After India TV, Sharma to gear up for ent. channel

NEW DELHI: They say you really cannot forget your first love. And keeping his love story alive is Rajat Sharma, who promises to be back with his favourite Aap Ki Adalat show on India TV soon.

This time round, Sharma, chairman of India TV Pvt. Ltd., should not have much of a problem either. The channel is his own and Zee Telefilms Ltd, where Aap Ki Adalat was first conceived for Zee News by Sharma, is not making noises over copyright.

Speaking to, Sharma, showing child-like enthusiasm, said, "As soon as the set for Aap Ki Adalat is ready, the show would be on air." Rubbing his hand in glee, while showing our cameraman around his state-of-the-art studio complex, he added for good measure, "This is the place (Adalat show) where I actually want to be."

Asked, whether his former employer, Zee Telefilms, is likely to raise objections over India TV using a name of the programme that Zee had claimed to own the copyrights of, a confident Sharma said, "I don't think either Zee or its promoter, Subhash Chandra, would stoop to such levels. The matter has been sorted out."

So protective is Sharma about his first TV love that he even refused pictures to be taken of the in-the-making brand new set of the Adalat show. For record's sake, the new set is being designed by filmdom's maverick set designer, Nitin Desai, in a studio complex where even the lighting arrangements are computerised.

Sharma owes most of his claim to fame to Aap Ki Adalat, which had a successful run on Zee News --- till Sharma and Zee fell apart after almost five years of association in the late 1990s.

But if Sharma's love is blooming --- "I have always wanted to start a news channel that would fight for the common man's interest," says he --- his wife and business partner, Ritu Dhawan, is waiting for her turn under the sun.

A self-confessed low-profile person, Dhawan's dream is to start an entertainment channel, which is next in line after India TV.

Pointing out that though for the moment India TV is the passion for both, Sharma admitted, "I have promised her an entertainment channel and she'd have one." So, if NDTV, TV Today Network and Times TV are all thinking of having a number of channels in their respective stables, so is India TV.

"The concept for the entertainment channel that I have is different and, in all probability, work on it should start sometime next year," Dhawan said. 

The duo can afford to think big. After all, they are owners of one of the most swanky studio complexes not only in the country, but in the whole of Asia. Built on an area of 80,000 sq ft. the campus has four studios, all designed to air live programming simultaneously.

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