No more puppy love, romance matures on telly

MUMBAI: The girl-meets-boy story is passe on the Indian small screen. The experimentation with mature themes like remarriage and middle age love is evident in shows like "Punar Vivah", "Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha" and "Bade Acche Lagte Hain".

Kamlesh Pandey, who wrote "Kuch Toh Log Kahenge", inspired by the Pakistani play "Dhoop Kinare", says, "On the small screen you have the freedom to be experimental, intelligent and different."

"I feel now some channel heads are ready to treat their audiences to different content. As we say in advertising, ‘the audience is not a moron, she is your wife.’ You cannot take the audience for granted and people should realise that soon," Pandey told IANS.

After well received shows "Bade Achche Lagte Hain", the romantic journey of a 40- plus guy and a 30-plus woman, and "Kuch Toh Log Kahenge", the Indian version of "Dhoop Kinare", Sony channel went a step further with "Kya Hua Tera Vaada" to show how a married couple revive love in their relationship. And viewers are relating well to the plotline.

The makers of Star Plus’ show "Maryada" took the first bold step by introducing a gay angle in their script and now the story has taken another interesting turn with the focus on an "age bar in love". In the show, single lawyer Subhankar has fallen in love with his client, the much older Devyani, who is married and has three grown up children.

Even today, the concept of remarriage is not acceptable in our society and Colors’ newly launched show has picked it up as the theme for its latest show "Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha". Zee TV too is treading the same path with "Punar Vivah".

While "Na Bole Tum…" is the story of a widow with two children and a journalist, "Punar Vivah" is a mature and progressive show that sensitively captures the journey of a man and a woman who, despite having faced a debacle in their first marriages, are giving life a second chance.

Life OK’s "Hum Ne Li Hai…Shapath" is also likely to witness a mature love track with the main character Abhigyan, played by Piyush Sachdev, falling in love with an older woman.

Director Ravindra Gautam, currently working on "Kya Hua Tera Vaada", feels TV allows a vast canvas to experiment and being a mass medium it can make deep inroads into Indian society.

"The face of television is changing every two to three years. People who were producing saas-bahu sagas are now attempting different concepts, so that people don’t get bored," Gautam said.

"Right now there is just very little experimentation happening on the small screen; television has a lot more potential. Television is a mass medium and is making the deepest inroads into Indian society. These shows give an insight into that," he added.

Gautam has also been involved in the making of "Bade Acche…"

Asitkumarr Modi, director of "Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma", admits this is the right time to offer the audiences something different as they are hungry for fresh concepts.

"People are eagerly waiting for new kind of love stories. The audience is hungry for new stories and we should serve them with what they want," said Modi.

At the end of the day, success matters, says Purnendu Shekhar, writer of the popular show "Balika Vadhu".

"These concepts have started working on TV and hence have become a trend. This is a cycle that happens every five years when newer concepts come," Shekhar said.

"These concepts represent our society in a big way. We started with a rural set-up and a lot of channels followed. It is good to see that TV is getting realistic with time," he added.