What Colors intends to do post Bigg Boss 7

JAIPUR: The year 2013 is about to end and everybody is getting ready to plan their yearend parties. However, there’s someone that’s making a new beginning even before the New Year sets in. When the world would be partying and bidding adieu to 2013, the general entertainment channel Colors would be ushering in to a new beginning with two new shows – Beintehaa and Rangrasiya.

While the first is a show with a pan-Muslim milieu that tells the story of two similar and headstrong individuals Aaliya and Zain, who are in a volatile relationship, the latter is an explosive and edgy intense hate story between Paro and Rudra that would air on the channel at the prime-time slot – 9 pm and 9.30 pm respectively – from 30 December, 2013, every Monday to Friday. The one-hour slot being filled by these two shows will be vacated by the celebrity reality show Bigg Boss season 7.

Interestingly, the channel thinks it’s completely okay to make a new beginning on the second last day of the year as the regular TV viewers would still catch up on the shows rather than partying. “How many of us really go out to party on 31 Dec, I don’t think many. If we don’t talk about the youngsters in the metros, then I believe most of the people still stay at home and want to watch TV. And, the craze for the New Year specials on TV has also gone down in the last few years. And thus, the viewers want to watch the daily soaps and both these shows are just going to give them more variety,” says Colors fiction-head Prashant Bhatt on the sidelines of the grand launch of Rangrasiya in Jaipur on Thursday night.

The channel that has been at the second position in the GEC’s ratings chart almost all-through the year in 2013, is looking forward to add diversity to its already strong fiction line-up. However, considering the past record, the shows that have replaced Bigg Boss in the previous years haven’t really done too well, case in point – the second seasons of Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha and Sanskaar…Darohar Apno Ka that were on air at the prime-time slot before the seventh season of Bigg Boss kicked off. While the former was wrapped up before the launch of the reality show, the latter has been moved to the 7 pm slot.

Quiz Bhatt about this, and he refuses to agree that Sanskaar… hasn’t done well. In fact, he says that the second season of Sanskaar… is doing better than the first. However, somewhere he consents that the shows replacing the reality show have not been able to get similar popularity that other fiction shows on the channel have got. “There’s no set formula for success, but we should never stop trying to come out with interesting stuff,” he says as he guarantees that the present attempt is going to be really rewarding.

However, coming back to Rangrasiya – the serial has been produced by Nautanki Films – the same production house that has produced Madhubala…Ek Ishq, Ek Junoon for Colors and stars Sanaya Irani and Ashish Sharma.The story is loosely based on William Shakespeare’s Othello and a large part of the few initial episodes have been shot in different parts of Rajasthan – mostly Rann of Jaisalmer, dunes of Jodhpur and Bikaner. It thus made more sense to launch the show in the state.

According to the producers, Saurabh Tewari and Abhinav Shukla of Nautanki Films, the shooting in Rajasthan was done on a grand scale with almost 60 camels and 200 junior artists over 18-20 days. Six cameras were used during the shoot, out of which three were Epic-M Red Dragon cameras that are mostly used to shoot movies. The show has quite a few stunt scenes that are directed by Amar Shetty, who has done Om Shanti Om in the past and is currently working on Happy New Year.

Tewari says that Rangrasiya has been made on a similar scale as a Bollywood movie, something like Ishaqzaade.

Giving more details about the production, Shukla says that so far close to Rs 4-5 crore has already been sunk into the show. “We have shot it in Jaisalmer and many nearby villages. A large sequence on cross-border terrorism has been shot in the deserts of Rann. We have also shot few scenes in the Mohangarh Fort where the movie Sarfarosh was shot earlier,” reveals Shukla, also adding that they had zeroed down on other options like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and South India as well, but Rajasthan was chosen because it gelled really well with the plot.

“After the success of Madhubala…, we wanted to raise the bar for Rangrasiya in terms of the visual scale and narrative. From visual conceptualisation, to the scale and experimentation with the characters, everything is real,” he adds.

However, the post-production work has been done in Mumbai and now since the show has mostly in-house scenes, a set has been erected in Andheri, Mumbai where the rest of the episodes are being shot. “We will keep coming back to the state as and when the script requires,” says Shukla.

The channel's focus is currently on massively promoting the two shows across all platforms. While the promos went on air across-channels some time back on TV, now they are set to hit cinema theatres. The shows will be promoted with today’s release Dhoom 3.

Commenting on the marketing and promotional strategy for the two shows, Colors marketing head Rajesh Iyer says, “We have designed a very high intensive outreach campaign to engage audiences at multiple touch points across the country. Beintehaa and Rangrasiya will be promoted extensively across mediums including in-theatre integrations during Dhoom 3 in HSMs, OOH across 60 cities and towns, and a media mix comprising of over 40 channels and radio stations covering over 40 cities. As the launch leads into the New Year we will be launching special calendars with select publications to enable audiences to bring their favourite characters home. To ensure that both shows continue to be the topic of dinner-table conversations, we have developed an all-round social media strategy exploring various avenues.”

The fact that the rival channels have some of their most popular shows at both the 9 pm and 9.30 pm slot is also not bothering Colors much. While Zee TV has one of its oldest and most loved shows, Pavitra Rishta at 9 pm and Qubool Hai at 9.30; Star Plus airs Diya Aur Baati Hum that has become one of the most popular serials of recent times at 9 pm and the family drama Yeh Rishtaa Kya Kehlata Hai at 9.30 pm.

Bhatt says that the new offerings would make a place for themselves in the audience’s heart.

“At the end of the day, the audience is hungry for something new, something different and we are offering that. Most of the times viewers keep watching certain shows because they don’t have an interesting choice to switch to – they either have family dramas or social dramas. However, we are breaking that mould with our new offering and are hoping that like other shows that we already have, even these two would be loved and take us to the first position on the ratings chart in the coming year,” he says.

Ironically enough, the real-life partners of the lead actors of Rangrasiya - Archana Taide (Ashish's wife) and Mohit Sehgal (Sanaya's fiance) are both currently starring in Zee's Qubool Hai. Now let's hope that coincidence leads to another one: Colors' new shows too become as successful as Qubool Hai.

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