“Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” ran for over 1800 episodes. “Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii” entertained with 1600-plus episodes. Ekta Kapoor‘s trend setting shows had a record-breaking run on Indian television, but the producer says a sense of fatigue has now set in for her when it comes to making long format entertainers.
Ekta spearheads the Balaji Telefilms banner which has for years dished out a mixed bag of TV shows, most of which set the era of the ‘saas-bahu’ dramas on the Indian small screen.
But with the emergence of an evolved medium like apps, which Ekta has ventured into with ALTBalaji, she says things have changed.
“When you write a story for thousand episodes, what you’re doing is a totally different entertainment experience — everyday you get to see a slice of life of those characters. They become important and you don’t mind coming in to find out what is happening in their world. And for a thousand episodes, you can actually enjoy it because you love the characters.
“That experience has been popular and it will continue, but it has been exhausted. Now, even a person like me feels a sense of fatigue doing even one show for a hundred episodes. I can pull it off for hundred, but after that, I get bored.
“It’s a challenge to create something new, reach out to the viewers, get them attached to newer characters, and to then keep up storytelling. It was great fun earlier. Maybe I have done too much.”
That is why when the growing world of apps offered her a chance to tell stories in a shorter format of web series, she took the plunge.
“There are these various stories you can’t do on TV because they don’t have the stretchability factor in them. They are great stories to be told, and they have a great culmination. Besides, the attention span of the audience has gone shorter, and maybe not everyone is buying into the experience of coming in everyday to see characters for a long time,” she added.
Ekta also said there may have been a “shift” in the audience’s interest, but there has been growth too.
“We are not being able to understand that the medium of television is growing like a giant. And the more it’s growing, it’s getting bigger and at the same time, creating more space for another medium,” she said.
Elucidating on that, she said that every time a person in a small village buys a TV, he becomes an added viewer and he enjoys the same thing which perhaps an urban viewer enjoyed a decade ago.
“While there’s a certain audience that is exhausted with the medium, there’s another section getting absolutely enamoured by it.”