'Project Swades' to mark Star Gold re-launch

MUMBAI: If the indications are anything to go by, for the first time in 2005, Television's Hindi movie space is going to witness some major shake-ups. Triggering an interesting battle of sorts will be the aggressive posture taken by Star India's Hindi movie channel Star Gold.

Sameer Nair with Ashutosh Gowarikar at 'Project Swadesh' announcement

As already reported by, Star Gold, presently positioned third in the market behind Zee Cinema and Set Max, is in the middle of a major revamp. The channel, inspired by recent acquisitions such as the Vashu Bhagnani library and biggies including Virudh and Paheli, will fire the first shot on 15 August by premiering Ashutosh Gowarikar's Shahrukh Khan starrer Swades at 1 pm.

"The game plan for this year is to place Star Plus ahead of its competitors in the weekends and make Star Gold the number one movie channel. For Star Gold, our strategy is to bring every possible movie on the channel. The target is to overtake our competitors in the next four to five months," says Star India COO Sameer Nair.

When queried how he would achieve the target in the given time, Nair expressed his confidence that the big movies that are in the possession of the channel would trigger the turnaround. "In the coming months, you will get to watch a lot of big as well as popular movies on Star Gold. The strategy may not wholly depend on big blockbusters. We have got a good bank of popular movies as well," Nair says.

Following Swades will be the Big B starrer Black, scheduled for a September screening. Speaking on the time slot for movie premieres, Star Gold vice president Alif Surti said the channel was yet to finalise the details. "Premiering Swades at 1 pm on a Monday is a one-off case. We are yet to zero in on the time slot for our big movies," Surti says.

'Project Swades' goes beyond TRPs

Staying away from the promotional gimmicks that channels normally resort to when it comes to big movie premieres, Star Gold has initiated Project Swades to boost the confidence of those hidden Mohan Bhargawas (the character played by Shahrukh Khan in Swades) across the country. The channel has joined hands with Gowarikar and the NGO portal to launch the project, which takes a cue from the film. Project Swades will work on generating electricity for a village in rural India.

To create awareness of the project, Star is banking on on-air promos. The promos urge viewers to SMS Swades to 7827 and each SMS will be a donation of Rs 10 to the Project Swades Fund. Star Gold will match each donation with an equal amount and the fund management will be executed under the guidance of

The selection of the target village would be done by a panel consisting of all partners of the project. The ground work and implementation will kick off on 30 September.

Star has also shot promos featuring three real life 'Mohan Bhargawas' -- the ex-IIT Mumbai & rain water harvester Janak Dafatari, aerospace engineer Dr Kari Appa and returned NRI duo Manjunath and Chandrasekhar. Then we have more promos featuring Gowarikar and Shahrukh Khan where they pose the question: "Do you have a Mohan Bhargawa in you?" The promos are placed across the network with a special emphasis on KBC 2.

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