Five new soaps and a handful of in-house produced shows. That's the first of Zee TV's artillery as it starts its offensive against Star Plus and Sony Entertainment. The duo has already stolen quite a lot of advertising ground from it.
They include: Samander, Aanchal Ke Chaon Mei, Gardish, Ankahee, Kaise Kahoon. Kaise Kahoon, the first of the five soaps starts airing on 5 February (Monday to Thursday 3:30 pm), and is produced by Mona Kapoor. Aashique Rahul Roy makes his small screen debut with this soap. (Wonder whether his lover boy image will help attract audiences?)
The story is about two close friends from different communities whose friendship extends to theri families. The families begin to drift apart when a narrow-minded female protagonist comes into the picture. "Effort is taken to blend two communities out of this serial, the happiness, misunderstanding and sorrow that these two families undergo due to the narrow way of thinking of a single female," says Sudha Chandran, one of the leads in the soap.
Aanchal Ki Chaon Mein commences from 6 February every Tuesday at 9.30 pm and is produced by Rakesh Sarang and Mir Muneer. "The series is the story of a woman torn between the attachment of her family and her own personal life," says Mir Munner the serial writer and co-producer. Slotted for the late night slot are Ankahee (produced by ManishGoswami; debuts on 21 February, Wednesdays 9:30 pm) and Gardish (directed by Ravi Rai; 7 February, Wednesdays 10 pm). Ankahee has Govind Namdeo, Vivek Mushran and Iravati Harshe playing the leads . Samander by Rajesh Mishra debuts on 8 February and is to be telecast every Thursday at 10 pm with Kabir Bedi and the versatile Nikki Aneja starring.
Zee is also introducing a clutch of other in-house programmes. Lamhe a half-an-hour musical programme with Golden era's black and white movie songs is slated to air at 7.00 am every day. Highlight Zee, a 15-minute update of the entire day's lineup airs all weekdays at 10.30 am. Amrit Kalash, a 30 minute tete-a-tete with successful people from various walks of life who have achieved their success on their own. Vedic chants, bhajans and sermons will be interspersed with nuggets of their views. Directed by Jeetendra Sritava it is scheduled on week-end days at 6.30pm.
And if this is not enough to add to the programming masti, it has lined up Chatpati Chaat - a 15 minute programe consisting of select comedy scenes from Hindi movies (Monday to Friday 10:45 am) and hosted by Bhavna Balsaver.
Will the new programming help Zee TV regain lost turf? For that it is over to King Viewer, who wields that ominous remote in his/her hands.