Will Karishma be the miracle to turn television viewership on its head?

It could be the small screen blockbuster of the decade. Or it could end up a dud. Whatever the outcome, Karishma - The Miracles of Destiny has already earned the distinction of having scripted a different path for meandering Indian television.

Born of the vision of a rich beyond dreams entrepreneur, who has successfully merged his personal dreams with the glitterati of the country, Karishma is the combination of a long cherished dream and a well calculated strategy. Indian television audiences have never had it so good. Foreign locales, lavish sets, high drama, exotic costumes, music, action and a line up of Bollywood stars - Sahara has zeroed in on the one weakness common to all Indians, packaged it in daily 24 minute doses and served it up free on a FTA channel!

The combination is potent enough for anonymous rivals to back a US author into filing a copyright infringement suit against Sahara and obtain a last minute stay on the telecast. While it may not stand up to the financial and political muscle of the Sahara empire, the suit has definitely put a spanner in the Karishma works for the present. Promotional and marketing activity, pegged at anything over Rs 10 crore by industry estimates, has had to be ground to a halt. But both the channel and the creative brains behind the show are confident that once Karishma takes its bow on the airwaves, nothing?s gonna stop it!

True to Sahara tradition, no expense has been spared in the making of the serial. Producer Akashdeep is loath to putting a figure on how much Sahara is shelling out per episode. "It?s to the channel?s credit that they have denied me nothing," he gushes, "but right now, I am definitely going broke. But I don?t mind?.it?s a labour of love," he insists. This labour of love, taking into account shoots abroad, starry whims and high production values could well be eating into Rs three million or more per episode. Click here for a tete a tete with Karishma?s creative director Akashdeep?

More than for Akashdeep, thus far a film and ad director of mediocre status, Karishma is a major gamble for Sahara. In a conditional access scenario, the FTA channel hopes to catch viewer fancy with this show, and hook the viewers for more with coming attractions like the Sridevi starrer - Hamari Bahu Malini Iyer. A Saira Banu produced Kisse Kahe Apna is also slotted in the 10 pm band, immediately after Karishma, three weeks from now. Clearly, no marketing effort?s going to be too little at this point for Sahara. "We are pushing Karishma as one would a FMCG product, reaching out to as many people as possible," says Sahara TV president Satish Menon. Advertisers are now more enthusiastic than they have been in the past, says Menon.

Marico, Johnson & Johnson, Bajaj Auto, Cadilla, Camay and Mortein have been roped in to sponsor Karishma, while others like Godrej and Anherb are going in for spot buys. Karishma also marks the beginning of a different strategy. "We are moving away from being a mere FCT provider to being a total solutions provider," claims Menon. There will be ground level activities specific to geographical areas advertisers want to concentrate on, apart from tie ups and other promotions.

There?s more than tie ups with Shoppers Stop, Ebony, Food World and D Mart outlets and painted trains and hoardings designed by ace designer Rahul Nanda ( Mega-promotions to ring in Sahara?s ?Karishma?) that Karishma hopes to build its cache with viewers. After the initial burst of promo activity, the channel will start Karishma Clubs to build loyalty with the show. There will be mementos, coffee table books on Karishma and her lineage?.

Another viewer weak spot that Sahara has targeted is getting well known filmstars to endorse the show, appear on screen and wish their siblings who star in Karishma. Thus you have Kareena Kapoor, Anil Kapoor and Salman Khan appearing before the show starts, wishing Karisma, Sanjay Kapoor and Arbaaz Khan. Dil Ki Baatein is another smart move to rope in filmstars to talk about their lives in two minute interstitials, while promoting the next serial on air. Needless to say, Akashdeep?s connections with the film world have come in handy.

All cause enough for rival and non FTA channels to take a second serious look at the channel thus far shrugged off as downmarket and unglamorous (despite good shows like Haqeeqat and Kagaar in the past). Karishma?s timing (Menon says the 9.30 pm slot is when the audience is really hungry for shows) will clash with most of Star?s shows like Sanjivani, Kasautii Zindagi Kay, Kehta Hai Dil and the upcoming suspense show on Sony, Naam Gum Jayega. Zee may escape some of the Karishma heat due to its Sunday-Wednesday programming strategy, but Miit could be hit. Although no one wants to admit their worries about Karishma outright, the copyright suit itself speaks volumes, point out industry insiders.

Simply put, Karishma is a film on TV, stretched for an estimated 220 episodes. There are 50 songs composed by Anu Malik, sung by the likes of Pankaj Udhas and Talat Aziz, dances choreographed by Saroj Khan, action by Ravi Dewan, looks created by designer Manish Malhotra and actors mouthing dialogue scripted by veteran Sachin Bhowmick. What more could a Hindi film buff ask for?

Sahara Media and Entertainment head Sumit Roy recently said that both Karishma and the Sridevi show would have a finite number of episodes and would not be unnecessarily be dragged on. But if the idea clicks, both Akashdeep and Menon acquiesce, it?s a story that could be developed for a much longer time.

For conversations with Karishma actors, click here...

For a tete a tete with scriptwriter Sachin Bhowmick, click here...

For a chat with producer actor Sheeba, click here...

Latest Reads
Amazon most advertised brand in BARC week 41

The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India has released its data for last week’s top advertisers and brands between 6-12 October 2018. The data is a reflection of top 10 advertiser and brands across genre on Indian television (U+R) : 2+ Individuals.

Television TV Channels Viewership
No changes in Bhojpuri, Kannada, Marathi segments in BARC week 41

In the Bengali space, Jalsha Movies and Colors Bangla swapped their third and fourth positions in BARC data week 41. No changes were observed in the Bhojpuri, Kannada and Marathi segments. Moreover, Gemini TV and Zee Telugu swapped their second and third positions in the Telugu sector. Flowers TV...

Television TV Channels Viewership
Anil Ambani’s Reliance sues NDTV for Rs 10,000 cr for Rafale coverage

NDTV has been sued for Rs 10,000 crore by Anil Ambani's Reliance Group in an Ahmedabad court for its reportage on the Rafale fighter jet deal. The lawsuit is filed against NDTV's weekly show, Truth vs Hype, which aired on 29 September.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Republic TV leads English news genre in BARC week 41

Republic TV continued to lead the English news genre as per All India BARC data week 41. No changes were noticed this week in the English business news genre. Aaj Tak maintained its lead across every Hindi news genre for yet another week. Hindi news urban genre remained unchanged. Zee News dropped...

Television TV Channels Viewership
Star Utsav bags leadership in GEC (U+R) in BARC week 41

Star Utsav and Zee Anmol swapped their first and second positions in the Hindi (U+R) genre in Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data for week 41 of 2018. Star Plus and Big Magic exchanged their eighth and ninth positions in the rural market. Star Bharat and Sony Sab swapped their fifth and...

Television TV Channels Viewership
Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) extends exclusive television and digital rights partnership with ABB FIA Formula E championship

Sony Pictures Network India (SPN) will continue to broadcast each round of the ABB FIA Formula E Championship for a further two seasons across the Indian sub-continent - including India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Television TV Channels Sports
James Gough’s innovative idea will be incubated with the intent to prototype it at Formula 1®’s Media & Technology Centre

Formula 1® Managing Director of Motorsports, Ross Brawn, and Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Driver, Lewis Hamilton, today crowned James Gough the winner of this year’s USD $50,000 F1® Innovation Prize at the FORMULA 1 PIRELLI 2018 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX in Austin.

Television TV Channels Sports
FLIX FIRST SCREENING: &flix makes October spookier with the multi-city theatrical premiere of Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween

&flix, the all-new destination for the most-awaited Hollywood blockbusters, brings the much-anticipated sequel Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween on Thursday, October 25

Television TV Channels English Entertainment
BIG Ganga Goes All Out to Delight Its Audience This Festive Season, Launches Engrossing Range of Shows

With the festive season right around the corner, BIG Ganga, the number one Bhojpuri channel in the Hindi heartland

Television TV Channels GECs

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories