Television

Star Plus launches its own Spanish novella

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MUMBAI: Talk of competition. If Sony is ready to launch two new dailies on the same day, sometime next month (tentatively 2 August), viz Miditech's Hum 2 Hai Na (8 pm) and Cinevistaas' Aayushman (8:30 pm), can arch rival Star Plus be far behind? On date, it has its nose in front. Come 26 July, Star Plus will roll with a new daily (Monday -Thursday) in the 8 pm band.

 

The show in question, Dekho Magar Pyaar Se, which was formally launched in Mumbai this afternoon, has been produced by Shrey Guleri and has just eight episodes in the bank. That's quite a small number considering it is a daily, and one cannot avoid getting a feeling that the channel is in a hurry to get off the blocks first.



Guleri (Prime Channel) has been associated with Star Plus for five shows in the past - Tu Tu Main Main, Bakeman's Ooh La La, Gharwali Uparwali, Gharwali Uparwali Aur Sunny (a sequel to the last mentioned one) and Hum Saath Aath Hain.



Speaking on the occasion, Star India senior VP content and communications Deepak Segal said, "We had a brainstorming session before we zeroed in on Guleri. We felt Guleri has an interesting way of presentation, which would be very important to hold the audiences in a daily."



Dekho Magar..., which is the Indianised version of a Spanish show My Sweet Fat Valentina, has displaced four shows on India's leading entertainment channel. Krisshna Arjun is over and done. Ditto for Kyun Hota Hai Pyarrr. It's said that Khichdi remains in production and will return in a new avtaar. Son Pari has been shifted to Saturdays. A calculated risk? Justifying that Dekho Magar... had such an interesting story that viewers wouldn't like to wait until next week and hence a daily, Segal added, "We'll have to introduce modifications to suit Indian sensibilities. There are lots of intimate scenes in the original."



Howsoever one tried to avoid comparisons while seeing the teasers, there was no getting away from the feeling that the show resembled Sony's Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin at least as far as its basic premise was concerned. The protagonist is a plane Jane, the going is tough for her, the title pleads 'see her but with love'...



But Segal defended, "Nikki is not an underdog like Jassi working in a fashion house. Plus we have taken the rights of the Spanish show from the same company that made Betty La Fea' (on which Jassi... is based). Surely, the company wouldn't dish out two similar products. Parallels are likely to be drawn, but we know for a fact that Dekho Magar... is far different from Jassi..."



The story of Dekho Magar... revolves around a fat girl Nikita Sarin (they call her Niki in the serial, pyaar se), who wins the heart of a handsome young man. Shweta Agarwal plays Niki. Shweta had made her serial debut in a Star show Shagun two years ago, but moved down South when Tollywood called. "I did a couple of Telugu films, plus some music videos and now I am back on mainstream television," said the overweight bespectacled girl.



It would be interesting to see whether her glasses remain and her attire continues to be non-trendy as the show goes along. On the other hand, Sony on date is apparently on the verge of doing away with the braces and glasses of Jassi, err, Mona Singh.



The remaining cast comprises - Keith Sequeria, film actress Anuradha Patel (grand-daughter of the grand old man of Indian cinema, late Ashok Kumar, she has also been seen in Jassi..., Kabhi Kabhi and Ijaazat on the tube), Ashish Kaul, Reena Wadhwa, Malini Kapoor, Reena Kapoor, Amit Behl, Anupam Bhattacharya, Sushma Prakash, Manoj Bidwai and Vaishnavi Mahant.



Dekho Magar... opens with Niki waiting for her mother (Anuradha Patel) to be present at her graduation ceremony. This is the reunion young Niki has been waiting for. But her mother dies in a mishap leaving the teenager alone. Forced to go and live with her uncle and a scheming aunt, Niki develops a crush in Karan. However, Karan has a steady girlfriend. What follows is heartbreak and despondence. Hereafter, she stumbles upon some startling revelations which compel her to choose between revenge and protecting her true love from destroying her own world.



Now, the next question. Is Star Plus getting ready with another daily at the 8.30 pm slot, which would precisely lock horns with Cinevistaas' Aayushman? One could sniff this when Ajay Vidyasagar (Star India, senior VP, marketing and publicity) mentioned that "We will be seeing you guys once a month in the near future." As it is, there is a buzz that Kasauti Zindagii Kay might be shifted.



The news on that should be out sooner or later.

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