ETV Marathi ups the ante with ‘Zhunj Marathmoli’

MUMBAI: ETV Marathi is all set to take viewers on a road trip during which 14 celebrities will be assigned cultural tasks to prove their Maharashtrian-ness. Starting 26 May at 9:00 pm, the channel hits the highway with Zhunj Marathmoli that will travel to 12 cities in the state with Shreyas Talpade as host.

A co-production of Ramesh Deo Productions (RDP) and Logical Thinkers, the 26-episode show has already canned around 14 episodes in seven weeks. Tracking districts across Vidarbha, Konkan, Marathwada, Amravati and Khandesh, Zhunj Marathmoli will see two cultural tasks being executed by the contestants per episode. One participant will be eliminated every week and there will be two or three wild-card entries as well.

Zhunj took more than six months of ideation while every one-hour episode takes two to three days of shooting and nearly a week of post production. 78 people from RDP are travelling with the participants and Talpade along with four Scarlett Red cameras and six GoPro cams.

Says RDP producer Abhinay Deo, “In a very simple format, we are trying to show the stories of the 14 participants and Talpade as well as the region where we are shooting through each episode.”

Comparisons with other shows have already begun but Deo says that once people see the first episode, they will know for themselves. The locations either depict specific cultures or are task or production-friendly. “In season one, we just about cover a third of the state and it will take three seasons for almost full coverage,” says Deo.

Promotions for the show are taking place in stages. After the first teaser look, the show song was launched on the digital platform. A live Facebook video chat with Talpade has been arranged for next week. The show being youthful, disproportionately higher focus is on digital. Outdoor marketing has for now been fixed in Mumbai while the rest of Maharashtra is on the cards. The creative for the campaign is done in-house and planning executed by Vizeum.

Budgets for the show, sources say, are approximately Rs 25 lakh to Rs 30 lakh per episode, putting the worth of the whole project at a whopping Rs 6 crore to Rs 8 crore. Ten-second ad slots are being sold for Rs 50,000, which is 30 per cent higher than ETV Marathi’s other flagship programme, Kon Hoeel Marathi Crorepati (KHMC) went for. Lunar footwear has come on board as associate sponsor while the hunt for a title sponsor is on.

“The Marathi TV space is hugely undervalued. So we are investing in shows to get that up. A show like this couldn’t have been done by us last year but after successfully doing KHMC, we have proved ourselves,” says Viacom18 EVP and ETV Marathi business head Anuj Poddar.

Talpade has the task of coming up with instant dialogues while the shooting is on. “This show is unlike a studio recorded show. Here, you have to know what exactly your contestants are feeling. For me, that’s my zhunj (fight). Only if someone is getting distracted and we have to get them back on track do I get a pointer or else, it is totally unscripted,” he says.

For the celebrities Pandaharinath Kamble, Megha Sampat, Swapnil Bhutkar, Arti Solanki, Vikram Gaikwad, Hemlata Bane, Satish Dede, Parag Kanhere, Tyagraj Khandilkar, Deepti Devi, Megha Dhade, Ruchi Savaran, Manisha Kelka and Abhijit Thakur, it boils down to ‘aata mateech tharvel kas’ or ‘the land will decide our worth’.

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