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Sony bets big with Big B’s ‘Yudh’

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NEW DELHI: After actor Anil Kapoor hit the small screen with the limited episode series  ‘24’, megastar Amitabh Bachchan is all set to launch himself as an actor on television with the series ‘Yudh’ commencing on Sony Entertainment Television (SET) next month.

While ‘24’ on Colors was confined to just 24 episodes, Bachchan’s series will run for 20 episodes.

Though the telecast schedule is not out yet, the series is expected to be aired at prime time from Monday to Thursday. Bachchan’s ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ is also slated to commence around the same time.

‘Yudh’ also stars senior actress Sarika along with Aahana Kumra, Pavail Gulati, Avinash Tiwari, Nawazuddin Siddique, Kay Kay Menon and Tigmanshu Dhulia among others.

Bachchan revealed that he had approached the channel with the aim of doing a television series, after which he had been put in touch with Endemol. Though he had taken on Anurag Kashyap as the creative director, Shoojit Sircar also joined in as creative director. Bachchan’s Saraswati Creations is also a co-producer of the new show.

The thespian said in reply to a question that the story of any film or TV series is of prime importance, followed by the director who is the captain. The actors were only puppets who followed the directives of the director.

He denied that he was ever satisfied with what he had done or achieved. “Feeling satisfied is like ‘death’ for any creative artiste,” he said, adding it was erroneous to think that a senior actor did not need much preparation. “I take every performance as a new test,” added Bachchan.

“Working on a TV series is a unique experience, compared to the big screen,” Bachchan said, revealing the first poster of the serial.

“I would be prepared to work on television again if I get the right story and a good chance,” he added.

The story revolves around a businessman who suffers from an incurable disease but does not want to reveal it to his family.

Sarika, who has appeared on screen with Bachchan for the fourth time and the second time since her return to Bollywood said, “Working with him was always a novel experience as he helps the other artistes and puts them at ease.”

“The series is different from the work I have done so far on the big screen,” she added.

The series has been made like a movie on the small screen.  “It is like a film shown in episodes,” said Kashyap and Sircar.  “All the stereotypes that TV series have so far been associated with have been avoided,” informed Kashyap.

MSM CEO N P Singh said that the marketing of the series will not be done through the normal route and there would be no hoardings. Apart from the promos on TV and use of social media like Facebook, there would be ground events in various cities where he expected Bachchan and other stars to be present.

Informing about the on-ground activities, Singh said, “The next event is at the Bombay Stock Exchange.” When asked for the reason, he said the series has Bachchan as the head of a construction business empire with around 10,000 employees and “therefore it is appropriate to release the poster at the BSE.”

Not revealing the exact marketing spent, Singh informed that 50 per cent of the total expenses reserved for the series were aimed to be spent after the completion of the entire shooting.

“The expenditure on the series is the highest ever for a fiction show which is close to 200 times more than the normal expenses,” informed Singh.

The series will be aired only after the entire shoot is complete. Singh said that while talks were on with sponsors and advertisers, “Cadbury has a special bond with Bachchan and is on board as title sponsor.” He admitted that the advertising tariff will be somewhat higher than the normal series as it demanded a premium rate as compared to other shows.

MSM senior EVP and business head Nachiket Pantvaidya  informed that the entire shooting had taken five to six weeks during which 20 hours of filming was done.   

He said that the series hoped to break new ground as far as advertisers were concerned as the channel was now being seen in more than 70 countries and could also be accessed on the app that came free.

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