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The Power of Fandom: Indian TV Producers Cancel Show To Avoid Pissing Off Show’s Own Fanbase

Fandom, when it gets organized, can do some pretty crazy things. From charity drives, to write in campaigns, to art exhibitions. Fandom’s gotten stuff made, saved lives, brightened days, and even made significant changes to their source by showing enough support to show a network that they shouldn’t cancel a show. But well organized fandoms can sometimes be unpredictable, frightening entities to the companies that control their object of passion. Take Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon? or What Can I Call This Love?, an Indian soap opera starring Barun Sobti and Sanaya Irani.

Well, I say “starring,” but the show was cancelled last week because its production company decided that would be less dangerous than making a crucial decision that could annoy the fans.

It all started when Barun Sobti, the show’s leading man, decided to leave the production. From The Daily Dot:

Poonam Saxena, writing for The Hindustan Times, speculated that “neither the channel nor the production house had the guts to replace him,” and noted that IPKKND was one of the few Indian series to gain a widespread global fan following. IPKKND is a romance, with many fans tuning in for the epic love of main characters Arnav and Khushi—known as ArShi, in fansmush. Ultimately, the TV show decided it just wouldn’t do to replace the leading man mid-series. The Star Plus network ran a strange message during the broadcast of its final episode, essentially blaming Sobti for leaving and apologizing for the abrupt cancellation.

As Saxena says in her piece: actors leave soap operas all the time, and are killed off, coma’ed or otherwise written out of the show. Why did the entire show fall rather than retool the series’ main pairing of Arnav and Khushi? It appears that the ArShi fandom was too formidable for IPKKND’s producers. As far as The Daily Dot can tell, fans are taking the cancellation… well, better than the possible alternatives. Hopes are high for the future careers of Sobti and Irani, and other fans are pulling together in an organized rewatch of the series.

I’m finding it hard to imagine something like this happening in American fandom, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

(via The Daily Dot.)

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  • Anonymous

    I’m finding it hard to imagine something like this happening in American fandom, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

    Meanwhile, British fandom seems to have a good handle on this. Besides Doctor Who, of course, we’ve seen Being Human & Misfits retool their core casts — the latter case, I thought, was handled exceptionally well.

  • Anonymous

    For a producer to realize that replacing a castmember will result in an inferior product, and choosing to go out before that, is rare indeed. It’s like a genetic call to keep driving towards that shark and building up speed…

    And let’s not forget that in countries like India, self-immolation is considered an acceptable form of protest. You do NOT want to get these people angry.

  • Mars

    Quote: “I’m finding it hard to imagine something like this happening in American
    fandom, and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”

    Not for lack of trying. The “Wincesters” on Supernatural tried pretty damn hard to get Misha Collins fired. Which is hard for me to conceive, really, because Misha Collins is the only real reason to watch Supernatural. Jensen Ackles, to a lesser extent. But Misha Collins, yes.

  • Mik

    The way you phrase it made it sound like the winchesters brothers actors were trying to get mishandled fired. I was confused for a second where since Jensen has such an awesome bromance with misha.

  • Guest

    Hey there, the actor leaving was the final punch to an audience which had patiently waited for 6+ months for the story to get on track. In the article you have quoted, please check the end where the writer speaks of the audience coming to you.
    The producers had been making a series of excuses for poor narration and story plots using one or the other events that were hampering them offscreen. In its last legs the serial was being watched plainly for the leading pair – for the sizzle and acting they brought up on screen. The remainder cast were puppets and never woven well into the narrative.
    The audiences finally decided that they chose content over never ending longevity in an Indian TV soap. This story began with a premise and when the producers themselves claimed publicly they had no story to tell, the audience agreed with them and requested them to wrap up keeping the premise intact rather than drag the series. The abruptness of ending was the channel’s doing for they had an axe to grind with the producers.
    All the fanbase managed in this case was perhaps to highlight the murkiness of the TV industry and send a subtle message to producers and the channel that they not be treated as brainless viewers. Their love for a show maybe blind but does not mean they have no thinking powers beyond reel in real life.

  • Shivani


    Many shows come and go…Some run for years with unnecessary india television…

    “But once in a while shows like Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon (IPKKND) happen…Like a breath of fresh air… ‘It’ touched millions of heart and made them celebrate this phenomenon together. It made people across world bond as a family; didn’t matter where you came from or who you were. IPK is the binding thread. This family fought with each other and for each other for star-crossed love story of two fictional characters: Arnav & Khushi, or as they are lovingly called “ArHi”.Their love story made us fall in love with the emotion called ‘Love’ and dream together. ”

    ( as written by one fan in India forums)

    Just want to share with you that what this show meant for all of us (Fans)…Many people started learning Hindi language just to watch this show across the globe..Thousands of us are still writing fan fictions, making video mixes…and writing petitions to channel to bring them back together…

    Storyline was not very good lately…it was the chemistry between Barun Sobti and Sanaya Irani..which made us crazy..,.. :-) when Barun decided to leave the show..we wanted channel to retain him unfortunately it did not happen and then we get the abrupt ending of our most beloved show… ;-(

    You can watch their video mixes in youtube just search ” Community drive IPKKND” or ” Shyipkfan”

    I hope you will enjoy the video mixes…