The Father of Punjab Television – Rabindra Narayan is essentially a team man. He serves the cause of Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiyat through the Punjabi Channels. His presence has played a pivotal role in the shaping of the industry in its entirety. Narayan is the Founder and Managing Director & President of G Next Media Pvt. Ltd since 2007 which runs PTC NETWORK of channels worldwide, well known as the World’s Number One Punjabi television network. Narayan converses with Music Plus, giving his perspectives about the Punjab Music Industry.
“The biggest challenge in Punjabi music industry today is the lack of an organized system of recording, releasing, and artist management. Too many agents make money from newcomer while delivering very little to them. Second, the lack of awareness about copyrights in the whole industry is a big issue. Third, Quality control always remains as an issue. But more importantly, I’m concerned about the messages that are being dished out. Some of the most lavishly made songs talk about liquor and glorify eve teasing. Guns and liquor remain the number one problem in Punjabi songs. The Industry lacks awareness campaigns, seriousness in dealing with governments, and audiences to change their mindsets,” he opened.
Regarded as a pioneer in the field of Punjabi television, he was the leader of the team that launched the first-ever Punjabi satellite channel – Punjabi World. His efforts have been primordial in putting Gurbani on the World’s television map as the team led by him started beaming Gurbani Kirtan from Sri Darbar Sahib, Amritsar, in 1998. Some of his most well-known works include the creation of the first-ever Punjabi sound-n-light multi-media stage show, Aazaadi Dey Taraaney, to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Indian Independence; pioneering the concept of Home cast in the 90’s where his specially-designed video magazine, THE HMV SHOW premiered in over 800 cable networks simultaneously; organising the first ever cable telecast of a made-for-cable entertainment show; And directing several documentaries including the BLOOMS OF THE LOTUS for Doordarshan amongst others.
With such competition in the market now, he talks about choosing the right talent,
“The right talent is easily identified. They now come to you through Facebook and websites. It was a challenge earlier and that is why touts and agents flourished. But now, talent easily finds its way to the right audience and channel. Our various talent hunt shows like Voice of Punjab Junior & Senior, Mr Punjab, Ms PTC PUNJABI and others see a massive turnout now and judges really have a tough time selecting the best of the best. But it’s a task done with passion,” he smiled.
Recipient of prestigious recognitions like the Delhi State Punjabi Media Award, he has been a visionary all thorough his dramatic journey as an actor, director, designer, journalist, curator, and a fierce enthusiast. He is a creative man at heart. His speciality in conceptualizing high interest television content has proudly got him to head the World’s Number One Punjabi television network which produces more than 80% of the original Punjabi language non-film, non-songs software in the world. Talking about the quality of content in the present scene globally,
“Cheap and provocative stuff always sells and the challenge is to educate audiences, not to patronize it. As a network, we decided not run any song that glorifies liquor or arms anymore. It’s a big challenge, but we will stick to it.”
With the magnitude of content being churned out every day, an obvious by-product is piracy,
“Piracy is a worldwide phenomenon and the problem is more acute and widespread in Canada and USA than India. We need to constantly battle with weak laws and freebie kind of mindset of the audiences. While we would not steal from a temple or Gurdwara but we will not wink an eyelid before stealing Gurbani or the channel’s signals through pirates.”
Whilst PTC CHAK DE & PTC DHOL TV continue to pioneer contemporary music worldwide, he talked about his projects in the pipeline that are aiming to further benefit the Punjabi Industry,
“PTC MUSIC is soon going to be launched. PTC also has dedicated channels in USA, UK and Canada. So, we are providing the biggest platform for Punjabi artists worldwide. A talented artist need not look further as we also do live shows and produce lot of music content. All this will further strengthen the Punjabi music industry.”
Narayan signed off by clarifying if new media and its influences has distorted the essence of Punjabi music,
“New times bring new influences, always. Music and language is ever evolving and changing. Changes come but the essence and spirit always comes back. Noor Jehan and Iqbal Bano as well as Surinder Kaur are being rediscovered and re-sung now with great elan. Punjabi music has a lot of passion and that can never go away.”