Mumbai, Feb 5 (IANS) Sitcom "Ghar Ki Baat Hai", produced by Shah Rukh Khan, debuted on the small screen last week and some viewers found the first episode a tad too tame. But director Anant Mahadevan urges people to allow it some time to settle down and promises the series will be a trendsetter.
"The series is a thrice-a-week sitcom, a genre that Indian viewers have not had a chance to watch for a long time. In fact, we have packaged it like the perfect western style sitcom with comedy inherent in content so that the viewers will laugh not by watching what the performers do on the screen, but from understanding why they do what they do," Mahadevan told IANS.
"Over the last five to six years, the sitcom as a genre got lost in the crowd of saas-bahu daily soaps on the television. Some programmers even tried to pass off slapsticks as sitcoms, confusing the minds of viewers," Mahadevan said.
He said the idea for the sitcom germinated in August last year and it is being produced by Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies Idiot Box.
"SRK picked me on the spur of the moment. He asked, 'Will you direct the sitcom?' Well, I would be mad if I refused it," said Mahadevan.
Mahadevan, who has earlier directed the sitcom "Ghar Jamai", couldn't have received a better gift on his completion of 20 years in television than the directorial assignment from Shah Rukh.
Mahadevan, who acted in Sanjay Khan's "Sword of Tipu Sultan" and also directed the TV serial "Indradhanush", feels channels and producers are equally responsible for the falling standards of Indian TV programming today.
According to him, marketing has taken precedence over creativity, and packaging over content.
"It's a very sorry state of affairs and I think programmers as well as the channels should do some reality check before it is too late."
He pointed out that it was the television's loss that people like Gulzar, Shyam Benegal, Basu Chatterjee, Govind Nihalani and Ramesh Sippy, who had played a major role in laying the foundation of the Indian television, had deserted the small screen today.
"Can't these pioneers make TV programmes any more? Of course they can, but nobody has asked them to do so, probably on the mistaken premise that they have lost their prime," he said.
He bitterly recalled an incident when a young programme executive of a channel asked director Ramesh Sippy to submit his bio-data when the maker of the popular series "Buniyaad" approached the channel with an idea.
"Surely, these pioneers and other veterans would not like to submit themselves to such humiliation," said Mahadevan.
He said "Ghar Ki Baat Hai", in fact, was planned as a tribute, Shah Rukh style, to these stalwarts and to the halcyon days of Indian television.