To make others laugh is difficult but it is a job that telly showmakers have taken up seriously. From Tarak Mehta Ka Ulta Chashma (TMKUC), to situational comedy in Bhabhiji Ghar Pe Hai (BGPH)
to Chidiya Ghar and Sumeet Sambhal Lega to insult comedy in Comedy Nights Bachao and Police Factory, there is a bouquet of shows on the small screen to tickle your funny bone.
Seven-year-old TMKUC, which rated between 2 to 5 TVT in 2015, is all about the simplicity, positivity and the relatability factor. “When it was aired in 2008, TV was overloaded with saas-bahu drama. There was no good comedy show. So TMKUC stepped in to fill that gap,” Dilip Joshi who plays Taarak in the show tells you.
The brain behind show, Asit Modi, who has earlier given hit comedy shows like Yeh Duniya Hai Rangeen and Hum Sab Ek Hain opines that there is no formula to make a superhit comedy show on TV today.
“As a showmaker, I learn new things; innovation is the key. Sometimes good showmakers fail in making a hit comedy show because it’s very difficult to make public laugh. The mood of the viewers is difficult to judge. So there is no formula. Sometimes, even when there is not joke, people laugh. Some people like a satire comedy. But I believe that pure and innocent comedy, what Charlie Chaplin did always work and that’s what I try to do in my shows. When we laugh at ourself, that’s the best humour,” Modi says.
Joshi tells you that while it may look easy to make a simple comedy show, it is the most difficult task that too on a daily basis. “It’s very easy to make vulgar comedy but it’s difficult to take a simple story and weave it into a comedy show. Sometimes, it is doing the simple things that prove to be tough. To think differently and come up with a punchline is an exercise by itself. But comedy is one genre that gives you a lot of scope. In TMKUC, I got an opportunity to sing, dance and actor which I would not have got to do in any other regular show,” Joshi says.
Another show which has become talk of the town is BGPH on &TV. After its launch in March this year, the show garnered 1.4 TVT rating. “The show is naughty yet it’s not crossing that line, making it a complete family entertainment. A concept where we are saying that the husband has an eye on another man’s wife, is a bold subject to deal with especially on Indian TV. The reality is that men eye other women; it is just something not shown on TV before. But in the show, Vibhuti and Tiwari are doing their best to flirt. It is another matter that they don’t succeed and get into trouble and that makes it funny,” Saumya Tandon who plays Anita in the series tells you adding that she was reluctant to do a show and took nine months to say yes because she felt that bhabhiji would get typecast. Another apprehension was that fiction on TV gets regressive after sometime and she didn’t want to be a part of it.
“There’s dearth of good writers on TV which is leading to bad daily shows. The writing is very regressive. I don’t want to be a part of a regressive fiction show. But so far BGPH has proved to be different,” Tandon says adding that when the scriptwriter pens the show, the onus is on the actors to make it work.
“Of course writers do write the scene but in comedy, you need certain amount of improvisation. As an actor, if I don’t enjoy doing a scene, we won’t be able to make the audience laugh however good one is as an actor. TV medium is tough. When people watch a show on TV, there are a lot of distractions that breaks the momentum of viewing. To get back the attention of the viewer is difficult. If you succeed in getting their attention, you are good at your work,” Joshi says.
Tandon says that the credit for this goes to the director as well the person who leads the show. “Over a period of time, the character no longer remains on paper and comes alive and to do so, the director needs to be given due credit,” she says who was the host of Comedy Circus in 2011.
It is not just simple innocent comedy shows that are doing well. The recently launched Comedy Nights Bachao (CNB) uses insult as a medium to evoke humour. “The format is unlike any on TV till date. It gives an entertainer freedom to take potshots at celebrities while the celeb is sitting in front. This unique concept makes the viewers laugh,” Manisha Sharma, weekend programming head of Colors, says.
He tells you that the success of CNB lies in the strong team of writers who create innovative scripts and are flexible in making changes to suit the actor. “More than the comedians, it is the quality of content that works. The tongue-in-cheek humour will create rib-tickling moments,” Sharma says.
‘They are entirely different from each other’
Many viewers were wondering if Comedy Nights Bachao is an extension of Comedy Nights with Kapil (CNWK). Colors’ weekend programming head Manisha Sharma says that they are two distinctly different genres of comedy which double the dose of entertainment and humour.
“While CNB is an insult-based comedy show, CNWK is a stand-up comedy which highlights the lives of Kapil ‘Bittoo’ Sharma and his wacky family. While both shows have the celebrity quotient attached to it, the format and integration are drastically different,” Sharma says.
The channel has positioned the 10 pm time on Saturdays and Sundays as the laughter slot which has fun-filled shows for the viewers. “There is a set of loyal audiences who tune in to watch CNWK every Sunday. CNB is a new show which will need to work towards recruiting new viewers. The aim is to cater to those who have been looking for new content on Saturday evenings,” she adds.
(The article was appeared in The Pioneer Newspaper – http://www.dailypioneer.com/show-time/comic-strip.html)