'Junior Shaktiman' will have to wait some more for his day on DD

Kaun Banega Junior Shaktiman, a contest idea that that Mukesh Khanna, actor-producer of the popular Shaktiman series on national broadcaster Doordarshan, has been trying to get on air on DD for a while now, will not see the light of day before December-end at the earliest.

The Kaun Banega Junior Shaktiman contest, which got initial clearance last December, was scheduled to go into production in March-April for a 13-episode shoot, but the project is still on hold.

According to Jay Mishra, executive producer of the programme, Doordarshan was initially to CO-produce the programme but new policy guidelines which do not allow DD to CO-produce a show with private producers scuppered the plan. There were also changes in the rate card which further held up things.

Khanna says that the contest will be definitely go forward and gave an assurance that it would be on air by December. "I am still not sure. We are still waiting to hear from DD. Once it gives its clearance I will proceed," says Khanna.

Asked to comment on the inordinate delay, Khanna said: "After the entries were shortlisted and production plans finalised DD said they would not be able to join us so we had to stop work. At that time promos made in association with Doordarshan had already been on air for two months and had got a good response. "We've received more than 10,000 entries from across India of which 1000 entries were cleared," says Khanna, who is still gung ho about producing the contest in which he even sees potential for an annual franchise.

"The set will come up at the Film City (in Mumbai's Goregaon suburb). This will take lots of investments and would mean a 15-day shoot," he says. "All the pre-production preparations are already done and as soon as we get a clear signal from Doordarshan we'll just have to start the promos all over again," he adds.

Khanna is also working on another project, the second for his Bheeshm Productions. Tentatively called Janbaazz, the series has an intergalactic plotline on the lines of Star Wars. It's just got a clearance from Doordarshan and will go on air by March-April next year, he says.

On being asked about the long gestation period, Khanna said: "We need to have a good bank of episode's and since the production would involve quality graphics it had to be given sufficient time."

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