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Nov 10, 2012 at 03:00pm IST

There is no story in the serials, says ITA chief

New Delhi: The tussle between the organisers of the Indian Television Academy awards (ITA) and the Film Writers’ Association, which is speaking on behalf of the TV writers also, has come out in public. The writers’ association was in favour of the inclusion of a new prize in the category for story writers.

ITA replied to this request and said that no such category can be announced as TV serials are devoid of proper stories these days. The letter has been written by Virendra Bhargav, CEO, ITA and is addressed to Kamlesh Pandey, General Secretary, The Film Writers’ Association.

The letter tries to explain the reasons behind the decision of not including a new prize section for ‘TV story writers’, “Coming to your suggestion for including the Best Story awards, I may apprise you that when the categories for the Awards were decided by The ITA Governing Council comprising such illustrious stalwarts as Mahesh Bhatt, Javed Akhtar, Revathy etc. a lot of thought was given to it and it was concluded the writing in Television is all about Teleplay and Dialogues than anything else. The point of fact is that if you look around on present-day TV here, there is no story in the serials. It is just an assemblage of tracks fleshed up by Teleplay & dialogues. There is no ‘beginning-middle-end’ structure and there are examples galore that a serial starts with a Saas Bahu story and then becomes a fantasy tale of Ichhadhari Nagin or a serial starting as a whodunit takes detours to something like Patrick Swayze’s Ghost and so on.”

There is no story in the serials, says ITA chief

The tussle between the organisers of ITA and the Film Writers' Association has come out in public.

Only a part of the letter was revealed earlier, but we are posting the entire letter here, so that you can form your own opinion about the dispute.

November 2, 2012

To

Mr Kamlesh Pandey

General Secretary

The Film Writers’ Association

Mumbai

Dear Sir:

Thanks for your communication. As for your concerns, we may tell you that in The ITA Awards, the honours have always been accorded to the writers since the very inception. In fact, we were the first to include the Best Teleplay and the Best Dialogues Awards in our roster of honours.

Coming to your suggestion for including the Best Story awards, I may apprise you that when the categories for the Awards were decided by The ITA Governing Council comprising such illustrious stalwarts as Mahesh Bhatt, Javed Akhtar, Revathy etc. a lot of thought was given to it and it was concluded the writing in Television is all about Teleplay and Dialogues than anything else. The point of fact is that if you look around on present-day TV here, there is no story in the serials. It is just an assemblage of tracks fleshed up by Teleplay & dialogues. There is no ‘beginning-middle-end’ structure and there are examples galore that a serial starts with a Saas Bahu story and then becomes a fantasy tale of Ichhadhari Nagin or a serial starting as a whodunit takes detours to something like Patrick Swayze’s Ghost and so on.

So story, as understood in its classic definition, is patently absent here. That’s why we had decided not to keep a Best Story Award and accord rightful recognition to Teleplay & Dialogues.

This has also been corroborated by The ITA Juries for the last 11 years, comprising some of the biggest names of Television from various disciplines as Writing, Directing, Talent and Technicians. They have been in total consonance with the Academy on this count.

Besides, you would also appreciate that the prerogative of giving and Award has to lie with those who are embarking on the endeavour. It wouldn’t be a wholesome thing to force one upon them.

In fact, in the ‘Emmies’, conferred by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, they give it in only category, called ‘Writing’, with out going into any further divisions like Teleplay, Dialogue or whatever. Surely, there must have been people who do not see eye to eye with them on this, but nobody has tried to impose categories on them, thereby respecting their own discretion as to what they want to honour – and we feel, that’s the way it should always be.

‘Unfair treatment’ to TV writers. Instead, we have been the ones who have pioneered according honours to them.

Hoping that all your apprehensions are allayed:

Looking forward to the privilege of your presence at the Ceremony:

With sincere regards:

Truly yours,

Vierendra Bhargav

(CEO, The ITA)

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