Star set to unleash new mega series 'Saara Akash'

MUMBAI: After a nearly six-month delay, the Miditech produced Saara Akash finally goes on air on Star Plus on 8 August.

The weekly, that will replace the action thriller Josh... Aktion Unlimited that winds up after its scheduled 13-week run on 1 August, dwells on life in the air force. Shot at the Indian Air Force base in Pune and in Mumbai, Saara Akash is a love story with air force life as the backdrop, says Star India vice president programming and communication, Tarun Katial.

The story revolves around five air force pilots, who have just finished their training, three of whom are childhood friends. There is also a brother sister relationship waiting to be explored in the plot. 

The cast has undergone quite a few changes since the series was first conceived, say industry watchers, and now boasts some big television names like Parmeet Sethi, Kiran Kumar, Manish Goyal, Shakti Anand, Anuj Saxena and Maanav Gohil. Katial says the lavish production is the first of its kind serial on life in the air force to debut on Indian satellite television. 

Unlike Josh, which had a finite 13-episode run on the channel, Saara Akash is poised for an initial 26-episode run, but could continue if it picks up well. Like all Star Plus' new shows, an innovative promo campaign is being spun around Saara Akash too, one which in all likelihood will be unleashed in the first week of August. 

The outgoing Josh, meanwhile, has not lived up to the expectations the channel had from the experimental theme. The Friday night series, recounted the story of an ex-cop (Salil Ankola), ex-conman (Vinod Sharawat) and a former police commissioner (Saurabh Shukla) who get together to fight crime. The series, touted as the 'biggest thing on Indian television' however, did not set the ratings afire, managing an average TRP of around three. In the week ended 5 July, 2003, the serial had managed a TVR of 3.7. 

The channel has meanwhile, lined up a surprise in two episodes of Josh in late July in the form of top model and not so happening actor Aditi Govitrikar. When quizzed about Govitrikar's reported entry into Josh at the fag end of the series, all Katial would offer was, "Watch it!"

Govitrikar will be seen in Josh on 18 and 25 July. When contacted, she said, "I thought we would be able to pull it off as a surprise, but I don't know how you guys get to know everything beforehand." 

So what's her role? "It's typical action stuff. I step into a new story which would involve two episodes only. I had to learn horse riding and lots of stunts for it, but it was great fun. I shot for the two episodes for nine days. Believe me, I loved Josh ever since it began. The makers have dared to be different, and it's time television attempts a bit of novelty." 

But how come suddenly we see her in a serial? She shot back, "Have I ever stated that I won't do television? In fact, I am looking at doing quite a bit of work on television, but after some time. There are a few offers even on date, though."

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