Star Plus set to change Sunday viewing with ‘Airlines’

NEW DELHI: With an aim to strengthen its Sunday prime time band, Star Plus is treading a different path yet again. After making Sunday morning’s special for viewers by bringing home uncomfortable realities with Satyamev Jayate, the Hindi general entertainment channel is now looking at filling its prime time slots as well, but with differential programming.  

Initially, when weekends meant only dominance of reality shows, the channel wanted to explore more in that space. And now after exploring various genres including saas-bahu syndrome and mythology with Mahabharat, it is ready to take to the skies with Airlines – Har Udaan Ek Toofan but with variations.

Come 24 August and every Sunday 9pm, viewers will witness a story of a woman who dares to join the airline industry as first officer initially and ultimately becoming a pilot. Produced by Miditech, the series is penned for 26 episodes as of now and could see an increase in the number of episodes depending on the response from the audience.

The channel has roped in Fortune cooking oil as the title sponsor, Havell’s as co-title sponsor and Ariel, the co-sponsor for the show. The associate sponsors are, Colgate Visible White, Maybelline, Parachute Advanced and Sofy Bodyfit.

According to Star Plus SVP – marketing Nikhil Madhok, the series with title sponsor in Fortune cooking oil for standard definition (SD) feed and Forest Essentials for the HD feed is already profitable as it has been pre-sold.

The programme marks the TV debut of Tulip Joshi who plays Ananya and VJ turned actor Yudishthir aka Yudi who will be seen essaying the role of Captain Akash. It has been penned by Advaita Kala, who also authored the movie Kahaani.

Kala said that the concept is based on her own experiences of the way the modern urban woman is changing. Through the story, she wanted to show how a woman who has already entered a male-dominated world copes with it.

Set in Delhi, the show features the journey of first officer Ananya Rawat who navigates through a world of gender discrimination and regressive attitudes embedded in the modern and glamorous aviation industry. In her quest to establish her identity, Ananya realises that there is more to this industry than just battling male attitudes as she comes across many hindrances that eventually make her a stronger person.

Madhok believes that after delivering hits like Satyamev Jayate and Mahabharat, the channel with the new programme will be breaking the saas-bahu mould, showcasing a clear shift from the normal programming aired on all channels. The focus for the channel was on the role of a female in a male-dominated profession.

The series is the first to have received permission to shoot inside the Indira Gandhi International Airport’s Terminal-3. From roping real pilots for tutoring actors to shooting at existing terminals, the makers and channel has put in their best to retain authenticity of the situations and incidents covered in the show. Since most of the sequences required the setting to be inside an aircraft, a special set modeled on Boeing 370 has been created.

Miditech has also collaborated with Pixion to help recreate the world in the skies with its unparalleled proficiency in computer graphics and visual effects.

But why make it into a once-a-week show? Answers Madhok, “It is because of the huge work involved in creating each episode.” According to industry sources, while a normal Hindi daily soap production cost ranges anywhere between 6-8 lakh per episode, a series like this could cost around three times more than what a daily does.

On the marketing front, the promos are already doing the rounds on 25 television channels. To attract the younger audiences, social media will be used in a big way to promote the property with integrations also with YouTube, Yahoo and MSN.

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