Zee TV's first fiction presentation of 2016: 'Meri Saasu Maa'

MUMBAI: With its first new fiction offering for 2016, Zee TV is aiming for a fresh approach albeit with a much saturated concept. The channel is all prepped to launch Meri Saasu Maa on 26 January, which will be aired from Monday to Saturday at 7.30 pm.

The new infinite fiction show comes from the makers of popular serials like Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, Navya and Mahabharat. The show will be produced by Mumtaz Saba Productions -- a collaboration between Saba Mumtaz, Siddharth Tewary and Rahul Kumar Tewary of Swastik Productions.

Explaining the concept behind the show, Mumtaz shares, “Our protagonist is a young 22 year old girl, whose biggest aspiration in life is to find a mother in her mother-in-law. Pari is a Cinderella troubled by her step-mother and siblings, but the only distinction is that she is looking for a mother in her marriage rather than a Prince Charming. She wants a world where her mother will embrace her with open arms every time she enters the house. Pari’s positive thoughts and belief in finding a mother in her mother-in-law will drive her actions. Meri Saasu Maawill be a highly relatable show and every woman out there will empathise with Pari.”


Talking about the new show, Zee TV business head Pradeep Hejmadi adds, “For years, we have seen shows on television exploring the stereotypical relationship of a saas and bahu, where the two are placed at loggerheads, constantly scheming and plotting against each other. Times have changed now and so have relationships. Meri Saasu Maa is our attempt to showcase the changed relationships in society.”

The show will replace Qubool Hai in the 7.30 pm time slot. Hejmadi adds, “Qubool Hai has been one of our longest running, successful shows with a glorious run of almost three years. We have introduced several exciting sub-plots that have intrigued the audience. It’s now time to make way for another interesting story.”

With BARC rural inclusive ratings coming in the picture, the industry seems to have woken up to rural and Tier II and III towns, which still enjoy saas bahu sagas over modern contemporary shows. More so, advertisers and content producers are also keen to grab a pie of these eyeballs, which forms almost 50 per cent of BARC’s sample viewership. One can’t help but wonder if the need to cater to these freshly discovered eyeballs is leading broadcasters to return to their tried and tested ‘saas bahu’ formula for GECs.

“I consider that we are leaders in rural. A lot of the shows we do, we curate from the point of view that the content should also work in LCs and smaller cities and towns, making sure that it resonates with viewers from across markets. We will continue in that direction, keeping our rural and Tier II and III viewers in mind. I feel that in order to achieve that there is no reason to treat a story very differently. Viewers in these pockets are very aspirational, so a familiar storyline that offers a different approach and solution to an issue they relate with, will resonate well with them,” Hejmadi opines on the matter.


Having said that, Mumtaz asserts that she kept viewers beyond the metros in mind when curating content for the show. “With the rural viewership ratings coming in the picture, we tried to keep small towns and rural preference and taste in mind when conceptualising the show. The show also covers the majority of the demography in those markets who are more likely see the show at 7.30 pm. We do a general survey each time before coming up with a show on who’s watching what. We carry it out in metros as well as small markets, and accordingly the show is crafted,” she reveals, adding that the entire process took close to six months to complete.


It is interesting to note that the show’s time slot of 7:30 pm too plays a vital role in targeting a mixed demography and preferred market for the show. “For us, 7.30 pm is an important time slot to place tent pole shows. While curating content we paid special heed to come up with something that resonated with the two demographies -- the younger generation, the daughters-in-law and the mothers-in-law, who form the bulk of our viewership in that time frame,” says Hejmadi.

With the show’s content carefully crafted to strike a chord with both metros and beyond, Zee TV is confident in keeping advertisers happy. The show has already got on board Patanjali as its primary sponsor. “We are in conversation with several other brands to come onboard as sponsors and advertisers for the show,” Hejmadi informs.


“Since most advertisers move according to eyeballs, they are waiting for the numbers to come out as soon as the sow releases and and gains momentum. The response from consumers to the show’s promos has been good and we have received several letters from fans and followers who are eagerly waiting for the show,” he adds.

So far the channel has released several TV promos that are being heavily pushed through its network channels. “Since the audience we are targeting is a domestic audience that we cater to, it only made sense to heavily promote our show through the network and our electronic arms. Going outdoors with hoardings didn’t fit in our marketing strategy for the show,” Hejmadi says. However, he adds that the show will see some digital presence to reach out to a younger audience that the channel feels can resonate with the contemporary outlook of the protagonist in the show.

The shows that Meri Saasu Maa will be pitted against on other Hindi GECs in the time slot are: Ye Hai Mohabbatein on Star Plus, Crime Patrol Dial 100 on Sony, Adhuri Kahani Hamari on &TV, Sasural Simar Ka on Colors and Zindagi Abhi Baaki Hai Mere Ghost on Life OK.

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