Star cooks up new fare for January; revamps some existing shows

MUMBAI : It's turning over a new leaf with the new year and almost going against the grain. While some channels would prefer to tread cautiously and hold back launches until the World Cup ends, Star Plus is all geared up to launch at least six new shows. And to add to that it is also revamping some of its existing shows, throwing in some fizz into them.

The new fare is a mixed bag and covers the genres of soaps, game shows, music shows and afternoon shows.

Star's reasoning it appears to be is that the channel has enough of cachet with audiences; cricket or no cricket they will tune into the leading satellite entertainment channel. And once they sample the new programming they are likely to like the taste and keep dropping by on the channel. Yes, they will view what the men on the field are doing for a large part of the day, but the housewife will not give up her daily fix of entertainment. This will work additionally in its favour for, as and when the cricket fever subsides, they will return and stay glued to Star, which will appear fresh and not stale. 

Interestingly, four of Star's new shows are slated for Fridays. Optimystix's Kuch Kar Dikhana Hai, to be hosted by Hussain and Shonali Malhotra, will showcase 'electrifying performances of newly discovered talent' that could include acrobats and fire-eaters along with singers and dancers. 

A weekly half hour show, Shararat, a UTV production, is a comedy that tracks the antics of three witches who are caught up in the tricky business of ordinary life. 

Karishma ka Karishma, inspired by Small Wonder the Metromedia Producers Corp and 20th Century Fox Television production, has been made by Sunil Doshi Productions and will launch on 24 January, say sources. 

Two mega scale one hour shows also take their bow on Star Plus shortly. Kashmeer, a Contiloe creation, is a saga of 'love and hatred set in breathtakingly beautiful locales with the backdrop of militancy.' Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Farouque Shaikh, Gul Panag and Smita Jayakar star in this one. 

A Miditech production, Saara Akash is also set to debut shortly on Star Plus. The story revolves around a young flight lieutenant and three other officers in the Indian Air Force, two of whom fall in love with the same girl. 

Dipti Bhatnagar, thus far restricted to making travel shows for the channel, has ventured into a daily afternoon soap, Kabhi Aaye Na Judai, that debuts on 27 January. It is the story of a happy united family that succumbs to the temptation that money brings and the disruption of the delicate balance of the family. Bhatnagar has preferred to stay behind the camera for this venture. 

BAG Films' that will end its Chalti Ka Naam Antakshari run on Star Plus come January, has readied another Sunday morning music show with Nausheen 'Kkusum' Aly Sardar as co-anchor. Hai Na Bolo Bolo, to premiere on 19 January will be an energetic Hindi film song-based game show, that will feature 'never seen before sophisticated software that will be used to play rounds based on popular household games like rummy, antakshari, snakes and ladders and noughts and crosses', says the channel. Karan Oberoi, part of A Band of Boys, co-hosts the show with Nausheen.

The new year will also see the telecast of two recent Hindi films - the blockbuster hit Raaz and Love ke Liye Kucch bhi karega both of which will air in January 2003. Khullja Sim Sim, the Aman Verma hosted game show, has also received a shot in the arm with a revamped format, a bigger jackpot and rejigged rules. 

The fare looks interesting, the menu well designed, now what's left to be seen is if the dish turns out to be what the viewer has ordered.

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