Time has come for the Star Maa TV management to conduct due diligence on what went wrong with Chiranjeevi-hosted Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu TV show that has failed to make it anywhere in the top 5 BARC Ratings list. In fact, Telugu film "Janatha Garage" and four other TV serials made it to the top 5 shows, reflecting the preference by the Telugu audience for something natural than anything that is forced upon them.
A year ago, when Nagarjuna was hosting the ‘Meelo Evaru Koteeswarudu’, it was a huge success not only in Telugu-speaking states but also in neighbouring Bangalore and Chennai where considerable Telugu-speaking population was glued to it. No wonder, the first edition was a roaring success because the audience accepted Nagarjuna and tried to go with his image.
The second and third seasons were good enough but towards the end, more cries and unantural sequences were pushed into the TV show that the audience refused to be fooled any more. Instead of going back to basics, the new owners of MAA TV have hit upon the grand idea of replacing Nagarjuna and bringing Chiranjeevi on Television. A serious flaw indeed, similar to the one when Amitabh Bachchan was replaced with Shah Rukh Khan only to dilute the seriousness and high intellect associated with the show "Kaun Banega Crorepati". History repeats itself but few can sense it.
First of all, Telugu audience are more matured than even the Hindi audience and the Mumbai owners have failed to study the pulse of an average Telugu viewer before embarking upon the Golti mindset. By making Nagarjuna being the First Celebrity Guest on MEK 4 season, the producers of the MEK show tried to assuage the feelings of those who thought that Nagarjuna was unceremoniously removed.
Yes, the initial hype was built well when the First Contestant himself was able to make it to the Rs 1 crore Question. But soon, the Telugu audience refused to accept both the host and the Hot Seat participants because of their poor IQ. The innermost Telugu nerve always appreciates the man with brilliance and intellect, however, arrogant he or she may be. Moreover, the suspicion was building up among the clever Telugus, that the show was merely a made-to-believe one and lacked the natural outcome of a person’s IQ, awareness and intelligence.
Unlike the previous and more successful first and second seasons of MEK, time devoted to non-serious display of social tragedy and celebrity shows dominated the scene. No Telugu would accept that the cinema heroes and heroines have a better IQ than theirs. Secondly, nobody is interested in knowing a person’s family life unless he or she score more than Rs.3.2 lakh and emerge as real brainy character. Then they should show the video and not of each and everybody’s. This has wasted the hosting time and brought the core theme of the show to few minutes. Belittling a show that is seen with awe and admiration should not be watered down to the shows of "Jatka Bandi".
Above all, Chiranjeevi was never seen as an intellectual, leave alone as a brainy star. But his predecessor Akkineni Nagarjuna excelled not because he was charming or a big hero but because he was seen as a person educated in the US with basic understanding of the Indian life, especially the Andhra style and brainy lifestyle. Moreover, he was son of Akkineni Nageswara Rao, who preached and followed straight-forwardness in life. Had it been NT Rama Rao (NTR) progeny, they would not have accepted them at all because none of them excelled in studies.
But the Star management failed to make the basic cultural study of Telugus, their tastes and their culture, besides feeling the pulse of their mindset. Chiranjeevi, no doubt, has immense following on Telugu Gadda but was always seen as a mass actor. He was known for his "Jali Gunde", not for his intellect.
The bottomline is that a TV show bombarding merely crying scenes and made-to-believe "Kashthalu" of participants to win TRP ratings is not an ever-green mantra. In India, only Telugu audience have more IQ and cinematic knowledge that they never believe in those who cry on the scene unless it is naturally and unexpectedly seen coming from the person.
But MEK producers thought otherwise. They tried to push for more crying scenes into a quiz program that is meant for educated and above-average audience. In fact, during the screening for entry into the MEK, the questionnaire tried to seek repeatedly if the participants had any misery or mystery to tell the world. Essentially, they tried to downgrade ‘MEK’ to ‘Jatka Bandi’. Those who refuse to share the misfortune of their close blood relatives on a TV show were shown the door in the final selection for MEK 4 season. Anything that is made-to-believe will fail and the Star TV management should realise it now.
For Chiranjeevi, it is time to call off the show and focus on his next ‘Khaidi 151’, as that is where he belongs. Bringing back Nagarjuna would bring life into MEK but to make it constantly successful, the producers should not deviate from their core business of showing more questions on the screen than glycerined tears.