversy. First, it was Taarak Mehta Ooltah Chashmah’s Munmun Dutta aka, Babita, who used a derogatory term in one of her vlogs. The same case happened with Yuvika Chaudhary. Even though numerous FIRs were filed against them, the actors managed to escape the wrath of the general public by apologising to everyone. Raghav Juyal also found himself in hot waters after an old clip from Dance Deewane, where he talks in gibberish Chinese with a contestant from Assam, went viral. The host apologised unconditionally.

In memoriam

2021 emerged as a tough year as we bid goodbye to famous faces Sidharth Shukla‘s untimely death from a heart attack in September left fans heartbroken. Surekha Sikri, Ghanshyam Nayak and Anupam Shyam also passed away due to illness. A few actors like Bikramjeet Kanwarpal, Yusuf Hussain, Madhavi Gogate and Rahul Vora fell prey to the deadly coronavirus while Amit Mistry and Arvind Trivedi died of heart attacks and Manisha Yadav from a brain haemorrhage. Actors like Asif Basra, Sandeep Nahar and Brahma Mishra died by suicide.

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