How TVF made Indian Television Look Stupid

When the finale of TVF Pitchers released, it ranked 21 in IMDB’s list of Top 250 TV shows worldwide.

In a little over five years, TVF has become the most loved entertainment portal in India. Their actors have vast fan-following, with Arunabh, Biswapati Sarkar, Jeetu and Nidhi Bisht becoming instantly recognizable through the nooks and corners of the country.

But to understand why TVF is such a success among the youth of India, you have to understand the ecosystem of Indian television industry.


We got private channels in India sometime in the early 90s. Sadly, after 25 years of private news channels, what you get on television today is pure, unadulterated bullshit. In a quarter of a century, we have only one properly defined market – women and housewives. The biggest players in Indian television are soap operas and reality shows.


If you are a youngster in India, there’s literally nothing on television that makes you want to watch it, nothing that makes you stop and think, nothing to make you laugh. You have no option but to consume the tripe that passes off as entertainment on our televisions. In fact, our TV shows are so bad that when a Pakistani channel appeared on our TVs, we realized even they made better shows than us.


Slowly but surely, the youth of India disconnected from Television. If you ask any of your friends, you’d find that they spend less than half an hour in front of a TV everyday. That is because the youth have been alienated out of TV target audience.

There are soppy shows on MTV and Channel V, or dumb reality shows with youngsters abusing each other, or Bollywood gossip channels who report about how Bipasha Basu’s dog is dating Katrina Kaif’s cat. The youth, the largest consuming group of media, had no option but to look elsewhere.

That is where TVF came into the picture.


TVF has perfectly cracked the formula of Indian sensibilities of humour. In fact, while there is a raging debate on AIB vs TVF all across the net, you cannot deny that TVF caters to a much larger market.

While AIB is brash and brutally honest, not all of India is comfortable with pushing boundaries, swearwords, and insult comedy. TVF, on the other hand, is clean humour. There is satire, and self-mockery, and in a perfectly Indian manner of being snarky (but not too offensive), TVF has been able to recognize exactly what tickles India’s funny bones.


Indian television is not only dumb, there are an insane number of restrictions on creative content. You cannot show anybody drinking or smoking, or swearing. In fact, a few years ago, Sushma Swaraj directed Doordarshan newsreaders to cover up their sarees and not wear transparent blouses. Which means to enjoy Indian television, you need the IQ of a garden lizard smoking bad marijuana.


TVF, on the other hand, fully exploited a medium that is more liberating. The internet respects your intelligence, and gives you the power to choose what you consume. The youth of India got tired of being told what is right for them, and dumped the television as a medium altogether.


What TVF do perfectly though, is show a mirror to ourselves.

TVF’s videos are reflections of our habits, our quirks, our crazy antics as a nation. And yet, they don’t do it with a snobbish tone. TVF is like that uncle who drops in for a wedding and has everybody in splits. He doesn’t offend anybody, yet takes potshots at each and every person.

TVF mocks our obsession with film stars, our superstitions, our rants and our peeves, without seeming preachy about it.

In five years, TVF has made the 475 Billion worth Indian television industry, seem like an obsolete elephant. It has transformed how we consume shows, it has made us laugh at ourselves, and share our joy with our friends.

Ironically, it all began with MTV rejecting their ideas, saying ‘This is not what Indian youth want’.

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