programming -- where one or two blockbuster shows are used to hook
the viewers and ensure that they stay loyal to the channel just
for those one or more programmes.
oft-used term nowadays but one which certainly applies to the sheer
weight of expectations that Sahara TV's Rs 600-million blockbuster
daily soap Karishma - The Miracles Of
Sushanto Roy with Karisma - will the actor be Sahara's lucky
carries with it. Launching on the channel next Monday (25 August)
in the 9.30 pm slot, Karishma will lead the charge of a crop
of big-ticket items that will launch over the next six to eight
if comments by the heir to the Sahara throne and recently-turned
CEO Sushanto Roy are taken at face value, then mid-2004 could well
see the biggest blockbuster soap of them all with superstar Amitabh
Bachchan in the lead, taking its bow on Sahara TV.
But Bachchan is a way off and might or might not happen. In the
here and now is Karishma. A huge marketing blitz that industry
sources say will cost Sahara an additional Rs 150 million is being
planned for the show's coming out party around and beyond 25 August.
mega scale promos be justified by the performance of the 'mega
will light up the night sky at select locations across nine key
cities, reveals Sahara TV president Satish Menon. If these cities
are what used to be earlier termed the Hindi "TRP" cities then it
would be Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Lucknow,
Kanpur, Ludhiana, and Jaipur.
there are the tie-ups with retail outlets like Shoppers Stop, Ebony,
Food World and D Mart to go with the painted trains and hoardings.
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, says Menon.
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.
OF BIG-TICKET SHOWS LAUNCHING
meanwhile, is not going to be one of those on-and-on-without-an-end
serials but will have a finite duration. It will not exceed 262
episodes, channel officials have said. An added attraction is that
the soap will feature 52 songs composed by Anu Malik.
while it will be Karishma that leads the charge, there are
more big-ticket programmes that will be launching on Sahara in the
coming months, some with a "filmi" link and some without.
- Will the former superstar raise the comedy bar on Sahara?
second big upcoming attraction (with a filmi connection) is Hamari
Bahu Malini Iyer featuring former Bollywood Queen bee Sridevi.
sitcom, which goes on air by mid-October, will be telecast Mondays
to Thursdays at prime time, in conjunction with Karishma
and is planned for a finite 208-episode telecast. The comedy series,
directed by Satish Kaushik and produced by husband Boney Kapoor,
has reportedly been extensively re-shot.
Launching before the Sridevi show however, is Sagar Productions'
Arzoo Hai Tu. The daily soap involves a love
Behl in Aarzoo Hai Tu
with Mohnish Behl, Aman Varma and Mrinal Kulkarni playing the lead
characters. Arzoo..., which was initially slated for launch
on 11 August, will now premiere on 1 September (a week after Karishma's
first relaunch episode). The idea is that all new shows coming on
Sahara should benefit from the pull that Karishma is expected
- ready with her second show for Sahara
factory Balaji Telefilms is also launching a soap on Sahara. It
will be titled Kuch Kehna Hai Mujhe.
And if the queen of the daily soap Ekta Kapoor is on Sahara, so
too must the current queen of the weekly soap Aruna Irani. Irani
is currently building a bank of episodes for a daily
Irani - building on the success of 'Des Mein....'
that has been titled Zameen Se Aasman Tak. A minimum of 60
episodes will be built up before the show goes on air, according
to channel sources.
That is not all. There is also the global song and dance championship
titled Grooves (anchored by Jaaved Jaffrey) and a comedy
show by ace comedian Johnny Lever that are ready and waiting for
the green signal from the channel.
back to the "filmi chakkar", Bollywood sex-symbol turned serious
actress Raveena Tandon joins the party by February-March in a period
tele-serial Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam, based on Bimal Mitra’s
novel of the same title. Shooting for the weekly soap is scheduled
to begin by mid-October.
The serial, which will be shot in Kolkata to lend an authentic ambience,
is being directed by Rituparno Ghosh. Executive producer Pallavi
Chatterjee, who has bought the telecast rights of the novel, has
cast Joy Sengupta to play the Bhootnath character, while Ayub Khan
will play the role of Chhoti Bahu’s debauched, aristocratic husband,
reports Mid Day.
Another A list actor who is coming aboard the Sahara programming
express is Rani Mukerji, but as a producer, not in front of the
camera. Mukerji and brother Raja Mukerji's first TV production is
set to start rolling for the channel on 1 September. The family
drama is titled Pratima and donning the director's hat is
Ashok Gaikwad, currently wielding the baton for producer-actress
Aroona Irani's Des Mein Niklla Hoga Chand.
Tandon - following in Karisma's footsteps
series also stars big screen and television actors Anang Desai,
Vivek Mushran and Kunika amongst others. If all goes according to
plan, it should go on air in the first week of November.
IS TO MATCH SONY BY YEAR-END AND THEN...
"Though our current GRP (gross rating point for television channels)
is between 115-120, we should be able to cross Zee's GRP of 135
and match Sony's GRP of 190 by the end of the year,” Sushanto Roy
says the marketing blitz around Karishma would kick into
motion Sahara TV's serious drive into the big league. The positive
spill-off from this would also benefit the news channels, he adds.
A penetration target of 66 countries across the world and in
30 million households in India is what Sahara is looking to achieve
in the next year or so.
Sahara's new tag line is "Manoranjan" (entertainment). The next
few months should determine whether the channel can lay claim to
the line "Manoranjan matlab Sahara" (entertainment means
Sahara) -- doffing a cap here to Aamir Khan's celebrated ad "Thanda
Matlab Coca Cola" (cold means Coca Cola).