Television

Zee revving up its programming

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Zee TV is quietly putting together some fresh programming ideas that it hopes will connect with audiences that have yet to take to what the channel is offering in any great numbers. 

A new daily soap Tu Kahe Agar... begins telecast tonight and will be airing Monday to Thursday in the 10:30 pm slot. One thing Tu Kahe Agar... will have to do and fast is get off the blocks with all guns blazing because it is pitted against the top soap in Hindi entertainment television today - Star Plus' Kyunki Saas Bhi Bahu Thi. 

Tu Kahe Agar... follows on the back of what definitely looks to be a winner for the channel - Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai - a celebrity talk show hosted by noted actor Farooque Sheikh and produced by Prannoy Roy's New Delhi Television (NDTV). Jeena... aired its second episode last Friday. 

The first episode of Jeena... featured Bollywood hearthrob Shah Rukh Khan while the second had ex-beauty queen and now filmstar Aishwarya Rai in the spotlight.

Jeena... is seen as a chance for celebrities to catch up with those they knew in their past. It offers a glimpse into what the stars were like in their childhood and formative years before becoming household names. 

Coming back to the two episodes that have aired thus far, while the Shah Rukh episode was witty, intelligent and entertaining, Aishwarya Rai's simpering sweetness grated on the nerves somewhat. 

Expectedly, friends and acquaintences have nothing but nice things to say and that can get rather cloying. In all this "goody two shoes" kind of refrain from the guests, the role of anchor Sheikh becomes that much more crucial to holding the show together by keeping the mood light.

Sheikh might want to look at doing a Whoopi Goldberg (remember the Oscars?) and putting in some irreverence into the show.

On the plus side, the effort put into tracking down teachers, school principals, fellow actors and other old friends and acquaintances shows. And that is likely to work as far as getting the viewers in is concerned.

'AMANAT' TO FAST FORWARD 20 YEARS: 

One sign that an idea is working is if someone else cottons on to it. And by that yardstick Star Plus Kyunki... is on a good wicket because Zee TV is doing the same thing for its long running soap Amanat. 

One sign that an idea is working is if someone else cottons on to it. And by that yardstick Star Plus Kyunki... is on a good wicket because Zee TV is doing the same thing for its long running soap Amanat.

A new director Mukul Abhyankar has been roped in. Anupama Mishra will do the dialogues and Vandana Oberoi will be responsible for the screenplay. Fresh faces among cast members include Mohit Chaddha. 

Reports indicate that Zee was keen on keeping the show going as it is still popular in North India although the show's producer Sapna Bhattacharya has said that she wanted to wrap things up.

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