Television

Sahara snares Sridevi for small screen debut

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Its Sridevi, finally.

After letting rumours that Bollywood top glitter would stud forthcoming Sahara TV programmes permeate the industry, the channel has finally zeroed in on the yesteryear queen bee to play the lead in its new serial.

The as-yet-unnamed 104-episode serial promises to showcase Sridevi's talent, hitherto unseen on the small screen. This will be the actress' first celluloid appearance (big or small screen) after a three-year hiatus, claims Sahara. The announcement that Sridevi will be the channel's star value comes as a dampener of sorts after reports that Amitabh Bachchan might be appearing next on Sahara, after the Kaun Banega Crorepati season ended in January.

Sahara TV promoter Subroto Roy had in July 2001 set up a committee consisting of Modi Entertainment Group's Buena Vista Television CEO Pratik Basu, programming head Basaav Raj, its ad agency Percept Advertising's promoters Harindra and Shailendra Singh, and other senior managers from within the company. The Percept duo along with the Sahara team were given the task of looking after the programming and marketing of the channel. With some Rs 100-120 million set aside for the channel's overhaul, it was clear there was some serious intent to get the channel up and going. November saw Sahara really get into the groove with the launch of a host of new programmes on its prime time slot, between 8 and 9 pm, ranging from mythological series to family dramas. It was around the same time that the reports about Bollywood biggies being roped in surfaced.

One interesting fallout of this new initiative is that the small screen will see the revival of an old rivalry. That between Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit. In fact it was Madhuri who displaced Sridevi from her perch as the Queen of Bollywood. With the Madhuri-hosted marriage show Shubh Vivaah certain to have its debut on Sony Entertainment any time after 30 June how Sridevi's show fares will be watched with interest.





And judging by the fact that there there are no details forthcoming as to what the new Sahara show entails, it seems to indicate that the programme launch might take a few months. This may well mean that both shows will be ready to air at around the same time.





Certainly something to look forward to.

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