Will 'Jayate' spell success for InHouse?

MUMBAI: "Last year was a disaster," admits InHouse Productions CEO Uday Sinhwala.

The production house, once known for its commitment to the studio show format, lost three of its six shows then on air - Jeeto Chappar Phaad Ke, Movers and Shakers and Nazdeekiyan. Today, a chastened Sinhwala has shifted focus to fiction - a genre where he believes the future lies - and is ready with his new offering Jayate for Sahara, a police series with a difference.

Billed as an 'action soap', Jayate that premieres 23 September, has the unenviable task of taking on Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki at 10 pm from Mondays to Thursdays. The show has had its own share of pre launch problems. It has been in the pipeline for nearly a year now, with the first launch date pegged at December 2001. Earlier scheduled as a one hour show, changed circumstances have forced InHouse to format it into a half hour daily. Two directors - Bijesh Jayarajan and Shahab Shamsi, who directed the show earlier have also shifted base, and the directorial mantle is now on Anshuman Singh. While 12 episodes are currently ready for telecast, Sahara has granted a 24 episode initial run for the show. The show itself seems promising. Shorn of the gloss and glamour that adorn soaps on other channels, Jayate takes a realistic yet engaging look at the life of police personnel, weaving together their professional and personal lives effectively. It sensitively brings out the shades of grey in police life, hitherto an uncharted territory on Indian television.

Sinhwala acknowledges that demand from channels continues to be for soaps, though. "Everybody is looking for someone who can take the Balaji formula forward," he says. Balaji's main contribution in the last couple of years has been in drastically improving the look of the soap on the telly. This, he says, has put more pressure on producers to come up with better looking products in almost the same budgets. InHouse itself is tackling the toughening business cycles with co-productions. "Three of our five ventures currently are co-productions," says Sinhwala, " and that's how things will be in the industry in the next few years." The production house currently has a drama series, a mytho, a game show and a stand up comedy currently on air. InHouse is also doing a co-produced Telugu show, while the mytho, Darshan Do Bhagwan is a coproduction with Atul Pandey Productions, and Simply Shekhar a tie up with Shekhar Suman's Seven Thirty Entertainment. Jayate is the first show InHouse will be doing for Sahara.

With a lot of scattered talent in the marketplace, Sinhwala believes co-productions are the way forward for the industry and claims that InHouse will be one of the five major production houses to rule Indian television in the next two years. His current job on hand however is to pull the production house out of the slump that it hit last year and consolidate its position. "We intend to have at least one more major show on air before the end of this fiscal," he says.

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