Television

Star Plus' 'Shararath' to cast a spell on Fridays

MUMBAI: After having established a stronghold among the female audience with soaps like Kyunki.....and Kahaani..... Star Plus is now gearing up to lure the youth. Shararath - Thoda Jadu, Thodi Nazakat (STJTN), the channel's latest offering is targeted at the 4-14 age group.



The sitcom, the latest from United Television (UTV) is based on three women and their magical powers. The show, which is part of the bouquet of new programmes slated for 2003 will premiere on 24 January at 9 pm

"Innovation is the buzzword today. With Kyunki .. and Kahaani. raking in top TRPs , the channel is willing to innovate and give more to viewers in terms of variety," said Star India COO Sameer Nair.



The story of STJTN goes back to Rani Devi (played by Shammi) whose good deeds bear fruit when a sage gives her a blessing that the first born female of her lineage would get magical powers to do good on her 18th birthday.

STJTN thus begins with Jeeya Malhotra, a teenager (played by Shruti Seth ) discovering on her eighteenth birthday that she is a 'pari' who possesses magical powers.

Though the scriptwriters admit that the three characters have been inspired by Archies comics' cartoon character - Sabrina the teen witch and her two aunts, Zelda and Hilda, they claim to have given them an Indian touch, to cater to the Indian audience.

" Comedy and children's programmes are two genres which are yet to be tapped. Though soaps are vital for any channel, it needs to cater to the younger audiences as well. STJTN is wholesome family entertainment and has been made keeping the youth in mind," comments UTV Creative Director Zarina Mehta.

Poonam Narula Goel plays the role of Jeeya's mother and versatile actress Farida Jalal plays the fun loving Nani. The show is primarily about the trio and the comedy of blunders when they use and sometimes misuse their powers.



Mahesh Thakur plays Suraj (Jeeya's father) who is disappointed that his daughter has inherited these powers. Shoma Anand plays the role of Mrs Shanti Sabharwal, the nosey neighbour who keeps harassing the Malhotras by spying on them using her husband's binoculars.

The show boasts of special effects by Keya Banerjee who believes that, "Special effects need to be done carefully and tastefully as they can either make a story or destroy it. Special effects have a vital role to play in this sitcom ,as they not only enhance the show aesthetically but also give it the required magical touch. Each episode will have at least two to three special effects."



" We have no programmes for kids. The latest research shows that most of them sit down and watch soaps not out of choice but because there are no programmes for them other than the usual cartoons. STJTN primarily caters to this audience," said UTV COO Manish Popat, when asked what prompted the production huse to opt for a sitcom when soaps are dominating the TRP charts.

STJTN has been created by Zarina Mehta and directed by Rajiv Mehra of Zaban Sambhal Ke and Office Office fame. Sutapa Sikdar and Ashwini Dhir have penned the episodes. "So far four episodes have been shot," confirms Rajiv Mehra.

UTV currently has various serials like Kehta Hai Dil, Shagun , Bhabhi, Khichdi, Shaka Laka Boom Boom airing on Star Plus. What remains to be seen is if its latest offering STJTNis able to cast a similar spell for the channel and garner the viewership it is aiming at.

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