Television

Talking it through

RANGE OF TOPICS: On ‘Let’s Talk.  

M alayalam television channels have always had a loyal religious audience for talk shows of all kinds. A new entrant in the list is ‘Let's Talk', a talk show on WE channel, aired on Saturdays and Sundays at 9 p.m. (with repeat telecast on Thursdays and Fridays at 1 p.m.). Smitha Nambiar doubles up as the producer and anchor of the show. Smitha, chief producer of WE channel, who also heads the channel's programmes in Thiruvanathapuram, talks more about the programme. Excerpts…

The show

‘Let's Talk' touches upon subjects concerning those in the age group of 13 to 35. It covers a wide range of topics that cover social, gender-related and psychological issues. We have done nearly 30 episodes and have covered subjects such as waste management, infertility and lifestyle, organic farming, gold and women, and friendship, to name a few.

We choose relevant topics, but never pass any judgement or become highly critical. Also, there is no studio audience unlike other talk shows. We only have a panel, with eight or nine members who are qualified to talk on a particular issue.

For example, the episode on infertility featured a doctor, a writer and a person who underwent treatment.

WE channel mostly airs entertainment programmes and we wanted a programme which isn't just a pastime for the audience. Thus ‘Let's Talk' was conceptualised.

Being different

‘Let's Talk' takes serious as well as light subjects for discussion. For example, we are going to shoot an episode on ‘What if you are made the Chief Minister of Kerala'? Youngsters – students, writers and journalists among others – form the panel. Another topic of discussion would be on ‘Is it the boy or the girl who usually ditches the other in a relationship?'

It is true that we've some extremely popular talk shows anchored by individuals who're veterans in the field. Interestingly these days, even they tackle light topics since viewers can relate to those subjects.

Also, we've a splendid set that has received appreciation from various quarters. Each month we change the pictures in the backdrop, thus giving a refreshing look to the programme.

Challenges

It is not easy since there is no studio audience. If the audience is there, you can give a cue to the group so that somebody will ask the question. But here, I've to ask all the questions.

Tryst with media

I've been working with Kairali (which has WE and People TV under it) for seven years now. I anchored a daily news-based quiz show on People TV for over three years and a general quiz show, ‘Wonderland', on Kairali. I've produced ‘Dasavatharam' for WE channel (each episode dealt with 10 roles of a particular actor) and now I'm producing ‘Shrill Out' (a live music programme) on the same channel. I always wanted to be behind the camera, learning the creative side. But, at one point I had to face the camera and when I realised that I could do it well, I started doing anchoring as well.

Earlier I'd worked in the programme section of Asianet News and was a research assistant in Jeevan TV. I have done emceeing and freelance production work, before moving to Bangalore. When People TV was launched, I came down to join the channel and started off with production of three live programmes.

As the host

There are very few women talk show hosts. It is not because they are not getting the opportunity. It is just that more men are coming into this. There is no restriction on any woman doing a talk show. But due to obvious practical difficulties, their exposure to many things is much less when compared to the men. This obviously puts them at a disadvantage. In my case, I've always been encouraged by the channel to be a presenter. I do the research on my own and have got an able team to support me.


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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 3:17:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/radio-and-tv/talking-it-through/article3404167.ece

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