Star Plus' valiant 'Hatim' wins over audiences on debut

MUMBAI: Welcoming the New Year, Star Plus has good reason to fan out its plumage and show it off in full splendour. The grandeur and special effects of the fast-paced fantasy saga Hatim seem to have struck a happy chord with the audiences - if the ratings notched up by the weekly in its opening episode are anything to go by.

According to All India CS 4+ TAM data, the fantasy adventure series that debuted on Star Plus on Friday, 26 December 2003 at 8 pm has knocked up a TVR of 5.3 claiming the 23rd position in the all India rankings for the week ended 28 December 2003.

The numbers for the Hindi speaking market are even better. Hatim has notched a healthy TVR of 7.9 in the Hindi speaking markets, which as a Star India spokeperson put it, is a more accurate indicator of audience response for a Hindi language series.

And as with most new serials it throws up, the channel made sure there was some innovative promotional efforts behind Hatim. As part of the outdoor campaign is the colossal 30-feet inflate of Hatim, the lead character in the serial, that is being taken across Mumbai and positioned at strategic locations in a bid to woo kids.

The spokesperson said the Hatim inflate is constantly on the move and is being placed where children are likely to converge in good numbers. While the inflate will remain stationed near Haikone at Hiranandani Complex, Powai till today, it is expected to move on tomorrow to R Mall in Mulund, after which it will travel to Phoenix Mills in Lower Parel. It has no fixed route. Other regular outdoor and on-air promos have been going on in full force since the last month.

The series goes the whole hog to weave rich production values like 3D characters, visual effects, psychedelic sets and graphics into the story. What is imparting superior value to the series is the dramatic presence of Hindi film villain Nirmal Pandey who, as per the common perception, ends up with a deeper impact than the hero himself.

The fantasy saga directed by Amrit Sagar and Shakti Sagar is about the adventures of the prince of Yemen, Hatim (played by Raahil Azim) who is on a mission to rescue his beloved princess and the world from the clutches of the evil Dajjal (played by Nirmal Pandey). Hatim's quest to find answers to the seven questions that can save the world leads him to strange lands and alien creatures.

This is not the first time the Hatim Tai saga is being shown on television. It is a story that has been told several times over through films and TV serials, not to mention numerous comic book series. Nonetheless, kids and other audience groups have taken well to the mythological adventure saga.

Now it remains to be seen whether the series will sustain the response that it has generated on debut or fizzle out like some of the recent high expectation - low results programme launches.

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