Life can get tough sometimes, but thankfully there’s plenty to laugh about these days. On TV, that is. The successful revival of the Kapil Sharma show points to the insatiable appetite of India’s comedy-hungry audience. Similar shows have been growing in number and popularity.
But what often passes for comedy these days is of the over-the-top, mass appealing variety. In an age of TRPs and instant gratification, this is becoming the norm. However, there was also a time when sitcoms on Indian television were simple, yet effective.
For Indian television programming, the ‘80s and ‘90s were a great time for experimentation. Comedies then were not built on flimsy premises or mindless mirth. Their makers never felt the need to take shortcuts to success. They respected viewers’ tastes and their ability to appreciate a more evolved brand of humour.
With social media and on-demand streaming of entertainment, the simplicity of past shows is no longer sustainable. We need to relook at how to package comedy, without losing the subtlety and wit of classic shows. Appealing to a largely younger and more demanding audience is no laughing matter. Holding their attention and securing their loyalty will take new levels of effort and creativity.
Yet we find that older TV classics are catching on among younger viewers today. Sitcoms like Yeh Joh Hai Zindagi, Dekh Bhai Dekh, Baat Ban Jaye and Hudd Kar Di are still a treat to watch after two-three decades. Not surprisingly, Tata Sky Comedy is bringing back these classics of TV for viewers to enjoy and share. Let the good times roll again!