SABe continues in comedy vein with sitcom 'Akting Akting'

MUMBAI: While all mainstream Hindi entertainment channels are banking on drama and movie premieres to boost ratings, SABe TV intends to strengthen its primetime USP - comedy.

Keeping up with its new baseline "Dare to be different ", coined recently to coincide with the recent launch of, you guessed it, another sitcom called Public Hai Sab Janti Hai , the channel has announced a new comedy serial Akting Akting , which premieres on 9 December.

Gautam Adhikari: Dares to be different

"The audience feedback is indicative of the fact that at the end of the day when the viewers want to relax, they switch on to SABe TV and watch sitcoms like Office Office or Public Hai Sab Janti Hai , instead of the usual soaps on other channels," said SABe TV chairman Gautam Adhikari. "Not introducing saas-bahu soaps in our channel is a calculated move. Nowadays , the viewer is not able to distinguish one soap from the other, as they are all so similar. If we ever opt for a soap it will have to be different, especially content wise," he replied, when asked about the introduction of yet another sitcom to their prime time band.

Akting-Akting will star 'debutante' Sajid Khan and will showcase him in the role of a teacher of 'Mad Acting Institute'. The story line is based on antics of aspiring actors who come from different parts of the country, to learn acting in a school that is headed by a wacky teacher - Sajid - and owned by a lady who at one time nurtured ambitions of becoming an actress.

The sitcom will air Mondays and Tuesdays at 9 pm.

Special children band on the cards

In tune with its bid to be unique, the channel will introduce a special children band post-February next year.

"We intend to introduce a weekly children band wherein we will show kid-based programmes, dramas apart from the usual cartoons. Though the programmes will primarily be in- house productions, we are open to outsourcing as well. We will concentrate on the quality and the content of the programmes," says Adhikari.

The channel, which is just about two-and-a-half years old, has already established its image as a channel with unique programming with major emphasis on comedy and suspense thrillers. "We are concentrating on these two genres as the audience is now more alert and has matured. They are aware of what they want.The two said genres have tremendous scope in our country when compared to others. For example mythological and historical genres no longer interest viewers like they used to, say five years ago," explains Adhikari.

Adhikari Brothers to roll out 3-4 films every year

The channel, which has carved a niche for itself with its unique programming devoid of family soaps and movie premieres, now intends to also pay attention to youth-based programmes.

"We have kept our channel movie-free because they are not viable. The latest movies are not economical and old movies don't interest the viewer any more as they have been shown by the local cable operator umpteen number of times," said Adhikari when asked about the deliberate strategy to keep movies off the channel.

While the channel has kept movies off its inventory, like other production houses, the Adhikaris are alive to the potential of the film business. Wholly owned subsidiary Sri Adhikari Brothers Films Division Limited is all set to roll out three to four movies every year. "With the spurt in multiplexes across the city, well made films will always be in demand. We intend to make films with a maximum budget of 40 to 50 million rupees, as above that it is not economically viable," asserted Adhikari, who as reported earlier, is currently working on a musical suspense thriller starring Sunil Shetty.

SABe TV business taken over by Adhikari Brothers

Sri Adhikari Brothers Television Network Limited has informed BSE that the company has decided to take over the channel SABe TV's business with effect from January 2002. The takeover follows the shifting of the uplinking of the channel to India from Singapore last month, SABTNL vice-chairman and managing director Markand Adhikari has been quoted as saying.

The Reserve Bank of India, on 2 December, had consented to the takeover of the channel business, Markand Adhikari said, adding the company would have to recast the accounts for the period ended March 31, 2002 . The results for first and second quarter of 2002-2003 would also need to be recast, he said.

In another development, the SABTNL board accepted the resignation of T Ostwal as director of the Company at its meeting held on 31 October.

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