Spinning the story

Debarati Palit Singh
Friday, 15 March 2019

Spin-offs are the latest trend in television shows, and makers and channels are trying to make the most of it

Indian television makers have always been experimenting to engage their audience. From saas-bahu dramas and naag and naagins, to teen romance, makers and channels are finding ways to woo viewers and keep them interested. 

The latest trend that seems to be working are spin-offs. One of the most successful spin-offs in recent times is Ekta Kapoor’s Kundali Bhagya, which took off from its already popular show Kumkum Bhagya. Interestingly, both have been rated as the most watched Indian television shows.

Ishqbaaz, which premiered in 2016, got a spin-off — Dil Boley Oberoi in 2017. While the spin-off was initially loved by the audience, it failed to keep up to the expectations of the makers and channel. So instead of taking it off air, they decided to merge the show with the original and created a new serial with more characters.
Laado 2 — Veerpur Ki Mardani was a spin-off of 2009 hit show Na Aana Is Des Laado.

Currently, producer Rajan Shahi has launched a spin-off of his hit show Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai titled Yeh Rishtey Hain Pyaar Ke, starring Shaheer Shaikh, Rhea Sharma, Pooja Joshi, Lata Sabberwal, Rithwik Arora, Roopal Patel. It will go on air from March 18.
For the first time, we saw a spin-off of a comedy show. After the success of Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain!, TV producers husband-wife duo Sanjay and Binaifer Kohli launched Happu Ki Ultan Paltan, which went on air recently.
There are also reports of Ekta Kapoor launching a spin-off of Yeh Hai Mohabbatein, which is rumoured to be titled Yeh Hai Chahatein. The serial is going to be launched in July this year but there has been no official announcement from the production house. 

So what are spin-offs, one may  wonder? It’s a new series which contains either a different character or a popular character or theme elements from the original series.
Explaining his reasons for being a part of Yeh Rishtey Hain Pyaar Ke, which is a spin-off, Shaheer, the lead character in an earlier statement, mentioned, “Till now, the kind of characters I have played have been dramatically different. After doing Dastaan-e-Mohabbat: Salim Anarkali, I wanted to play a today’s guy, a young-at-heart character and that was exactly I was offered by Rajan sir. I thought the character, the way it has been written, was very nice and it got me excited. That’s why I decided to take it up.” 

Exited about Happu Ki Ultan Paltan getting great numbers since its launch, Binaifer says, “We have just got the BARC reports and the serial is doing amazing. I am so happy. For the first time, there is a spin-off of a comedy show. I would like to give all the credit to the channel. Bhabiji Ghar Par Hain! became the number one show on &TV. And then the channel chose the most popular character for the spin-off — Happu Singh. I was very doubtful about Happu Singh’s character when it appeared in Bhabiji, but Sanjay, Shashank, and Manoj, who were in the creative team, had full faith in the character.”

Why do spin-offs work? 
One may wonder what works in favour of a spin-off — is it the popularity of the characters or the story? Producer Rajan Shahi says, “Spin-offs works because of the curiosity, and also the familiarity with the characters and format is already there. It’s like you have an idea and expectation of watching a show from different dimensions.” 

He adds, “Yeh Rishtey Hain Pyaar Ke is a fresh story that involves love, romance and family values which were consistent factors of Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai as well. That said, the  cast was a challenge and also the story — how we could connect and still keep it different from Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai.”

But Binaifer believes that for a spin-off or any content to work, the story has to be strong. “You need a strong story to make a show because without one, your show will fail. We have a great creative team which includes my husband Sanjay and Manoj. They have worked hard on this show,” she adds.  

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