Star Vijay confident that show hosted by Lakshmi will shake Sun TV stranglehold in TN

MUMBAI: It was just under a year ago that Star India announced it had acquired a majority stake in the Tamil regional language channel Vijay TV (9 August 2001). Now, nearly 10 months after the channel went digital with a whole new programming menu on 1 October, Star Vijay looks to have a show that can lead the challenge against Tamil titan Sun TV.

Just into its second week, Kathai Alla Nijam (KAN), Tamil TV's first "real" reality show, has caught the imagination of the viewer in Tamil Nadu, asserts Ajay Vidyasagar, general manager regional channels, Star India. Vidyasagar is confident that when the TAM ratings data is released next week, his contention will be borne out.

REALITY-STRUCK: Kathai Alla Nijam show host Lakshmi with orphan Abhi in a shot from yesterday's episode.

KAN is an episodic format live phone-in show with well-known film personality Lakshmi hosting. Produced by acclaimed film director K Balachandar's Min Bin Bangal Productions, the show, heavily research based, picks up from true-life incidents that have been reported in the press. Human interest stories are what the show tracks down as a follow up to what has appeared in the media and may have slipped out of the public conciousness, says Vidyasagar.

Yesterday's episode was about a boy who has been thrice orphaned. Eight-year-old Abhi was initially found wandering alone at the Palakkad municipal bus stop in the southern state of Kerala by the local police. Unable to trace his parents, the police handed him over to a local orphanage. 

Abhi was then claimed by a resident of Kollam in Kerala who took care of him for two years. After that, however, the woman found her own child again and the boy was sent back to the orphanage. Seven days after the boy's return to the orphanage, a 75-year-old woman read about the boy's tale in a local paper and decided to be his sponsor. A few months of her taking him under his wing, the woman's husband died. The boy was back in the orphanage after this because the woman's children decided she was too old to stay on her own and took her with them. Abhi currently studies in the Ramkrishna Mission Ashram in Trissur.

Balachandar has a panel of journalists and four Tamil publications that he uses to source material for his shows, says Vidyasagar. The concept was developed inhouse some time in December but actual work on the show has been going on for the last three-and-a-half months, says Vidyasagar. They currently have enough source material with all the background information verified for 75 episodes, he adds.

Vidyasagar claims that the show has got distributors and advertisers massively excited because of the viewer response. KAN has three main sponsors - retail chain Sabiksha, oil brand Goldusimer and FMCG company Cavinkare for their fairness cream brand Fairever.

KAN is a one-hour show that airs live Mondays to Fridays from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm with a repeat telecast from 10 pm onwards. 

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