Star primed to pump in some 'Josh'

NEW DELHI: Star India probably is trying to re-invent itself and find alternatives to the tear-jerkers revolving round women on Star Plus, which has helped the whole Network retain its No. 1 spot. And Ak.tion Unlimited Josh, touted by Star as "television's(?) biggest series."

Welcome to the world of ex-cop (Salil Ankola), ex-conman (Vinod Sharawat) and a former police commissioner (Saurabh Shukla). All three get together to fight crime. What's more, they glide through pulsating techno-clubs, bluster their way through casinos, out in the night. Wolfish and hungry, they are up for anything that will make them feel alive --- and helping them are techno nerds with special effects that are said to be almost unbelievable.

A case of John Wu meets Sunny Deol's The Hero? Well, why not?

Salil Ankola

"Josh is an attempt to do something daring, bold and different. It has been a dream project for all of us at Star and we hope the viewers will also like it," says Star India's COO Sameer Nair. Though Nair and gang (the pun is completely unintentional) are absolutely not saying a word on the cost of this cop-robber 13-epsiode action routine --- "the biggest and the boldest show" as a press release from Star said --- industry insiders say Rs 1.5 million per episode is Star's payout.

If that's any indication of the resources that have gone in the making of Josh, produced by Zeitgeist Motion Imaging Co. Pvt. Ltd., no wonder director Anil Naidu is brimming with confidence. According to him, "Josh will change the face of fiction in India forever --- that's the idea."

Vinod Sharawat

Josh will replace the gameshow Khulja Sim Sim which is in the Friday 9 pm slot. However, Khulja .... is not going off air. It simply moves up a day into the Thursday 9 pm slot and replaces Kashmeer, which is ending its run.

Josh is meant to be a 13-episode mini-series. Star looks to be hedging its bets with the show. If Josh takes off, the option is there to extend it, if not, Star can move on to something else without the hassles linked to a premature wind-up.

Josh has the advertising support of leading brands including Coke, LG, Samsung, Hero Honda, Hyundai and Ambuja Cement. Though the new series seems an aggressive attempt by Star Plus to lure the male audience that are interested in such action oriented programmes, Nair feels that Josh would be liked by all sorts of audience.

"It is only the media that keeps on saying that audiences have got sick of saas-bahu serials. The TRPs don't support such so-called fatigue. So, it'd be wrong to say that Star is attempting to woo any particular section of the audience. Josh is for the whole family," Nair quips when asked whether the K factor has started giving diminishing ROI (return on investment) and the likes of Josh are an attempt to arrest the slide in fortunes.

Whether the Indian audiences are ready to accept MI and Matrix-type stunt-filled TV serials on the small screen remains to be seen. But the whole Delhi media is still guessing whether a journo challenging the three main characters of Josh to some `live' action during a press conference was play acting or for real. Many journalists feel that bit was also a stunt like the parda phaar kar entry of the three main protagonists of Josh.

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