Dinesh Singh

A successful entrepreneur and technocrat, Dinesh is a veteran in the business arena and an ardent patron of the arts. He is the Managing Director of the Energo Group and the Founder of Energo Engineering Projects Limited (EEPL). He is also founder of Navrasa Duende.

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Is Family Entertainment Still the Most Preferred Genre in India?

In the age of explicit satire (did someone say AIB and TVF?), why production houses should focus on creating content for family entertainment in India

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All of us appreciate the value of strong family virtues. After all family is the smallest social unit from where one’s basic interactions begin and propagate to larger groups… and Indians understand it like no one else. From grandeurs of festivities to big fat weddings that receive footfall from the extended bloodline, Indians are known to keep their traditions and deeply-rooted family values intact. But amid increased focus on youth-centric events, is family entertainment viable within the country? Let’s try to find out.

To understand and tap the country’s present content specific requirements, we have to first understand its social fabric – the target audience – and how it differs from the rest of the world. According to recent estimates, USA houses a population of 319 million in 134 million households. China, on the other hand, has grossly 456 million households containing over 1.37 billion of its people. Contrast this with Indian figures, and India’s inherent family-centric nature becomes apparent.

More than 1.2 billion people are known to dwell in around 248 million households in India. Even the nuclear families, which are proliferating urban areas across the globe, are at a minimum in the country. The 2011 Census of India revealed that though nuclear families increased from 135 million in 2001 to 172 million in 2011, the true turn of events was quite different. The overall percentage of nuclear families was noticed to have dipped during the same period. In urban areas alone, they declined by 1.84 percent as reported by the census. These figures clearly settle the dust around the country’s general inclination towards their family.

India’s social structure and the ongoing shift towards joint families also explains the rise of family-centric reality TV shows and first-of-their-kind comedy programs, all of which are equally liked and cherished by family members of varying age groups. Likewise, a majority of blockbusters during yesteryears have been those that appealed to the wider, family audience. Conversely, the organized events industry has largely failed to address and meet the aspirations of this promising and gradually increasing market.

To become more appealing, however, the family entertainment segment also needs to rediscover its format. While musicals have been popular amongst families, the music may require a crossover treatment to appeal to a wider segment. European art forms including ballet are still popular in urban areas across all age groups. Using folk dance and music in contemporary settings of theatre and perhaps marrying them with more popular art forms such as ballet can capture the imagination of all age groups. In fact, performing artists must take a clue from Hollywood movies classics, including chart busters such as Superman, Batman, and Spiderman, all of which despite being youth-centric belong to the family genre.

Family entertainment and community activities are not a new-fangled concept in the country. Before large-scale urbanization, a considerable portion of Indian families used to eagerly wait for merry making extravaganzas, especially those around festivals. These events had a curated array of entertainment and fun activities for wide-ranging audiences. From kids to elderly people, such carnivals used to capture the imagination of each and every individual and received an equally enthusiastic response from all. Restructuring these old style carnivals in a new mould can provide a favorable result to event managers and brand marketers. Such carnivals should be themed in a manner that there is something for all age groups, be it music, dance, movies, or any other form of art along with festivities to act as the adhesive.

Indians have characteristically loved the jubilation that meets and surrounds their family. In fact, a majority of Indian festivals exemplify the same to this day. With urbanization, an array of age-old family-centric jubilations and excursions are being modified according to modern sensibilities. They are not merely receiving traction from urban families, but are also garnering eyeballs of the youth. Therefore, it becomes amply clear that family entertainment is and will remain a ripe genre in India and production houses would do well to reinvent formats and presentation styles to tap into its potential and helm its transition to match modern sensibilities.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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