Madhuri to host Sony marriage-show 'Shubh Vivaah'

After a long while in which Sony Entertainment seemed to be in hibernation while the Zees and the Stars did all the running, the channel today announced a new mega-programme Shubh Vivaah (happy marriage) scheduled to go on air in October.

And in another high-profile signing after Govinda (Jeeto Chappar Phaad Ke), Sony has roped in the former queen bee of Bollywood Madhuri Dixit as host. There were no details about the format of the show available.

Ronnie Screwvalla's UTV is producing the show which, according to reports, will have prospective brides and grooms being introduced to each other. They will discuss their backgrounds, their families, what they are interested in and what they look for in a marriage partner. If a couple hit it off they will actually get married. On the show or off it is not yet clear.

Shubh Vivaah will be the channel's, in fact, the country's first-ever reality television show and Madhuri's debut in television, a company release says.

Only one problem though. There is already a reality show on marriage in the pipeline on veritable old Doordarshan. It is a weekly matchmaking television show called Swayamvar which is also scheduled to air later this year. The programme will be held before a live studio audience, in which suitors will compete for a girl's hand.

Produced by former Bollywood hunk Vinod Khanna's Taal India Communication Private Limited, the show will be directed by Anil Gupta.

Swayamvar will feature 26 girls - one per episode - from cities across India, and is expected to be launched in November. There will be no pre-set dialogues.

What with among the all-time greatest hits on Hindi cinema being an extended marriage video called Hum Aapke Hain Kaun and the sundry soaps on air being variants on the grand blueprint it set forth, the idea of making reality shows based on marriage was probably the natural extension of that.

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