It needs tremendous guts to shoot on the streets with nothing: Raj Nayak

With the streets as the stage and sans the glamour of celebrity judges and voting drama, Colors is all set to premiere its new talent hunt show – ‘India Banega Manch’. Promoted by Oppo Camera phone, the show will go on air on May 7, 2017 at 9 pm. 

Based on the Israeli show, ‘Win the Crowd’, ‘India Banega Manch’ is hosted by Krushna Abhishek and Mona Singh. The show will make the streets every hunarbaaz’s playground. Their score, calculated basis the number of people whose attention they’re able to grab through their performance, will earn every location’s top performer a spot on the Jeet Ki Seat. ‘India Banega Manch’ is produced by BBC Worldwide Entertainment. 

Adgully caught up with Raj Nayak, CEO, Colors, and Myleeta Aga, SVP & GM South East Asia and South Asia at BBC Worldwide, to know more about the plans for the show, the format, challenges during the shoot, promotion and marketing plans and more. Excerpts: 

First ‘Rising Star’ and now ‘India Banega Manch’ – is Colors strategising to usher in a change in the way talent hunt reality shows are showcased and viewed in India?
Raj Nayak: There is nothing such as good content and bad content. There is only successful content and unsuccessful content. Reality shows are the same everywhere, but they are different only on Colors. Whenever we do a show, be it fiction or non-fiction, we ask ourselves – How is the show going to be different? What new will the viewer see? How are we going to up the benchmark that has been set? Our biggest competitor is ourselves as we keep reinventing ourselves. Colors has never looked at what its competitors are doing, but focused only on how we can as a channel do a better job and give more entertaining shows to our viewers. As a company, it is in our DNA to be disruptive, cutting edge and differentiated. The key differentiator of ‘India Banega Manch’ vis-a-vis other talent hunt shows is that this show does not have any judges on the seat, there is no studio or glamour quotient added. It needs tremendous amount of guts and conviction to shoot on the streets with nothing. 

What have been the key takeaways from ‘Rising Star’?
Raj Nayak: The difference between ‘Rising Star’ and ‘India Banega Manch’ is that ‘Rising Star’ was a live show, whereas here we shot in advance. That was an advantage while shooting for ‘India Banega Manch’, but the learning from this show is that next time when you're planning a show like this, don’t plan it in summer because we had a hard time shooting on the roads in summer! But its small things like these that you don’t take into consideration when you’re doing something for the first time. I believe we are doing CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) by providing a platform to such immensely talented people to showcase their talent. Hopefully some of them will make a living out of it and be successful. 

With no studio audience, no voting and no judges, how do you intend to sustain viewers’ interest and engagement with ‘India Banega Manch’?
Raj Nayak: The show’s hosts, Krushna Abhishek and Mona Singh, will keep the viewers engaged and a lot of things have happened on the ground. Of course, there will be some drama, but the whole purpose of the show is tell people that talent is king. 

The choice of Krushna Abhishek and Mona Singh as the show’s hosts?
Raj Nayak: Getting Krushna Abhishek and Mona Singh on board was the best decision we made. After seeing some of the footage from the shoot, I am certain it as the best decision to get them on board as both of them are impromptu and endearing. 

In which cities will the episodes be held?
Raj Nayak: We have shot in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bihar. We are yet to shoot in another 4-5 cities, but we will go to more cities next year. 

Given that the performances are being held on open streets, what are the challenges that you have faced? What kind of clearances did the show require from the authorities? How are you going to tackle issues like crowd control and safety of the participants and the hosts?
Raj Nayak: It was a challenging task to shoot on the streets and manage the crowd. When such a show is done abroad, people will come, see and move along, but in India, we had hoards of people standing in the heat to watch the performances. Another challenge was to strategically place the 12 hidden cameras in public places since we wanted the audiences’ natural reaction. Shooting in the extreme weather was another challenge, because few of the cameras melted due to the extreme heat. We faced a lot of challenges, but at the end of day, we overcame them. The support that we have received from the authorities and the government clearances have been extremely smooth. This is a show about incredible India and Indians. 

What about the promotion and marketing plans for ‘India Banega Manch’?
Raj Nayak: Since this is the first season, we have done massive Out Of Home cmpaigns. The show will see a robust, high decibel 360-degree marketing campaign, pan India, that will effectively leverage all mediums like outdoor, on-air, radio and digital to garner top-of-mind recall amongst viewers. On the digital front, the channel has designed a holistic campaign striving to drive conversations across several social media platform. Activities lined up during the launch phase include a blogger outreach programme, and a video contest named ‘Talent Ka Manch’ urging the live audience to share videos of the talent that they have witnessed. The format of the show will further be highlighted through various creatives, pictures and gifs which speak of key aspects, including ‘No judges, no hosts, no sets – only talent!’ Additionally, a unique initiative called ‘Manch Ke Ustaad’ will allow the audience to get a deeper glimpse into the lives of the hunarbaaz to facilitate reliability. 

Apart from Oppo, who are the other advertisers on board for the show?
Raj Nayak: Oppo is the presenting sponsor and by the time the show goes on air, you will see other sponsors. 

How similar is the show with the Israeli show ‘Win the Crowd’ in terms of format and treatment? What are the tweaks/changes that have been introduced?
Raj Nayak: There are some changes because Israel is a small country compared to India, so there was a certain challenge of shooting in a large country with such a massive population and geography. 

How did BBC Worldwide come to produce such a show?
Myleeta Aga: BBC is always on the lookout for something different and innovative. We really done some very different kind of formats, be it ‘Aaj Ki Raat’ or ‘Desi Girls’ around five years ago. We had shot ‘Desi Girls’ in a village, so ‘India Banega Manch’ has been better than that, but here we’ve had to deal with the heat and crowds. BBC is very particular about safety of its people, so we had to have safety measures in place. It was a challenging production to mount, but Colors’ creative team was very hands on. Israel is a small country, whereas India is a country of a billion people. So what it means to win the crowd’s appreciation for them and for us are totally different things and the talent that we have seen in India is tremendous. 

How has the entire experience of the association with Colors been?
Myleeta Aga: We love working with Viacom 18. We at BBC take our work very seriously and we work with great integrity and that is what we are proud of. We put quality first and we need to work with people who feel the same way, and Raj’s team certainly does that. 

How did you select the talent?
Myleeta Aga: It was a four-month search, where we looked all over the country through a network of researchers to find the right talent and bring it on the Manch.


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