Perspective | Classic literary work is the new 'go-to' place for Hindi GECs
Most of the plots, concepts and story lines that we see today in films and fiction shows on television seem familiar and have a sense of déjà vu to it. To what could we attribute this occurrence? It is primarily because we may have heard these stories in the past, the source being our elders or through books that we may have read in our childhood.
When we talk about films, there are different methods of narrating the story, even by deploying great visuals and characters; and if one may observe, a similar trend is seen in the television space too. The concept of extracting from literary works and creating content for television is not new; it has been prevalent since the late 80’s when we had shows like Malgudi Days, Katha Sagar, Discovery of India, Tales of Chacha Choudhary and others that were aired on Doordarshan. Those were the days when literature - based shows were a huge success. Moreover well-read viewers could associate with the show better. Most writers of television shows who understood the importance of literary works which are laden with originality and richness used it to keep the essence of literature alive. The same can be said of the mythological genre such as Ramayan, Mahabharat, Maharana Pratap, Prithviraj Chauhan and others which are being brought alive to entertain audiences. And we now see a resurgence of that trend!
To understand the reason behind adapting literary works into the show format, and how they are accepted by viewers, Adgully spoke to media experts Prashant Bhatt, Weekday Programming Head, Colors, Ajay Bhalwankar, Content Head, Hindi GECs ZEEL, JD Majethia, Producer, Hats Off Productions and Shashi Mittal, Shashi –Sumeet Mittal Productions who shared their insights with us on the same.
We have observed how new shows have roped in the idea of adaptations and experimented with it in different genres. Today on television screens, we have countless shows which are following the trend. To name a few, Taarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashmah on SAB TV is based on literary works of known Gujarati columnist and playwright Taarak Mehta, Lapataganj is based on Sharad Joshi’s short stories which made a comeback with a second season. Ongoing show Saraswatichandra on STAR plus has been adapted from the works of Govardhanram Tripathi’s novel and the recently launched Bh Se Bhade on Zee TV is based on VP Kale's short story. Life OK too launched Tumhari Paakhi, which has been adapted from Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel Navabidhan.
Sharing his views on the matter Bhatt said, "I feel it's a combination of both; as wesearch for new content and when we get content from novels which has already touched the sentiments of readers then why not that story. It also creates loads of awareness in viewers about the story, and yes audiences today are ready for the new kind of concept which is produced specially for them."
Whereas Bhalwankar opines, "Acquiring content from a novel and then adapting it into television format is a very tough task as it is based upon someone's work. I cannot say that there is a dearth of fresh ideas or it is a trend now to adapt, but yes this concept is picking up well on television."
"Picking up content from literature is taking a huge step but most importantly you should have that much strength and capability to do it well and justify the concept in a right way. Giving justice to the works of writers is very important," expressed, Majethia, whose ongoing show on Zee Bh Se Bhade is based on VP Kale's short story.
Mittal sharing her insights said," Adapting from a novel is a difficult task, the reason being that every reader has his/her own interpretation of a literary work. Then to create it in a show format which connects with its viewers in the right context is a challenge." Her current show Tumhari Pakhi too has been inspired by the novel Navabidhan.
It goes without saying that shows based on novels, books and short stories have already created their space on television screens and have acquired a large fan base too. All said and done; just adapting from literary works is not enough but remaining true to the original and not deviating from the basic plot and consequently acceptance of the shows by audiences who are the best judges of the established works is what counts!