Biggest challenge for TV industry is they shy away from challenges: Y Gee Mahendran

Actor Y Gee Mahendran said that the television industry is stuck in stereotypes | File Photo

Kicking off a battle between creative TV serial producers and “TRP hungry” channel representatives, actor Y Gee Mahendran brought to the fore an issue discussed behind the small screens so far – where is the challenge?

The Federal is the media partner of the CII Dakshin South India Media & Entertainment Summit,  held in Chennai on April 9 and 10.

Speaking at a panel discussion on Day 2 of Dakshin – South India Media and Entertainment Summit in Chennai on Sunday, Y Gee Mahendran said that after 61 years in theatre, 52 years in cinema and 47 years in TV, he finds that the TV industry is in a peculiar spot of not looking at variety anymore.

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“The TV industry is stuck with stereotyped roles. Channels must move out of the comfort zones and try new varieties. Content on TV should have varieties. The genre of humour is being forgotten. Tamil continues to be the top language in (use of) humour in India. Thriller, history and science fiction genres have gone. The three magic letters, TRP is what everyone is after,” Mahendran said pointing out the challenges faced in commercial TV productions.

Taking Mahendra’s argument forward, Producer and Chairman of CII Dakshin T G Thyagarajan said that TV producers would like to try different concepts. “We have constraints laid out from the channels. Variety of serials can come but we should have the freedom to do this,” he pointed out.

Also watch: Gender inclusiveness: How far has media & entertainment industry come?

Adding to the issues faced by the TV production industry Sujatha Vijayakumar, Steering Committee Member, CII-Dakshin, said “Things have changed now. Responsibilities of producing a serial are shared. But when it comes to results, everything is on the Producer. Everyone should take the responsibility and support the producers.”

Actor/Producer turned politician Khushbu Sundar did not mince words as she said “Content is definitely changing but channel heads say that if you want to do something different, let’s try it on OTT and stick to conventional stories for women audience on TV. To create content on television we get enough help from the channels. But at the same time due to the amount of interference we get from the channel, our creativity takes a back seat.”

Defending the barrage against channel heads, Krishnan Kutty, Head, Disney India said, “We as channels, there is nothing that will give us more pleasure than a story creator owning the story and the story resonated with the audiences. It is a competitive world.  We believe at some level the ownership does lie with us. Most programmes are completely funded by the channels. The entire financial risk is being taken on by the channel. We are looking for creative partners that resonate with audiences. At times we struggle in getting that.”