'Hatim' to return on Life OK

MUMBAI: Stories of good overpowering evil have fascinated mankind down the ages. One such is the legend of Hatim aka Hatim Tai, the Arab prince famed for his strength and generosity who lived during the Middle Ages and whose heroic pursuits find mention even in the Arabian Nights.

Hatim, who first appeared on television in 2003 in a one-hour series by the same name on Star Plus, is now all set for a comeback which promises to take viewers into the realm of the extraordinary.

The show is a never seen before gripping tale of courage and adventure, says Ajit Thakur

Starting 28 December, ‘The Adventures of Hatim’ will air every weekend at 8:00 pm on Star Plus’ sister channel Life OK.

The magnum opus, produced by Nikhil Sinha’s Triangle Film Company, hopes to transport the audience into the surreal world of Hatim, bringing them as close as possible to fantasy.

Asked whether Hatim’s second outing on TV would be any different from the first that ran for a year (2003-04) on Star Plus, Sinha says: “While fantasy is an accepted genre, the kind of fantasy we’ve seen in other narrated shows is very typical and simple. ‘The Adventures of Hatim’ is on the lines of western fantasy which has become very character-oriented, very human.”

“The storyline will be different in order to bring alive the fantasy genre. People will watch it for the story, the human equations in it. I believe if you have the right story in this genre, people will surely like it.”

Sinha informs that the series presents a larger-than-life overview of Hatim’s adventures; using high-end computer graphics, well-researched costumes, and the services of special fight masters flown in from Thailand among others.

More than 16 to 18 hours of time have gone into pre and post-production and the promos too boast some fantastic graphics. Activities such as forming story lines and creating the extensive sets started nearly six months ago.

Shooting started mid-September and nearly 10 episodes have already been canned using sets at Ramdev Film City, Naigaon.

While Rahil Azam played Hatim in Star Plus’ series, Life OK’s ‘The Adventures of Hatim’ has debutant Rajbir Singh essaying the protagonist with popular TV actors Nausheen Ali Sardar, Dolly Sohi, Khalid Siddiqui and Pracheen Chauhan forming the rest of the cast.

With a mythological like Mahadev leading viewership on Life OK, will viewers accept this kind of fantasy? Sinha reasons: “In terms of story, mythology was a little difficult. Getting mythology accepted was very difficult because it was always treated as the subject of elder people - for the oldies. So to get the younger generation, kids and different age groups to watch mythology was much difficult. But in this, our concept is as strong and I am sure people in the age group 5-50 years are going to love it.”

Life OK general manager Ajit Thakur goes a step further to say: “When we launched Mahadev two years back, we knew we had a winner. With Mahadev, we gave the nation a hero, an icon they worshipped, loved and admired on weekdays at 8:00 pm. And now with our latest launch, we will take this legacy one step ahead and give our viewers their weekend at 8:00 pm hero.”

The storyline will be different in order to bring alive the fantasy genre, says Nikhil Sinha

Talking about the sponsors, right now none of the sponsors are on-board. Reasons Thakur: “In the first month, we don’t get a sponsor on-board. We always wait for the show to go on-air and after that we decide on the sponsors, but our ad inventory for Hatim has been sold out.”

On the marketing front, on the day of launch, the channel plans to do a ‘page takeover’ on all the leading websites like Yahoo, MSN and many more. To top it all, a 60-sec theatrical thriller will be running in all the theatres during Dhoom 3 release.

More on the digital front, the series is promoted through Life OK’s official page only. Plus, a lot of outdoor activities like, larger than life cut-outs of Hatim will be done in 30 towns.

With ‘The Adventures of Hatim’ facing some serious competition from Bh Se Bhade on Zee TV, Arjun on Star Plus, Sab Khelo Sab Jeeto on Sab and Adaalat on Sony, it remains to be seen if Hatim will conquer the TV ratings as well…

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