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Colors' version of Chandrakanta coming on 24 June, new weekend shows in pipeline, says Raj Nayak

MUMBAI: As viewers prepare to bid adieu to the unprecedented leader on Indian television, Naagin 2, Colors is all set to launch a 52-episodic fantasy tale of love and revenge portrayed against the backdrop of magic and mysticism, Chandrakanta, which is already selling at around Rs two lakh per 10-second slot. Addiitonally, new shows are in the Colors pipeline during the weekends.

Promising to be a visual treat and every fantasy lover’s delight, Chandrakanta will showcase an epic power struggle between two rival Aiyaar kingdoms, Vijaygarh and Suryagarh. Putting the spotlight on the conflicting yet fervid relationship between princess Chandrakanta (Madhurima Tuli) and prince Veer (Vishal Aditya Singh), the show is laden with myths, legends and magic.Along with Madhurima Tuli, Vishal Aditya Singh, Urvashi Dholakia and Shaad Randhawa, Chandrakanta will feature an ensemble cast including actors Shilpa Sakhlani as Queen Ratnaprabha (Chandrakanta’s birth mother), Sandeep Ranjora as King Jai Singh (Chandrakanta’s birth father), Prerna Wanvari as Vishaka (Chandrakanta’s aunt), Nirmal Soni as Djinn (Chandrakanta’s best friend), Shruti Golap as Ruchi (Chandrakanta’s adoptive aiyaar mother), Sayyad Mohammad Iqbal as Bheema (Chandrakanta’s adoptive aiyaar father), Purvi Mundada as Champa (Veerendra’s best friend), Amit Sinha as Kroor Singh (Shivdutt’s confidante) and many more.

Spread across a sprawling 32,000 square feet, Chandrakanta’s sets, designed by National Award winning Art Director Chandravadan More, highlight regality and opulence of the magical realms. Three distinct zones, Queen Iravati’s darbar in Vijaygarh, Prince Shivdutt’s darbar in Suryagarh, and Chandrakanta’s foster parents’ fisherman’s shack, have been authentically created to form the perfect setting for Chandrakanta and Veerendra’s love saga. Intricately designed costumes, by Sameera Ahmad, offer a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours which add a dimension to the complexity of the monolithic and prodigious backdrop.

Chandrakanta, produced by Balaji Telefilms, will mystify audiences starting 24 June 2017, every Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 PM on Colors. A brief talk with Viacom18 COO Raj Nayak (RN), programming head Manisha Sharma (MS) and Ekta Kapoor (EK):  

How different will Colors' Chandrakanta be?rate

RN: Irrespective of others, we do it as per own plan and ideas. Ekta (Kapoor) has a certain way of narrating a story. In the new telecast, this story has been 'sectionalised' differently. It is our version of Chandrakanta.  We are thrilled to collaborate with Ekta Kapoor’s creative intellect yet again to showcase a unique rendition of a story which, though has been narrated before, leaves a lot of scope for creating a cohesive viewing experience.  Chandrakanta narrates the tale of Vijaygarh’s lost princess who lost her family and kingdom to a power war waged by Naugarh’s evil Queen Iravati (Urvashi Dholakia). While many believed the family to be wiped out, an infant Chandrakanta was found in a river by a simple and loving aiyaar fishing couple in Suryagarh. Her true identity lost in the war, Chandrakanta grows up to be a strong warrior-like woman, whose focus and strong determination are unparalleled. But, her real journey starts when she crosses paths with Queen Iravati’s son, Prince Veerendra Singh, who finds himself enamored by Chandrakanta’s entrancing beauty and falls hopelessly in love with her when he comes to battle Suryagarh’s Prince Shivdutt (Shaad Randhawa).

MS: As a channel, we are committed to bringing viewers a variety of entertainment – be it Naagin, now Chandrakanta or the upcoming Mahakaali that makes for edgy yet pacier story telling as compared to the daily fiction dramas. The success of Naagin tells us that viewers still have a huge appetite for this genre and with Chandrakanta, we are scaling up every aspect of the show and making it as spectacular and thrilling as ever. True to the ethos of the channel that offers differentiated content, be it weekdays or on the weekend – we hope that this enchanting story will be enjoyed by the audience as much as Naagin was.

EK: Chandrakanta is a very special show for us and it has very big shoes to fill. That said, we were filled with excitement over the prospect of creating this show. The plot is gritty, complex, passionate and is laced with top class VFX which will transport the viewers into alternate reality. We hope that Naagin’s ardent viewers and voracious fantasy-fiction aficionados enjoy watching Chandrakanta and support this mammoth venture.”

Isn’t it a risk to replace Naagin 2?

RN: It’s obviously a risk to replace a highly-rated show with another, it is a scary thought. But, we believe in the new plot, ....but you know entertainment, creative, shows and their the nature: the ultimate decision-maker is going to be the viewer. So, we did to the best of our ability -- the story telling, the casting, the sets, but, we believe Chandrakanta would be engaging, interesting and the element of suspense that is there, like you have seen in Naagin, and so somewhere it is straddling the same genre of content.

Tell us about bringing back 'Kavach'

RN: Colors had made Kavach a successful show. Kavach could become equally successful as Naagin. Even, we didn’t think Naagin would become  a superhit. W had expected a rating of 2.5 to 3, but when it went to a rating of 5.5 and 6, we were surprised.

Whether or not fantasy in shows works?

RN: From Doordarshan around 25 years ago, like Ramayana, some things work. Love stories, historical and mythological ones will always work. But, it doesn’t mean success comes with the the genre -- it needs to be well-scripted, well-cast and well-written. One doesn't know whether or not stories will work, but the concept of the story will always work, such as the love stories of Heer Ranja, Laila Majnoo. For two back-to-back seasons Naagin has enjoyed the status of being a favorite of the viewers. It’s their confidence in our content that has allowed us to explore this genre further. The recent success of costume dramas and fantasy offerings not only on television but also in films is a testimony that our viewers have evolved, and are willing to explore different narratives.

Tell us about your marketing plans.

RN: Our main focus is on television because obviously our audience is there -- its easy to connect with them. The show will be aired on Colors and Voot and not AltBalaji. To promote Chandrakanta and bring this fantastical folklore directly to audiences, Colors has devised an integrated marketing campaign encapsulating different mediums including print, television, radio, OOH, and ATL and BTL activations. The channel has also designed an extensive digital campaign including #ChandrakantaKiDuniya – a 360-degree video of Chandrakanta’s magical world, #MyMagicalLoveStory – a viewer engagement initiative asking viewers to share their respective love stories in micro-fiction format, a fan e-book and Facebook canvas, and a mix of 3D GIF images, video bytes and behind-the-scenes sneak peek posts

Enlighten us about the choice of star cast.

RN: I’m happy with the star cast. Ekta always gets the casting right. Most of the delays are always because of Ekta as she feels: ‘No no, this cast isn’t good, we need to change it.’

What will be the rate for a 10 second spot?

RN: Right now, the team is selling at rupees lakh and a half to one lakh eighty, but let's see, it all depends on the ratings of the show.

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