Television

Sonali Bendre’s fiction debut on Life OK

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MUMBAI: It was in late 2011 when viewers were introduced to a new Hindi general entertainment channel (GEC). And now, after almost three years, Star Network’s Life OK is ready to challenge the established ones in the genre.

Reasons being the ‘differentiated content’, the channel prouds itself of, and shows like Saubhagyavati Bhava’, ‘Savdhaan India’ and ‘Devon Ke Dev…Mahadev’. And recently, with shows like ‘Laut Aao Trisha’ and its biggest dance property, 'Dare 2 Dance', it has set a benchmark for itself in the GEC space.

With the channel focusing on social issues like domestic violence and crime in a big way, it is set to highlight the issue of infidelity in its upcoming show, ‘Ajeeb Daastaan Hain Ye’.

In association with the queen of television, Balaji Telefilm’s Ekta Kapoor, the story highlights the tryst of a woman who is estranged by her husband and is made to break out of her inhibitions in quest of finding happiness for her loved ones. The show marks the debut of Sonali Bendre in the fictional genre. She will play the role of the female protagonist along with other stars like Apurva Agnihotri and Harsh Chhaya.

It highlights the journey of a tenacious woman Shobha (Bendre) who fights against all odds for her family and their well-being, who was happy and content in her own little world until she was left devastated after her politician husband, Samarth (Chhaya) was put behind the bars for breach of information.

Overnight, she was left holding the reigns of her family in the aftermath of her husband’s conducts. While trying to collect all pieces and settle, she ends up meeting Vikram (Agnihotri), a coffee shop owner who hires her as his assistant. Apart from dealing with difficulties at home, she also faces her galling boss at work.

The channel wanted a high impact cast, Life OK EVP and general manager Ajit Thakur reasons of getting Bendre on-board. He says: “We needed a woman who is very elegant, strong and yet very homely. She is a mother and wife also in real life.”

Thakur further goes on to say that the show talks about women’s journey towards independence. “It is a matured friendship that is shown between two characters.”

It was Kapoor’s concept which the channel took forward. Set for a finite series, it will be aired for six-eight months (120-150 episodes).

Kapoor believes that relatable characters and diverse concepts are two key ingredients of all her shows. “Ajeeb Daataan Hain Ye captures the story of Shobha who becomes a ‘hero’ for her family after she surmounts harsh realities of life. I am looking forward to my association with Life OK to bring forth this grand venture through an interesting storyline.”

Bendre revealed that initially she was little sceptical about taking up a fiction show until Kapoor narrated the story to her and then there was no looking back. “The strength of the character and how she faces her life head on is what appealed to me .The fact that instead of being treated like a doormat she picks up her life and decides to have a fresh start is what resonated with me,” she points out.

With a heavy 360 degree marketing campaign, the channel is not going to leave any stone unturned to create buzz around the show. Moreover, the promos of the show are already on air and will also be shown in theatres during the release of Bang Bang.

It is set to hit television screens from 7 October every five days a week at 9.30 pm. About the slot, Thakur believes that all slots are competitive and 9.30 pm is the highest viewership slot. The show will replace 'Tumhari Pakhi' which will now air at 8.30 pm followed by 'Laut Aao Trisha' at 9 pm. It is going to face neck-neck competition with 'Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai' on Star Plus, 'Qubool Hai' on Zee TV, 'Bigg Boss 8' on Colors, 'Hum Hain Na' on Sony Entertainment Television and 'Badi Door Se Aaye Hai' on Sab.

To get male audiences also on-board, the channel plans to launch a comedy show at 10 pm followed by 'Savdhaan India' at 10.30 pm.

Normally in a fiction show, sponsors are locked once ratings are out, but in this case, it has already got a presenting sponsor and powered by sponsor on-board. 

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