UTV has big hopes on revamped 'Shakalaka Boom Boom'

MUMBAI: The longest running kids show on cable & satellite TV, Star Plus' Shakalaka Boom Boom, has just undergone a reinvention (thankfully not another 20-year fast forward).

The first episode of the revamped show, which aired last week (Monday, 17 November), has seen the exit of most of the old cast. While Sanju and co are gone, star of the show 'the magic pencil' is still there with a new set of kids, including an alien kid 'Shaan'.

Although the target audience remains the 4-14 one, it is a crucial audience as it forms 25 per cent of the viewing junta, which normally plays a great role in consumerist trends (read pester power).

Was there a need for revamp, were the ratings plummeting? UTV director Zarina Mehta retorts, "You need to reinvent constantly to maintain the freshness of the show. Plus with the original cast having all grown up, there was a fear that the target audience might not gel well with them. We have till now farmed out the story till April 2004, while scripting till January is already done. The ratings were not going down in fact we have seen a steady 4. TRPs for the first edition. Even the latest edition has got SLBB into top 50 in C&S homes"

Just like the last series, this time on the channel has signed a host of new child artiste barring one - Hansika Motwani, who plays 12-year old tomboy Shona. The story is about Shona and her four rich orphaned siblings who constitute the Malhotra kids, and their fight to survive the evil designs of their maternal uncle and wife and bad boy cousin.

With a typical Cinderella story in place, the story needed a fairy god mother. In came alien kid Shaan, the owner of magic pencil to help them solve their problems and get back at Kaartik and his evil parents.

Will the magic work with kids? "Although technically our audience is 4-14, we aim our show at 12-year-olds, who want to believe in magic," offers Mehta.

MERCHANDISING: Encouraged by the response to the last years merchandising initiative of of SLBB pencils, where Star Plus' designed pencil boxes, timetable etc, and distributed them amongst the school kids, something on similar lines is under discussion. Mehta indicated that the channel might even plan to venture into SLBB merchandise for commercial purposes.

The merchandise and the revamp aside, UTV is planning to get a few successful characters from other shows and popular figures for guest appearances.

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