Television

Sony meets its match in Madhuri

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It was a celebration of survival. Sony?s court battle scarred Shubh Vivaah, now officially christened Kahin Na Kahin Koi Hay (KNKKH numerology, Balaji tactic) celebrated its long awaited birth with a lavish do at the Taj last Friday night.

And although KNKKH made its debut announcement along with three other shows that are being launched in the course of the next two months on Sony, the launch party made it quite clear that it was Madhuri and her match fixing talents that Sony is banking on. Literally.

SET Indian CEO Kunal Dasgupta made the perfunctory speech extolling the USPs of Bachke Rehna, Kya Haadsa Kya Haqeeqat and Kuch Kehti Hay Yeh Dhun ( he even forgot Mohnish Behl?s name, who is to anchor Bachke Rehnaa!) before the spotlight turned to Madhuri. Fawned over and badgered alternately, the lady handled mediapersons? questions with aplomb - innocuous, obnoxious and obvious as some of them were.

While hubby Dr Shriram Nene stayed away from the spotlight, self confessed admirer MF Hussain was at hand to keep overbearing photographers and inquisitive journalists at arm?s length from the actress. Dixit, dazzling in a red and gold brocade saree, ably fended off journalists? queries and gamely smiled her famed million dollar smile for the paparazzi, all the time ably supported by Dasgupta and Zarina Mehta, the producer of the UTV show. Although the party was ostensibly to launch all four shows, neither Raageshwari (anchor of Kucch Kehti Hay Yeh Dhun), nor Mohnish Behl, nor anyone from the Balaji stables (producer of the weekend thriller) graced the occasion with their presence.

The promos of KNKKH, aired for the media?s benefit, could have fooled a viewer - almost constructed on the lines of Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, it has all the elements of ritual, tradition and elaborate ceremony, weaved together by the talented actress, who can be both glamorous and credible at the same time. A catchy theme song, thorough research and glam sets (put up by Nitin Desai) mark the show - Mehta is not far off the mark when she says KNKKH is one of the production house?s biggest ventures thus far. 33 episodes, featuring the first 11 eligible girls and their possible-n-prospective grooms have been shot till now, and UTV promoter Ronnie Screwvala says they been flooded with applicants even though Sony has not even started inviting applications in earnest. Most, he points out, are from young girls from the middle class who are making a beeline for being matrimonially fixed by la Dixit. That the glamorous star herself took the matrimonial plunge in conventional ?arranged style? two years ago helped no end in boosting her credibility and acceptance, was the buzz at the launch.

Screwvala preferred to stay on the sidelines though, evidently basking in the attention and affection Madhuri and consequently his show were attracting from the media that thronged the venue. Devdas producer Bharat Shah, who made a brief appearance, was basking too - in the buzz his just released film was making. Astrologers, lac bangle makers and mehndi appliers dotted the Ball Room that bore the look of a heavily decorated marriage hall, complete with rose petals and attar. Whether or not KNKKH succeeds in leading young women to a similar setting remains to be seen, but Sony seems to have met the match it was seeking in Madhuri?.

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