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Spicy Soap Operas or Rich Offbeat Web Series - What does Indian junta want?

Mar 16, 2018

Spicy Soap Operas or Rich Offbeat Web Series - What does Indian junta want?
Spicy Soap Operas or Rich Offbeat Web Series - What does Indian junta want? | Credit: InUth

Long-running or short-series, from daytime to primetime, for young to the mature, about relationships and politics, the soap operas have been a staple of television since the past 5 decades. Glued to the TV sets to watch the drama unfold, it has been the obsession of millions of Indians. New characters and twisty plots have provided enough juice to make them incredibly popular.

What is in the Television series that attract such viewership? Do they contribute towards well being of the society or bring about a social change through educational stuff? Not really! Mostly the content reels around shallow and addictive plots, meaty melodrama and family affairs to enrapture millions of viewers. The complex relationships between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law engross the audience while the producers grin ear to ear to the bank.

Is the audience today making a paradigm shift from long running saga like Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, a story about trials and tribulations of a daughter-in-law and her battles as she survives from one challenge to another hurled at her by her devilish mother-in-law? The unprecedented success of the TV series became a talking point as it ran for eight-and-a-half years. This was followed by many more such sagas from Balaji stable that become huge hits with multiple storylines invoked with twists and turns, plots and subplots, evil plotting, affairs, rivalries, illegitimate children, rebirths or anything that could keep the narrative going. Well, isn't drama about all this and more!

Indian Television is loaded with whopping 800 channels. TV is the most affordable form of entertainment for every kind of audience who still love soap operas. The popularity almost secures the future of such shows, with production houses not showing much inclination to deviate from this tried and true formula. But the all-time favourite soap operas are facing an unforeseen challenge today from web-series as India shifts web-ward with the digital evolution at the helm. Though the migration isn't happening right away, web-series are steadily substituting television soap operas and creating a space for the niche audience. The engaging and offbeat content is gradually paving the way for web-series to catch on with the audience.

Contrary to soap operas, web-series are more accessible and liberating art forms. The videos are generally laid in episodes, released on internet, shareable and are also a part of web television. It's heralded as the next big thing in India due to the evolving internet space and emerging social media existence. In a short time span, it has already made a remarkable progress catering to the 'youth' with its good and relatable content. Few budding filmmakers' are already embracing the format, blending the story and cinematic touch to ensure a different appeal altogether. The creators are eagerly waiting to reach out to college goers, aspiring youngsters, or anyone seeking edgy and fresh entertainment, narrating something that has never been explored on the screen before.

The format is usually short, spanning 8-10 episodes. The concepts are also experimental and groundbreaking that gives it an edge over Television. “Sex chat with Pappu and papa” was the first SexEd show on lovemaking, safe sex, menstruation, pregnancy, etc. Web-series do not cash on face value but are giving opportunities to many new talents. This, in a way, keeps the content looking fresh and new. Also, there is the advantage that viewers can watch the missed episodes, anytime, anywhere. It can be streamed, downloaded and watched offline on any device with internet connectivity. It scores high on the aspect of personal viewing experience.

A good content will always strike the right chord with the audience. Webs-series once again proves that.