Sahara One plans mega game show; to rope in top Bollywood star

MUMBAI: It's raining game shows on Indian television again. Sahara One Television is in the process of developing its most expensive show ever - Mission Ek Crore.

What's more, the channel has associated with FremantleMedia India to develop, produce and license the game show format for the Indian as well as the international marketplace. The concept of the show was developed by Sahara One's in-house creative team.

Sahara One is also in the process of finalising a top Bollywood actor to host the show. Speaking on the possible launch date of Mission Ek Crore, Sahara One Television COO Purnendu Bose says, "We are trying to launch the show before the end of this financial year."

Interestingly, the curtains fall on Star Plus' Kaun Banega Crorepati 2 on 17 February 2006 when the total run of 85 episodes will be completed.

But Bose says the launch of Sahara's game show has no relation to KBC 2 as it is different as a concept and has the potential of being a big driver for the channel. "The idea, the star and live environment of the show gives us the confidence that it will succeed. It is our most expensive show ever and is being done on a very large scale," he adds.

According to information available with, Mission Ek Crore will have four participants who will be sent into a money spending frenzy -- the mission being to spend Rs 10 million (Rs 1 crore) under specific terms and conditions.

Mission Ek Crore, Bose says, is a landmark achievement in Indian television as the concept of the game show is developed locally by the Sahara One team, developed by a production house, and aimed at selling in international markets. "The deal between Sahara One Television and FremantleMedia India marks a new era for the Indian entertainment business, which has never before focused on developing game show formats with international potential."

In an interview with earlier this year, Fremantle India director of productions Gavin Wood had said that if Indian companies had an idea but not the ability to execute it, Fremantle would assist them in the development process, produce the show locally with them and then represent it internationally. This deal with Sahara One is only the beginning as far as this concept is concerned.

The common practice among leading broadcasters like Star and Sony is to acquire international format rights of game shows and telenovellas like Who Wants to be a Millionaire (Kaun Banega Crorepati), Dirty Rotten Cheater (Bluff Master), My Sweet Fat Latina (Dekho Magar Pyar Se), American Idol / Pop Idol (Indian Idol), Yo Soy Betty La Fea (Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahi) and Fame Academy (Fame Gurukul).

However, Indian broadcasters are now waking up and smelling the coffee. Sony has already taken its two shows - Kaisa Yeh Pyaar Hai and Yeh Meri Life Hai, which are not game shows - to Mipcom in Cannes this year for the purpose of syndication and formatting. The broadcaster will be offering customised solutions for the two shows, which will be tweaked to suit different regions, Sony AVP licensing and telephony Kaushal Modi had told

Sahara One's Mission Ek Crore will face stiff competition even as Star, Sony and Zee have lined up the launch of game shows. Star has bought the format rights of Endemol's The Match and will be rolling out its Indian version called The Cricket Match. Additionally, it has also pocketed the rights of the high-tension quiz show Heartbeat (also from Endemol).

On the other hand, Sony has already announced Indian Idol 2 and a game show called Deal Ya No Deal, which will be hosted by R Madhavan. Zee is also reported to have roped in Manoj Bajpai for its new game show Kum Ya Jyada. While Deal Ya No Deal's ultimate prize money is Rs 10 million, that of Kum Ya Jyada is believed to be Rs 30 million.

Shades of 2000 when Star Plus launched Kaun Banega Crorepati? Zee had then hastily put together the disastrous Sawaal Dus Crore Ka with Anupam Kher and Manisha Koirala while Sony joined the bandwagon by roping in Govinda for Jeeto Chappar Phaad Ke. Neither made an impact on the audiences.

There is a big difference between then and now, senior executives of these broadcast companies believe. They are confident that their game shows will reflect ratings.

Speaking about Mission Ek Crore and Sahara One's association with FremantleMedia, Sahara India Entertainment Management Company Limited (SIEMCL) managing director Shailendra Singh says, "We are very happy to join hands with FremantleMedia India to develop and produce this unique game show for us in India. FremantleMedia brings with them a high degree of international expertise backed by a successful track record of creating television shows that have changed the entertainment landscape across the globe."

Bose says, "Sahara One Television is constantly in the process of reinventing itself. We truly believe in the power of innovation. During the last few months we have launched a host of new shows, most of which have been appreciated by our viewers. With this new game show, it is our attempt to leverage that growth and momentum by taking the channel to the new level."

Wood adds, "India's positioning as a creative hub will only be enhanced when a new format that is born here can showcase India's originality, ingenuity and creativity in the world market. The combined development process will utilise our international resources and hands on production knowledge of some of FremantleMedia's most experienced creative directors."

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