Television

‘Porus’ launched as 'Digvijaya' in Sri Lanka

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MUMBAI: Siddharth Kumar Tewary's  gambit to own the IP for the historical drama  Porus which is currently airing on Sony appears to be paying dividends. The show has, according to sources, successfully travelled to Sri Lanka. The buyer for the 260-episode series is Maharaja Television (MTV). Swastik Productions, the production house driving the show, also owns the intellectual property (IP) rights for the series.

A source close to the development said that Porus has been renamed as Digvijaya in the Sinhala-dubbed version and has been launched on channel Sirasa TV in January 2018. The show was launched with a big screen premiere with industry leaders and advertisers, two days prior to its first telecast on the channel. Through the channel’s online platform, Digvijaya would be also reaching out to the Sinhalese diaspora worldwide. According to another source, Maharaja TV has paid USD 5000 to Swastik Productions for an hour-long episode of Porus.

Swastik Productions founder Rahul Kumar Tewary confirmed the development. “The content has been dubbed in Tamil and Sinhalese for broadcast in Sri Lanka,” he said. 

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, a source revealed that the Tamil version of the show is not yet launched and it will take three to four months for the Tamil dub to go on air. The prime time for Sri Lanka’s market is 7-11 pm. Presently, the channel has only Sinhalese dubbed content telecast during the weekend at 8-9 pm time slots. The broadcaster is combining two episodes thereby giving the show a one-hour slot.

In its 10-year existence, Swastik has produced over fifteen television shows, which include Mahabharat, Razia Sultan, Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo, Mata Ki Chowki, Amber Dhara and Begusarai. It recently launched a light-hearted emotional drama on Sony Sab, Shankar Jay Kishan.

The production house is free to sub-license Porus to a digital or international player, to air the episodes after three hours of original airing on Sony.  Will such deals be viable for Indian producers who have been used to grabbing up front commissioning fees rather than owning the IP in exchange for lower budgets? The jury is out, but observers say it will vary from deal to deal. Broadcasters, sources say are open to discussions about sharing or assigning rights  to producers if they are willing to bear the risk with them, by picking up a part of the production tab. Historically broadcasters have been bearing all the cost.

The 30-minute show airs  at 8.30 pm from Monday to Friday on Sony, depicts the untold story of the greatest conqueror of the world, Alexander and the most spirited defender of India, Porus. Set in 350 BC, the story traces its roots to a time when India was at its glorious best and Porus resisted the first attack on Indian soil by the Macedonian legend. The chronological narrative will trace the journey from birth to the epic battle between these two warriors born on the same day but raised with completely different upbringings.

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