Will the weekend viewer bite Zee telefilm bait?

MUMBAI: It may have slipped from the top 100 in the ratings stakes yet again, but the Original Movies, scheduled to start on Zee from this Saturday, is yet another programming innovation designed to lure in the recalcitrant viewer

the new slot win over viewers' hearts? Production houses, including Tony & Deeya Singh's DJ's Creative Unit and Manjul Sinha's company have been roped in to make full length feature films for Zee for the initial run. Zee TV president Apurva Purohit says the channel decided to zero in on the Saturday night 8 pm slot after in house research showed that there was a viewer demand for original content on weekend nights. The potent mix of passion and crime has been used as the thread which binds the original movies together in the Kambakht Ishq slot.

Purohit says the once- a-month films have been shot in the feature film format with similar big scale music, lighting and camera work. The channel has however planned only for a television release for the films and there are no plans for a theatre release for the movies in the near future.

Spun out of a 'reasonable' budget, Purohit expects the strategy to click, as the channel's restructuring of 'weekday programming' has been a success with audiences. The Singhs' first offering, Chura Ke Dil Mera, is also their first foray into feature film making. Makers of Banegi Apni Baat, Just Mohabbat and Dil Se Dosti for Zee, the Singhs say they decided on the feature film format as they had decided to do something very unusual and different, because almost every genre of programming has been done on television.

While most channels, wary of venturing into fresh programming prior to the World Cup, have still gone ahead and announced new daily serials, Zee too is likely to launch a couple of new year long dailies. Purohit however is loath to divulge details at this stage.

Chura Ke Dil Mera is a story of a journalist, played by Ram Kapoor and a famous socialite(Divya Datta) who is the bahu of a business family. They meet at a function and the journalist who had never had a relationship before develops an obsession for her. But as the obsession grows and the relationship gets passionate, strange and unexpected things start happening, leading to a totally unexpected climax. It deals with perfectly normal characters in a realistic milieu but things go awry and there is no point of return."

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