As far as the big ticket shows that Zee, Star and Sahara are launching
go, the common thread running through them is that they all have
nationalistic sentiments as a backdrop. Take Zee's mega budget show
Mulk. It is set in Lahore in the pre-partition era. One wonders
what took Zee so long to come up with such a concept considering
the super success the group's 2001 blockbuster movie Gadar
achieved at the box-office. Gadar was also set in partition India.
Mulk, which goes on air on 12 January at 10:30 pm is directed by
Chandar Behl and is about friendship during the partition of India.
Star Plus has two mega scale one-hour weekly shows ready for launch.
The first, Kashmeer, is a saga of 'love and hatred with the
backdrop of militancy' and begins its run on 16 January in the 9
to 10 PM slot. The second one, set to debut shortly is the Miditech
production, Saara Akash. The story of Saara Akash
revolves around a young flight lieutenant and three other officers
in the Indian Air Force, two of whom fall in love with the same
Sahara has Mission Fateh, which will commence on 24 January
and highlights the emotional side of soldiers on the front. The
weekly serial based on Indian war heroes is also a large budget
But in terms of sheer scale, Sahara TV's mega project with Bollywood
A-list actress Karisma Kapoor surely takes the cake. Karishma
The Miracle of Destiny has Karisma in a double role and is shot
in Mumbai as well as locales abroad. It's not exactly a musical
saga, but music too plays an important role as an integral part
of the story with as many as 52 songs composed by well-known music
director Anu Malik. Produced by Sahara TV, the serial's creative
head is Akash Deep whose production banner Cinetek is the assigned
producer of the serial which is directed by Anurag Basu. While Karisma
plays the main protagonist, the serial has several big league Bollywood
names in its starcast which include Arbaz Khan, Sanjay Kapoor, Jugal
Hansraj, Tinu Anand, Sheeba and Arshad Warsi. Besides there are
also well known television stars in key roles which include Ayub
Khan, Harsh Chaya, Resham Seth and Shahrukh Bharoocha, to name just
Sahara has also got another big-budget show with former queen bee
of Bollywood Sridevi in the lead. This one is a sitcom though, and
Sridevi reportedly plays an Indianised version of an old US show
Sony Entertainment has opted to keep off the "nationalist" bandwagon
and has instead gone in for a big budget soap Kahani Teri Meri
produced by Balaji Telefilms. KTM, which replaces another
Balaji offering Kutumb in the daily 9:30 PM slot is being
billed by Balaji as "much larger and far more lavish than any serial
currently airing on television."
According to the information available with indiantelevision.com,
the most expensive show that is currently on air as far as Hindi
entertainment C&S channels are concerned is Kismey Kitnaa Hai
Dam on Star Plus, which costs Rs 2.5 million per episode. Kismey
is taking a "seasonal break" and its slot is being taken up
The New Year has already seen the launch of two mega-serials on
Doordarshan, both produced by Sanjay Khan's Numero Uno International
Maharathi Karna, a portrayal of the Mahabharata from the
viewpoint of Karna, throws light on the life of this unsung hero
adding a new perspective to this epic tale. The other serial, 1857
- Kranti, tells the story of India's first war of independence.
Maharathi Karna started on 1 January and airs every Wednesday
and Thursday between 9 and 9:30 PM and 1857 - Kranti launched on
29 December and airs every Sunday between 11 and noon.
It is quite likely that some of the new shows on air will rival
the kind of budgeting that was envisaged for Zee TV's stillborn
reality show PoW (Prisoner of War).
When Zee announced in March 2001 plans to launch a POW modelled
on the UK Channel 5 game show Jailbreak which ran in 2000,
the talk was that the per episode cost was in the region of RS 5
million. The show, which was to be shot on location at a specially
constructed 40,000 sq. feet area set at the Zee Group's EsselWorld
theme park in Mumbai, never saw the light of day.
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