Keep It Simple

Indian television show producers are known to create a visual extravaganza with larger-than-life, unreal characters to up the TRPs. Reincarnations, polygamy, plotting against family members and a hundred karva chauths a year are some of the gimmicks they use to reach the top spot. It is ironical then that a show like Saath Nibhana Saathiya, with its simple plot, true-to-life characters and situations that mirror everyday life, has been topping the TRP list for the last six months. "The audiences, who have been subjected to high-voltage drama for over 10 years, want to see something more believable now," says the show's director Pawan Kumar. The show has been garnering a TRP of seven to eight points for the past six months.

Saath Nibhana Saathiya focusses on the story of an orphan girl Gopi Modi and her relationships with various people in her life, such as her mother-in-law Kokila Modi, her husband Ahem Modi and her cousin Rashi. It first aired almost two years ago on Star Plus in the 7pm time slot owing to its simple storyline. Kumar remembers the time when the show had just begun and not gained much popularity. "The cast was quite upset despite the efforts they put in and the show was doing just about average. I just told them to carry on with their work and one day their efforts would be noticed," says Kumar.

Slowly, but steadily the show reached newer heights with the audience accepting the show and also the time slot. "It was the reality in the show which eventually attracted the audience. Also, the last one year has seen cable television penetrate into third and fourth-tier towns and villages, which in turn, has helped the show grab more eyeballs," says creative director Sneha Deshprabhu.

Having an episodic format also helped the show since it tackled real-life issues one at a time. The credit goes to writers of the show Jyoti Tandon and Gautam Hegde, who try and keep the content tight and crisp. "We usually take up a particular issue and try to wrap it up in four to five episodes. We dwell on emotions such as love, jealousy, insecurities and affection, which are set in a very realistic sphere," says Tandon. She recalls an incident when she and Hegde were writing the screenplay for an intense scene and for added effect, decided to have thunder and lightning, the way it usually happens in most serials. "The channel, however, decided to remove it because they thought it was in a completely unreal space."

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