Ajay Jadeja, Sanjeev Kapoor to put on their dancing shoes on Sony

MUMBAI: Hindi general entertainment channel Sony has had success in the reality genre in the past with shows like Indian Idol. The channel is hoping to consolidate further with a new dance based reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Dancing With The Stars.

The show kicks off on 7 September and airs every Wednesday and Thursday at 10 pm.

Actor Shilpa Shetty (one of the judges) along with the celebrity contestants Rati Agnihotri, Shweta Salve, Mona Singh and Mahesh Majrekar For the uninitiated, the show is based on the BBC format Strictly Come Dancing. It also achieved success in the US on ABC.

There the show is called Dancing With The Stars. Basically well known personalities will show off their dancing skills. They will undergo two weeks of training with their partners who specialise in dancing.

For Sony's show, the celebrities chosen are former cricketer Ajay Jadeja, celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor, actress Rati Agnihotri, television anchor Pooja Bedi, TV actress Mona Singh, director Mahesh Manjrekar, TV star Shweta Salve and TV actor Akashdeep Sehgal.

The show is being produced by Synergy and Theatre Red. Each episode will see one team eliminated. Viewers can vote through SMS. The judges are director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, choreographer Farah Khan and actress Shilpa Shetty. Equal weightage in terms of points will be given to both the judges and the SMS' sent in by the viewers.

Set India COO NP Singh with ace choreographer Sandip Soparkar and SET senior V-P and programming head Anupama Mandloi

Speaking on the initiative, Sony COO N P Singh says, "The show is all about super achievers in their respective fields who are here yet again to excel in something new. The winner takes home Rs. 5 million. What is unique compared to other shows (read Star One's Nach Baliye) is that the celebrities do not know how their ability to dance is or is not. Maybe they will discover that they possess a talent to dance. We drew out a list of possible participants. We then decided that these were the celebrities who would be the best fit."

BBC Worldwide director of emerging territories Monisha Shah says, "The show is as good as it gets. It has swept global audiences off their feet and has become a ratings blockbuster in every continent. With its wonderful combination of glamour, talent and passion we are especially excited that Sony has taken BBC Worldwide's format and tailored it so well for the Indian audience. The judges, hosts, celebrities and their partners are all in place."

Synergy founder Siddharth Basu says," Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Dancing With The Stars is a grand and a glamorous show which is as much about live wire personalities and the fun of fusion dance as it is about the grit behind the glamour. It is not just about the usual suspects going through all too familiar routines but about the performance and pain of public figures who are not trained dancers and the fantastic journey they undertake to pit their best foot forward. That is what makes it the mother of all shows and that is what is making it work in countries around the world."

On the marketing front to push the show, Singh says that promo spots have been created. These are airing on the channel as well as in cinema halls. The channel is also taking out hoardings and is looking to have a presence in malls. There will also be print ads.

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