‘Ellarum Padannu’ is a show that tests how well a family can carry a tune.
They are dime a dozen on televisions these days. And they are all the ‘dress up and put your best foot forward’ kind of shows. The stakes are high, competition severe, as young boys and girls go overboard in trying to impress judges, who sometimes turn acrid. Refreshingly different is ‘Ellarum Padannu,’ now being beamed on Kairali Television.
This is a ‘family show.’ However, that does not mean that the channel has packaged it as a show targeted at families, which is what a ‘family show’ now means in the competitive world of television channels.
Instead, this is a show where a family performs, and members from different generations come together to sing. Most of them are families who cannot carry a tune, and are nervous, but shed their inhibitions as they go on. The overall tone of this show, in contrast to what we are used to, is one of camaraderie.
“Instead of individual talent, we decided to focus on the skills of the whole family. The intention was to bring families together, spread the message of the importance of a family. This becomes significant at a time when families are being splintered. We wanted our programme to act as a platform where families can come together,” says A. J. Peter, chief production coordinator of Malayalam Communications.
Selection of teams was based on letters that families sent. “We picked those we thought complied with our requirements. All those who qualified for the preliminary screening were asked to sing. This, at times, became tough as according to our rules there had to be three members in each family who could sing. Some of them came with only one singer.”
From the preliminaries, 24 teams were selected for the rounds .
“But, when we began the shoot we got a letter from a woman called Thankamma. She wrote that she was the mother of three daughters and a son, all of them visually challenged but trained in music. They wanted to participate in the show. We discussed this with the other participants, judges and others involved, and all of them were were unanimously in favour of including the family. So, almost after we had completed the first round, we included this team,” says R. Sentil, producer of the show.
The challenge of this show is that it is a competition of singers, majority of who are not professionally trained. Music is a passion for these amateurs.
“Despite rehearsals, some of these singers went off key during the shoot. We had to have the orchestra unplugged. So the comments of the judges and their evaluation are also rather mild,” says Peter.
For music director Sharath, one of the judges, this was a ‘refreshing experience.’ There was none of the bitterness or the unhealthy rivalry that even seemed to influence the judges in some shows.
“It was more like being part of a family reunion. There is so much of cooperation and the attitude of the participants has been wonderful. Of course, we as judges must do our job but it much more fun, much more gratifying,” he gushes.
The 100-episode show is certainly a trendsetter. And if in future families begin to set apart time to hone their singing skills, if they begin to feel the harmony of unison, if their lives turn musical, ‘Ellarum Padunnu’ would have achieved its goal.