It's Homeland, 24 versus CID, and the winner is Indian TV
When I was little, we had a Bush TV, which was essentially made from recycled scrap metal held together with spit and Fusen gum, fitted with a knob that we turned to play one of eight channels, and another that you could use to communicate with Jadoo.
On that TV, I watched classics like He-Man, Mahabharat and that Pan Parag ad, which enabled me to have the “Ek se mera kya hoga? Toh aap do lijiye!” conversation to proposition random strangers into a threes... KIDDING. I meant to get more kaju katli out of relative-type people named Jaswandi during Diwali. That's what I meant. Promise.
Yesterday, I watched the last three episodes of the third season of Homeland in simulated 3D at home. I’d recorded them from Star World Premiere HD on my T-Rex-sized TV, and had to simply take a moment to stop and admire just how far we have come and how much closer we are to realizing my dream – real life, like it was on The Jetsons.
More importantly, I realized just how incredible it is to have a channel like Star World Premiere thrown into our entertainment mix. An Indian channel that airs latest episodes of some truly well-loved American shows, sometimes even before we know that they’re out? Kuch bhi, I’d have said, a year ago. Now, I’m hooked and intrigued, because we’re standing on the cusp of a sea change in the Indian television industry.
Another interesting contributor to this change is Anil Kapoor’s 24 – a bonafide version of a hit American show that hasn’t cut corners in any aspect. It has a stellar cast, a crew formed of India’s best upcoming talent and the faith of a channel that has taken a few risks in the past, like allowing shows that don’t start with K to air on the channel. (Rumour: Colors to launch Smalll Boss – the kiddie version of Bigg Boss where you put a bunch of kids in a playgroup and wait to see how much time it takes for them to start kicking the bejesus out of each other.)
With channels like Premiere and shows like 24, I see something that was till now hidden behind the heavily brocaded-sarees and loud makeup of our saas-bahu brigade – a glimmer of hope for TV.
Premiere plans to target the 1.5 million homes with DTH penetration and at 60 rupees per monthly subscription (plus ad revenue), that looks like a sound business plan even with the high acquisition costs for international shows. And by sound, I mean ka-ching! For instance, 24 is reaching out to an audience that secretly hungered for better stuff to watch, like my mom who gave up an important Marathi show (Keeping up with the Kulkarnis) to accommodate Anil Kapoor’s espionage drama in her schedule, and follows it with the eagerness of a Sanjay Gupta poring over phoren DVDs. The ratings for 24 may be lukewarm — you can’t beat CID as long as they have Sabu/Daya — but its effect will be far-reaching.
Updated Date: Nov 05, 2013 16:29:47 IST