'Naam Gum Jaayega' to exit after 28 August

MUMBAI: Another big ticket Sony show bites the dust. Naam Gum Jaayega, launched two months ago amid much fanfare by the channel, will air its last episode on 28 August. Killed abruptly, the Shobhna Desai production was supposed to be one of the major launches on the channel this year.

An innovative theme about changelings belonging to different religions whose families discover the swap 20 years later, the concept initially broached sensitive communal feelings. The channel dropped the communal angle when it did not find favour with audiences and shifted focus on to the romantic liaisons of the protagonists. That track did not work either, admits Sony's online programming head Anupama Mandloi.

With the TRPs of NGJ keeping the show out of the top 100 shows on satellite channels in the country as well as the top shows of Sony, the channel has decided to kill it in infancy. Sony did this earlier this year with Balaji Telefilms' Kahaani Terri Merri replacing another Balaji show Kutumb. Ektaa Kapoor's TV take on the film Devdas however, did not set the ratings on fire. KTM was dropped and NGJ brought in its place. Now NGJ makes way for Jassi Jaissa Koi Nahin, an Indianised version of Yo Soy Betty La Fea, the Latin American show that has captivated a reported 80 million viewers in 25 countries.

Sony had got NGJ lead protagonists Shilpa Kadam and Gauri Pradhan to sign a year long exclusivity contract, which will now be utilised on some other programming, says Mandloi.

In April, SET India executive vice president Sunil Lulla, when queried as to whether the show would be given an extended run unlike the fate that befell two earlier attempts at being different Dhadkan (a medical drama) and Hubahu (about twins switching identities), had said the series was planned with an extended duration in mind. Careful background work had gone into the creation of the show keeping all issues in mind, he had said at the time. Today, he maintained that keeping up with the competition had caused the closure of NGJ.

While KTM launched on 20 January and ended on 15 May, NGJ started on 19 May and had a run of 60 episodes. Jassi, according to director Tony Singh, will have a run of over 300 episodes. "The series has a set script and hence a finite number of episodes - it should not go on for over a year and a half," he says.

It is to be hoped that Jassi completes its run as per the current plan. This continuing chop and change must be leaving the viewers rather confused.

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