Even as the dominance of everything Punjabi continues in Hindi cinema, Indian television finds fodder for entertainment in Gujarati ways of life. The trend that started with Ek Mahal Ho Sapnon Ka, gathered momentum with Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. And ever since, such stories have hardly left the prime time slot on Indian television.
However, like everything else in this business, the reason behind the lasting presence of Gujarati characters and stories is the TRPs. “Gujarat is a big TRP zone as Gujaratis watch a lot of television,” says producer Sunjoy Wadhwa of Gulaal and Balika Vadhu. “Research says that stories with Gujarati backdrops get higher ratings since viewers connect to it easily.” That probably explains the popularity of shows such as Khichdi, Baa Bahoo Aur Baby, Teen Bahuraniyan, Jasuben Jayantilal Joshi Ki Joint Family, Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai and Hamari Devrani.
Two and half years ago, the focus changed to issue-based stories set in Rajasthan, Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, when dailies such as Balika Vadhu, Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo, Bhagyavidhata, Laado, Bairi Piya and Pavitra Rishta became successful. This, however, turned out to be a great opportunity for SAB TV to exploit show concepts based on Gujarati culture with shows such as Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashma. And SAB TV was rewarded with Gujarat contributing hugely to its rating. In recent months, other channels — Star Plus, Sony, Zee and Colors —
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