DD forays into supernatural territory with 'Aap Beeti'

Doordarshan is shedding its image of a do-gooder pubcaster that has always scored the lowest on the vulgarity and violence front.

Beginning tonight, the national network is getting its hands into the blood and gore business when it starts the telecast of horror serial Aap Beeti, in the Saturday prime time slot. From the BR Chopra stables, Aap Beeti is directed by Ravi Chopra. The production house confirms that the serial is the first in the supernatural genre to hit DD1. Each story in the serial will be spread over two episodes, which will be aired in the 9:30 - 10:30 pm slot. 

Aap Beeti is being pegged as a serial about "man's encounter with spirits". Doordarshan, under the leadership of CEO Anil Baijal, has apparently come to the conclusion that it will have to follow winning formulae that have been a hit with satellite channels if it has to retain its hold on viewers. The pubcaster has seen a good response to Shaktimaan, its fantasy series, and Suraag the detective serial over the last one year, and had recently asked private producers to come up with shows in several genres. Aap Beeti seems to be the first step in the direction. 

Its social service mould has thus far held DD back from going in for overtly violent programming. In fact, a 1998 study conducted by the Centre for Advocacy and Research has pointed out that among the five channels surveyed, 759 distinct acts of violence were observed over a period of nine days. 'In proportion to the hours monitored Zee had the highest acts of violence and DD1 had the lowest', the study says. 

Satellite channels have had X-Zone and Anhonee on Zee which together had 118 or 53 and 65 acts of violence respectively, according to the study. Aahat, the hit horror serial on Sony had 13 acts of violence while Kohra on Star Plus had 30 acts of violence in a single episode. However, DD had its own share of blame. The child specific Shaktimaan had 17 acts of violence in a single episode, the study says. 

Aap Beeti will try to get more eyeballs by putting up contests for viewers and giving away gold coins and other goodies as gifts, according to the production house.

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