MUMBAI: The Indian television industry’s dynamism reflects our country’s diverse culture. Complex family sagas, path-breaking reality shows and now, the return of the gods to television — each genre has its loyal viewers. But, it’s the comeback of the mythological genre on the small screen that has stirred tough competition to family dramas and reality shows.
Who understands this better than Siddharth Kumar Tewary, Founder and Chief Creative, Swastik Productions. His interpretation of timeless tales of epics and mythology like ‘Mahabharat’, ‘Karmphaldata Shani’, ‘Mahakaali – Anth Hi Aarambh Hai’ and most recently ‘Porus’ have created their own benchmarks.
Why mythological tales are in demand?
“Some tales are eternal, no matter which generation and it will strike a chord with any age group, all we need to do is to make them relevant to times they are created in. The storytelling changes as per the period but the core remains the same,” says Tewary, whose recent offering, ‘Porus’, has grabbed eyeballs. In fact, it’s the first show where rights for the property lie with the production house. “It speaks about the love towards your motherland which is much above any other relationship, which ignites the feeling of patriotism in the viewer,” states Tewary.
“Culture acts as an anchor at a time of social stress, of rootlessness and that’s where these shows help people reconnect to their roots,” says Tewary. His rendition of the Mahabharat, which went on to become a cult series, not only depicted wars, villains, supernatural births and the saga of women but also the lessons of life. “Making Mahabharat as I always say was a blessing, not many people get an opportunity to reinterpret such a tale. It took me years to just understand the vastness, and every time I think I still feel that there is so much more to the story”
“It is said that if you read and more importantly understand the Mahabharat, one doesn’t need to read the Vedas, it has all the learning of the Vedas, all we tried was to understand the subtext of the story, as to why it would have happened, what are they actually trying to say through it ?” explains Tewary, who has experimented with a gamut of story-lines. He believes that certain human emotions such as love, trust, hatred and betrayal are as true now and as then and that has been the foundation of his scripts.
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The takeaway from these tales
Any loyalist of Tewary’s shows would proclaim that all his shows have some subtext or a lesson. “I always thought why would gods write stories on themselves, why all kinds of dramatic elements happen in their lives? and then realised that the very reason behind the stories on gods’ lives is for people to get a message from the story. If the same story was written on an ordinary person’s life, people wouldn’t be that interested. Every story has a subtext and that’s what makes these stories so powerful. Hence, with my limited understanding in every story, I try my best to get the message across to the viewers so that they not just get entertained but also get the lesson which they could implement in their lives,” adds Tewary.
His mythology-based tales are always iconoclastic. “When we did ‘Karmaphaldata Shani’, we projected Shani in a very different light, unlike his wrath image. We showed his turbulent childhood, his struggles and how he is revered as the god of justice. This show created a different perception about Shani and old discernments were cleared, paving the way for new ideas about the same Lord Shani,” he says.
The long view
His next show is called ‘Radha Krishna’, which would be telecast on Star Bharat. “It’s the most beautiful love story ever, like a festival of romance with a message for the viewers. I am very excited about this series,” concludes Tewary.