Zee bets big on its biggest ever production 'Time Bomb'

MUMBAI: How will you handle an explosive? Carefully and shrewdly. That is just what Zee TV is doing with its new weekly serial Time Bomb - an "international socio political psychological thriller" -- that is launching 20 June.

What makes Time Bomb a crucial property for Zee TV is that it has made huge investments on the project. Though channel executives were not forthcoming on the details, director Ketan Mehta gave some indication about the scale of the project when he revealed to that Time Bomb would be Zee's biggest production ever among soaps.

Director Ketan Mehta

Time bomb is the channel's first attempt in the spy thriller genre. It has roped in the cream of the industry, whether in terms of starcast or director, to be a part of the project. And the person who had taken the initiative to create the set up was none other than Zee Telefilms Ltd CMD Subhash Chandra.

"After I finished my movie The Rising, I got a call from Subhashji. He wanted me to do a project for Zee. It excited me. We kicked off the project six months ago," said Mehta at the media briefing announcing the launch of the mega-show.

Zee TV marketing head Mehra reveals that Zee is spending a significant amount of money in marketing Time Bomb. "The channel is spending its highest amount ever in marketing the serial. The outdoor campaign has already begun. We are doing it extensively."

Quite naturally, Zee has given its pet project an aggressive positioning. Time Bomb is a one-hour show starting at 10:00 pm airing only on Mondays. If one were to look at it from a genre perspective, it will be locking horns directly with Sony Entertainment Television's 10:30 pm thriller CID Special Bureau. It will of course also be coming up against Star Plus' Big Two soaps Kyunkii... and Kahaani...  Zee presents the cream of Indian television in 'Time Bomb'

Zee TV programming head Ashwini Yardi says the show was not slotted against Sony's successful Friday thriller CID since the channel didn't want to alter its Sa Re Ga Ma schedule. Yardi says the attempt is to tap various genres.

"With Kareena Kareena, we are exploring the dramedy genre. Then Sarrkkar is a political saga. Now, with Time Bomb, we are tapping the thriller space. Our efforts to innovate with various programming genres will continue," says Yardi.

Time Bomb is a fixed duration serial that will run for 25 weeks. Yardi doesn't rule out possibilities of a Time Bomb 2 if everything works out well. "If the show is successful, we will definitely look at giving it an extension. There could be a second part."

Zee presents the cream of Indian television in 'Time Bomb'

Time Bomb is also an attempt by the channel to woo the male audiences. When queried how risky it was to launch a male-oriented show in a space ruled by female-oriented soaps, Yadri said Time Bomb had strong female presence. "The show has strong female characters. Then, more than a soap, it is a high profile project, which we expect will surely attract the eyeballs."

"Our research findings have shown that people were eagerly waiting for this kind of a project," chips in Tarun Mehra.

Looks like it is bombs away on the programming front for Zee TV.

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