Television

What’s exciting Gajendra Singh about his new shows on DD

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MUMBAI: There’s a lot of excitement in Gajendra Singh’s voice. Most of us know him as Gaj - the creator of the super-successful musical formats on Zee TV -- Antakshri, SaReGaMa in the early part of the cable and satellite TV revolution.  Today, as the founder of production house Saaibaba Telefilms, Gaj  is quite gung-ho about his  new show that is making its debut on the national pubcaster Doordarshan.\

Titled Suron Ka Eklavya – it’s intention is to find singing talent in an interesting format which seeks reversion to retro songs of three singing legends – Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi - with the help of well-known music directors  Bappi Lahiri, Jatin Pandit and Ismail Darbar, who will serve as mentors to the contestants.

“Music has been my forte and  I have always endeavored to produce innovative shows. The idea is to build a bridge between the old era and the young generation,” says Gaj.  “Lata Mangeshkar, Mohd Rafi and Kishore Kumar are the pillars of film music, and therefore, even today, their songs and music are a reference point for the new generation. This show will present the songs in their signature styles but with fresh voices and innovative performances.”

Launched on World Music Day, 'Suron Ka Eklavya will begin  airing on Doordarshan from 29 July in the 8-9pm time slot on weekends.

Gaj says it has taken his production house close to a year to get his show on air. “We went through the bidding process,” he says. “We were shortlisted and had to pass all the criteria that Doordarshan asked us to. And, I am happy to have got this far.”

Suron Ka Eklavya will feature three teams which have been labeled as gharanas (houses) -  Lata Mangeshkar Gharana, Kishore Kumar Gharana and Mohammad Rafi Gharana. Contestants will sing old songs in fresh voices retaining the signature style of the respective legends with the help of their mentors and will be judged on their craft and talent. The tagline of the show is: “Andaaz Wahi Awaaz Nayi” (Retaining the style, but in a new voice).

Going forward, Suron Ka Eklavya will also witness celebrity guests including both, actors and musicians. The production house is in talks with singers such as Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal and Sunidhi Chauhan.

The 52-episodic talent hunt has been conceptualised by Singh and will be directed by Ashok Singh. The set has been executed by Bhavik and Munna.

The title track of Suron Ka Eklavya  has been sung by Shaan and Anwesha, the lyrics have been penned by Swanand Kirkire and the show will be hosted by the young and dynamic Abhas Joshi.

Filming is on at Mumbai’s Filmalaya Studio with a 15 camera set-up. “We are not maintaining a bank of 15- 20 episodes as we will be shooting live and editing on the fly and in post thereafter every week,” says Singh. "We have created a wonderful set with the best lights,  music and technicians, and have invested around Rs 2-3 million in audio, so  that we can get the best acoustics.”

And what’s good is that Gaj is on the way to recouping his investment of around Rs 450,000 per weekly slot on DD National and production cost of Rs 2.5 million per episode. Indian Oil Corp has come on as a title sponsor whereas Vicco has come in as associate sponsor.

“The powered by slot is yet open and we are also looking for other associates as well,” says Gaj.

He reveals that Saaibaba Telefilms is also working on another fiction show MBA Sarpanch which is a biopic of Chhavi Rajawat who left her corporate job and city life to help develop rural India. She became the sarpanch (head of a village administration) of Soda, a village 60 kilometers from Jaipur, Rajasthan. Her grandfather Brig Raghubir Singh had been the sarpanch of the same village 20 years before Rajawat's election.

The  half hour show is slated to launch in August and will aired at 7:30 time from Monday – Friday on DD. It has been written by veteran Shanti Bhushan, and has been directed by Sanjeev Chadda who as done a couple of shows with Balaji Telefilms.

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