Sony's Kutumb switches to new avatar

MUMBAI:Sony's ace in the pack has donned new robes.

Kutumb, the love-hate saga that started in late October last year, has relaunched in a fresh format. After the protracted relationship between the chief protagonists Pratham and Gauri came to a happy end last week, the serial started a new story this Monday with the lead actors playing out different roles. Their names however remain the same - Pratham and Gauri.

The idea," says Sony's on air programming director Anupama Mandloi, "is to explore different aspects of the man-woman relationship without stretching any one story for too long." This, the Balaji show attempts to do by retaining the now recognizable faces of the actors but by infusing a fresh storyline - the life of which will be decided by the ratings. Although Kutumb, along with Balaji sibling Kkusum continue to remain channel drivers for Sony helping it to retain a strong presence on the 9 - 10 pm timeband, the channel believes it was time for Kutumb's family to move on. In the latest ratings released by market research agency AC Nielsen TAM Media, the show in fact ranked number 32 in the top 100 shows across C&S households with a TVR of 3.49, only slightly behind top Sony show Kkusum, which ranked 27 with a TVR of 3.8.

Mandloi is not worried that the loyal following of Kutumb might be weaned away to other channels due to the drastic change in storyline. The scene shifts to college life, with Pratham playing a cheeky teenager who doesn't much believe in eternal love, while Gauri turns into a bespectacled, conservative girl who thinks its love that makes the world go round. The theme song has been suitably changed although the tune remains the same. Mandloi believes that any show that wants to live a long life will need to re-invent itself to succeed in these trying times.

Kutumb version 2 has however not been marked by much publicity, except for the promos run on the channel for the last two weeks. The publicity is to be built up over the next few weeks, as the viewer catches on to the new story, say channel officials. 

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