Sahara to launch afternoon soap 'Prratima' on 23 August

MUMBAI: Looks like Sahara is keen on buttressing its afternoon slot. Come 23 August and Rajaa Mukerji's (better known as Rani Mukerji's brother) maiden venture Prratima will roll on Sahara Manoranjan.

The daily will be aired every Monday-Thursday at 2:30 PM

At a media briefing hosted by Mukerji at 'The Club' (Andheri) last evening, Concept & Creative director Mukerji said that the show had been inspired by the late Tara Shankar Bandopadhyay's Bengali literature Protima. His mother Krishna and wife Jyothi are producing this Sahara show under Concept & Creative banner.

"It's a story about Prratima (essayed by Jyothi Mukerji), a dutiful daughter-in-law of the Sen household, set in old Kolkata. While Prratima is her father-in-law's choice for his son Amol (Anuj Saxena), her mother in law Sunanda (Kirron Kher) despises her immensely," Mukerji said.

So, what's new? Another saas bahu saga? Mukherji defended, "Saas bahu sagas work in our country! But my show is different from the existing ones. The mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law do not come face to face at any point of time."

"I had no hassles when I got the afternoon slot for this one. Who knows, the show may have got lost in the crowd at prime time," he added.

Kher was last last seen on TV in Dil Naa Jane Kyon, which was part of Zee's Chausath Panne series. Kher has also featured in serials like Isi Bahane, Purushkshetra, Kiron Kher Today and Jaagte Raho on the telly. On the film front, she has been lately seen in Farah Khan's Main Hoon Na and Kunal Kohli's Hum Tum.

Currently, she is doing an award-winning series ER, created by best-selling author Michael Crichton and awaiting the release of her Pakistani film Khamosh Pani directed by Sabiha Sumar.

The supporting cast of Prratima comprises Vineeta Malik, Pawan Kumar, Ekta Sharma, Raajiv Verma, Mansi Salvi, Shishir Sharma, Alka Kaushal, Nitesh Pandey, Sulbha Arya, Jayant Saverkar, Shashi Puri, Sadhna Singh, Dimple Inamdar, Buddhatiya, Shama Deshpande, Yatin Karyekar and Nigar Khan (of Lipstick fame). Jatin Lalit has composed the music score.

Rani Mukerji, who also attended the briefing, stated that her support to the project was purely emotional. "Like you'll have stood by me and helped me to reach where I am today, I request you to stand by my brother," she said.

Adding humorously, "I don't need to make any special appearances on my brother's show. If the show is good, it will last on its own steam. I do see television, for if I don't, I'll be lagging behind in life. I know for a fact that shows, which have held their own have not leaned on undue hype and hoopla (apparently, she was hinting at Kyunki..., Kahaani... and Kahiin..., the three money spinners from Balaji stable).

"I have full faith in my sister-in-law's acting abilities; she takes lessons from me every time before leaving for shooting," she added jocularly.

The show is directed by Ashok Gaekwad, who is currently busy with Star Plus' Des Mein Niklla Hoga Chand and Sony's Kkoi Dil Mein Hai. Rani revealed that she wanted Gaekwad to don the director's hat.

Emotional reasons again? "Yes," laughed the dusky actress, who is a front running contender for the Best Actress award this year (Mani Ratnam's Yuva, Yash Raj Films' Hum Tum and the yet-to-be-released Sanjay Leela's 'Black' which is carrying good reports about her extremely challenging role of a blind girl), "Gaekwad directed me in my first venture Raja Ki Aayegi Baaraat."

Continuing her support to her brother, she shot down a question from a journalist, who wanted to know whatever happened to Rajaa's pilot titled Kati Patang. Ditto when someone asked Rajaa to throw light on the reason for Prratima being so long in the making. "It's time to look forward. No controversies please," she quipped.

Prratima had Mukerji's courting controversy with Goldmines Media Limited, associates in the project. Goldmines had alleged last year that Mukerji had manhandled funds meant for the shoot.

Saxena (who has a penchant for opting out of shows- be it Sony's Kkusum, Star Plus' Saara Akaash, Sahara Manoranjan's Kuch Pal Saath Tumhara) made a hurried exit (even before the briefing started!), while Kher was conspicuous by her absence.

The briefing, which was followed by cocktails and dinner, later had some of the celebrities swinging away till nearly 2 am. Apart from Rani Mukerji, we saw Anil Kapoor, Govinda, Yash Chopra, Karan Johar, Ram Mukerji (Raja and Rani's father), Jyoti Mukerji, Girish Malik, Arjun Punj, Rajiv and Delnaz Paul, Amit and Vaibhavi Behl.

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