Towards that end SET India business head Sunil Lulla announced
today the launch of two new shows which promise to do just that.
One, a soap titled Devi with heavy dollops of religiosity
thrown in and the other, a comedy with elements of fantasy called
Meri Biwi Wonderful. The latter show is the Indian version
of the popular sitcom Bewitched from Columbia Tristar International
SET's NEW SLOGAN 'AB AAYEGA MAZZAA'
Lulla: "In late July SET unveiled a slew of programme initiatives
under the banner "Hot N Fresh". Now our new programmes
are being promoted by the slogan "Ab Aayega Mazzaa" (now the fun
will start). This is to tell the viewer that the channel is the
place not just for the serious viewer but also where you can have
a lot of fun. With K3H we introduced interactivity and with
Kya Hadsaa Kya Haqueeqat we looked to strengthen our weekend
programming line-up. One of the shows that we are launching -
Devi - is a step in that direction. We are looking to strengthen
our weekend franchise which also includes thrillers like Achanak.
To usher in the new season we have brought in a golden yellow colour
look to the background."
'KKUSUM' TO AIR 4 DAYS A WEEK
Devi will air every Friday at 9 pm from 20 September and revolves
around Gayatri played by Saakshi Tanwar of Kahaani Ghar Ghar
Ki fame. An astrologer predicts that this vulnerable woman orphaned
at an early age will die at the hands of her husband played by Mohnish
Behl who also hosts Bachke Rehnaa on the channel. Lulla said:
"Devi is a woman-centric story dealing with oppression, relationships
and human faith in divinity." The launch of Devi will also
mark the conversion of Sony's top soap Kkusum into a from
five episodes per week to four a week. Kkusum currently airs
Mondays through to Fridays at 9 pm.
'DEVI' 1st TV SHOW OF AJAY DEVGAN'S PRODUCTION HOUSE
show marks the first foray of Devgan Software and Television Footprints
Production into the realm of television production. Film star promoter
Ajay Devgan said: "In India everyone be he/she educated or uneducated,
believes in some kind of supernatural power. We pray to many gods
and goddesses and I thought that this was an interesting theme to
explore in a modern and contemporary setting. What is unique about
the show is that it shows the conflict between faith and destiny.
Will Gayatri's faith in Goddess Durga prevent what fate has in store
for her is the question that will intrigue audiences."
Also present was Head of Creative SET Saurabh M Vanzara. He said:
"With Devi Sony is looking to mix the popular genres of the
soap and the mythological. We want to demystify the concept of God
by bringing it to a more down to earth level so that it doesn't
merely exist in a vacuum. Mohnish Behl is very effective in conveying
a man who in the beginning is seen in a negative light. He is struggling
to come to terms with himself and the rapidly changing circumstances.
Although good must eventually prevail the audience is constantly
unsure of the direction that he is coming from and I admire the
commitment he has given to the role. Our future programmes will
include a healthy mix of weeklies and dailies. With a daily one
tends to focus more on the character. With a weekly one concentrates
on the story to give the audience a broader perspective. We will
focus on the woman through shows, which go beyond her role as a
housewife and as a family member. We will look at her role as an
individual and place in modern day society."
The director of Devi is Anant Mahadevan whose resume includes
The Sword of Tipu Sultan, Chingari. He said: "Veterans
like us have seen the direction in which television has progressed
from 1984 till now. I remember the days when we could take three
days to shoot one episode. Now we have just one day. I would say
that Devi is love in the time of cholera, a weekly in the
time of dailies. The frequency of dailies became too hot for some
of us to handle. That is why I took a break from television for
a year. However, with Devi we have been able to improve the
quality of programming by taking the television out of the drawing
room and into the outdoors."
SITCOM 'MERI BIWI WONDERFUL' INDIAN VERSION OF 'BEWITCHED'
second show that SET announced mixes comedy with elements of fantasy.
Meri Biwi Wonderful is also a weekly starting on 19 September
at 8 pm and will air every Thursday. It is the Indian version of
the popular sitcom Bewitched. Three years ago a Mexican version
of the show came out.
The story deals with Raj who falls for Angela not knowing that she
has magical powers. He takes a promise from her that she will stop
practicing magic completely. Needless to say she finds the temptation
of using magic to settle awkward situations irresistible. Speaking
on the initiative Lulla said: "A light hearted comedy Meri Biwi
Wonderful aims at tugging the heartstrings of people across
all age groups. With this show we have added a new dimension towards
our goal of providing wholesome family entertainment to viewers."
producer is Asit Modi who formed Neela Telefillms. He said: "It
is a situational comedy in which elements of love and affection
have been highlighted. Most sitcoms are limited to dialogue or stand
up routines. This show has elements of happiness and sadness. The
trick for us is to find the magic in between."
Also present was actress Tanaaz Currim. She said, "My last serial
was Kal Bhi tho Milenge. Laughter has been missing on the
television for a year. To be a wife who spreads happiness to all
those who surround her is a refreshing change from the current scenario.
Too often one sees women depressed, deprived, crying. We have done
our best to stick with the original format. Of course the jokes
have been tailored to suit Indian tastes." .