Sunday, September 26

Tired of virus talks, viewers turn to serials with scant pandemic mention

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Target rating points (TRP)s for new episodes of serials are out: while many megaserials have novel coronavirus pandemic in their storylines, six soaps that have made it to the top 10 chart have no or passing reference to Covid-19, indicating that viewers might want a break from the constant talks of the virus while watching television for entertainment.
Among the top 10 Bengali serials—as adjudged by the TRPs—two are based on history and mythology and so, the reference to pandemic is ruled out. Susanta Das, producer-writer of ‘Krishnakoli’, which turned out to be the most popular serial between June 13 and 19, said fatigue over corona news had set in. “In ‘Krishnakoli’, our protagonist, Mum, was poisoned and had to be hospitalized. She is not Covid-positive. Since the timing of the hospitalization is during pandemic, we had to have some reference to Covid-19,” Das said.

However, he is careful about not going overboard. “People don’t want to switch on entertainment television to watch grim realities. Serials are their escape route and if we dwell too much on the disease, it will make them sad,” he said. That’s why Jaba, central character of Das’s ‘Ke Apon Ke Por’, wears a mask while stepping out of the house in search of her daughter (Koyel), making only a passing comment on the pandemic. In fact, another serial of Das, ‘Alo Chhaya’, which does have Covid-19 as part of the storyline, has not received flattering TRP, bringing it to the last rung of the list. The fresh episodes of the serial had started off by showing the protagonist in home quarantine.

Leena Banerjee and Saibal Banerjee’s ‘Mohor’, which is second on the TRP list, is set in contemporary times and has no pandemic reference. Revolving around a teacher-student relationship, the current track is about the protagonist’s exams. In contrast, ‘Sreemoyee’, a serial by the same production house that shows a character in hospital with Covid-19, is at the seventh position.

Arabinda Dasgupta, vice-president of the television wing of SVF Entertainment that produces five serials, including ‘Trinayani’ and ‘Joy Baba Loknath’ from the Top 10 list, doesn’t believe the mention of the pandemic will ensure good ratings. “Corona hasn’t come directly in any of our storylines… People are reading and watching news about the pandemic all the time. Six of top 10 serials staying away from pandemic only shows the audience wants a storyline where everyone is breathing easy,” he said.

Sani Ghosh Ray, who produces two of the top 10 serials, ‘Sanjher Bati’ and ‘Firki’, has not used pandemic either. “If the story is good, people will watch it with or without pandemic in the plot,” he said.

Source:Times of India

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