Perspective | Why crime shows dominating the weekend programming...?

If one were to look at the whole scenario in terms of television shows in our country, it’s obvious that crime shows seem to have garnered a lot of eyeballs these days. There is ‘Shaitaan’ on Colors, ‘Savdhaan India’ on Life OK and ‘Crime Patrol’ & ‘CID’ on Sony and ‘Gumraah’ on Channel V. Until recently crime came under the purview of news channels but off late the Hindi GEC space has adopted the trend to garner more TRPS. Is it true? Indeed it seems to be making a noise for the Indian audience can’t seem to get enough of it and the TRP speaks it all.

The thin line between reality and drama seems to have been blurred by the introduction of crime shows on GECs. Despite these crime shows depicting true happenings, the documentation often seems over the top and gory. Despite the true ringing rationale words by the show host, the audience is often compelled to think otherwise. More often they don’t seem to offer a solution but a new problem that is the idea of a perfect crime learnt from these shows.

Adgully had earlier discussed the topic about the rising crime shows in the Hindi GECs space and their impact on society. It once again broaches the topic to examine the increasing popularity of such shows. Adgully spoke to industry experts to understand their views and it also surveyed the impact of these shows in various spheres. It has planned a three part feature on crime to evaluate the different views on the subject by GECs, the news channels, the common man and the youths of today.

In this first part, we spoke to industry experts so as to understand the core criteria and perspective of taking such shows. Covered in this installments are veterans like Amar Upadhyay, Model & Actor; Siddharth Tewary, Creative Director & Writer, Swastik Pictures; Prashant Bhatt, Weekday Programming Head, Colors; Ajit Thakur, General Manager, Life OK and Prem Kamath, General Manager, Channel [v].

Amar Upadhyay was of the opinion that crime & action are two genres that have always worked around the world.  People love crime based show because there is some kind of reality element in it, as it’s all about what goes around us every day. People associate with it more. It’s interesting that people are doing well and we are getting good TRPs.

Speaking about the reason behind launching Gumraah, Prem Kamath says, “If we see Gumraah in the context of other shows with a similar premise, it's quite unique in the aspect of being real stories that have been contextualized and brought to life. There is no over dramatization or fiction within the major plot lines, it's all an adaptation of real life incidents. So in that sense, it's not really a crime show but a reflection of reality that the youth may face, either directly or through someone in their lives.”

Says Ajit Thakur says, “Our criterion at Life Ok is to cover topics which are of human concern. With Savdhaan India we showcase crime in altogether a different format. We want to create 

awareness among our audiences. We are not questioning our government or security services but we are just taking a step in terms of awareness.”

“Another unique aspect of the premise is that it's not about serial offenders but about the everyday youth and unfortunate circumstances that lead them to become victims or perpetrators of the crime in a moment of madness,” Prem Kamath adds.

Speaking about the impact, Prem Kamath said, “There is a growing social consciousness to address issues that have been swept aside as unimportant or without recourse. Teen crime is one such phenomenon, always thought of as a problem of the lesser privileged, when in fact it could be an occurrence in just about any person's life. The show aims to sensitize the youth and the adult world to such situations and ways that they can be avoided altogether.”

When asked are these shows in a way trivializing the crime, Ajit Thakur says, “No not at all. There are many people who don’t know what to do when something happens to them. We showcase how one can fight back against all the crime that happens to him/her. So the motive is quite clear that the show is meant to make the viewers understand how to fight back the crime.” 

Don’t you think it would give ideas to the criminals?

Prem Kamath replies, “One thing is for sure, Gumraah doesn’t glorify the crime or even show the juvenile to gain from the act of violence momentarily. It definitely doesn’t show any benefit from committing the crime. As for ideas, they are all around us; a twisted mind only needs an excuse.”

Says Siddharth Tewary, “As a writer I feel shows like Crime Patrol and others are making people aware and are based on the incidents that took place in our society.  There is not much of scripting involved in these shows and it gives a positive message."

Ajit Thakur feels that such shows are designed to create awareness and not to give ideas and since it is portrayed in a way that crime is always punished. So there is no scope of generating ideas from any episode.

When asked GEC’s are meant to entertain but do such shows actually entertain viewers, Prem Kamath says, “It definitely entertains in an unconventional manner. The key is that it presents a previously known premise in a completely different light. It shows kids from everyday homes falling into situations that will change their lives in a split second. There's no melodrama around it, just the truth presented in a stark light. Undoubtedly, it's gripping and an eye opener to some extent that leaves viewer wanting to watch the complete story.”

Opines Prashant Bhatt, "I feel these kinds of show are must and yes they are doing well. Audiences are relating themselves with it as it showcases prevalent issues in our society and how we should protect ourselves. It doesn't have the negativism but more of positivism, and learning experience for viewers. They get aware and know how to avoid problems."

Well, looking at all the view points of the industry veterans, it’s quite understood and clear that these shows are meant for entertainment only. Though this write-up is just an introduction to our three part series. Therefore we at Adgully cannot conclude as to what and how the industry thinks and viewers take out of such shows. | Aanchal Kohli [aanchal(at)adgully.com]

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