Sahara pins hopes on 'Sahib Biwi Gulam'

MUMBAI: Sahara Manoranjan today organised a first of its kind post-telecast media conference in Mumbai for their latest serial Sahib Biwi Gulam (SBG).

Sahara India's head of corporate communications Abhijit Sarkar, senior VP programming Triptii Sharma, actors Ayub Khan, Raveena Tandon, Rajesh Shringarpure, the serial's creative head Rituparno Ghosh, director Amitava Bhattacharya more than represented the Sahara Parivar at the press meet as they took center stage.

The reason behind making SBG was put down to reviving the Indian culture and hence the need was felt to put Bimal Mitra's novel on to the small screen. "We also wanted to develop the Bengal industry and we have more projects in the pipeline for that," said Sarkar.

Raveena Tandon and Ayub Khan in Sahib Biwi Gulam

Tandon, in her first media conference after her wedding, looked radiant as ever. She said that they were not going as per Guru Dutt's classic but were following Mitra's novel. "In a three hour capsule, the film focussed on only the love triangle but herein, people would get to know many things which were left unsaid in the film - like, Who was Chotti Bahu? Why had she to live such a wretched existence?"

Tandon said it was a pleasure to work on television and was enjoying every bit of it. "I shoot for about 10 days for this serial and have the remaining time to myself. From here on, I am cutting down on my work and will take up films which would suit my image and maturity. I had agreed to do four films starting in May, but I may back out from a few of them. I want to give time to my husband and family," she revealed.

A scene from Sahib Biwi Gulam

When inquired by whether the show would have a definite length or was it going to be one-of-those never ending sagas, Sharma said, "The serial will last upto 104 episodes."

Ghosh who is currently getting his film Raincoat ready for release said that recently he hadn't been able to give much time on the studios due to his assignment but would be doing the needful very soon.

When asked by whether Sahara was taking a lot of big risks buy going ahead with huge extravaganzas with film stars, keeping in mind that Karishma- Miracles of destiny has bombed and Malini Iyer has received mixed reviews, Sharma said, "Karishma...' hasn't done well mainly due to two reasons. One, the Bradford controversy pulled it down. Two, there has been an error in the structure formatting. But we are looking into it and engineering some changes which would be seen soon. It's nice to work with Bollywood stars for the simple reason that they bring in a lot of creativity. Like, the Chotti Bahu role in SBG was too complex and only someone with cinematic experience could have done it."

When asked where some characters like Arbaaz Khan had disappeared from the serial, Sharma was quick to point out that the serial had several tracks which in turn might generate such a feeling for some actor at some stage, adding that "nobody is out of the serial."

Sahara is roping in more Bollywood personalities in the coming days. "We are at the stage of talks, concept and script with a show which will have Amitabh Bachchan. It is difficult to say when exactly we'll start rolling. That would depend on Bachchan's dates. Plus we are planning a variety show with Shekhar Suman as anchor. And then, there's the Hema Malini starrer Kamini Damini by Ravi Chopra, which should be on air in June or July," Sharma concluded.

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