NDTV Imagine to boost primetime lineup with new shows

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | December 31, 2008
Shah Rukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment is foraying into television production with Ghar Ki Baat on the GEC

The new

year will see Shah Rukh Khan trying his luck again on television - this time through his production house, Red Chillies Entertainment, which is launching a show called Ghar Ki Baat on NDTV Imagine.

King Khan's show is not the only ace the general entertainment channel (GEC) has up its sleeve; it's got a few more shows lined up for its primetime band, such as Bandini, Jyoti and Seeta aur Geeta.

Speaking to afaqs!, Shailja Kejriwal, executive vice-president, content, NDTV Imagine, says, "Since NDTV Imagine's debut in the television space, the channel has been known for its varied fare. The new shows will further add to our endeavour to treat viewers to a wide array of emotions. We felt that the channel lacked a substantial offering for young viewers in the age group of 15-24 years. But the new love saga, Kitani Mohabbat Hai, will fill this gap."

Balaji Telefilms is making two shows, Kitani Mohabbat Hai and Bandini, for the GEC. Kitani Mohabbat Hai is a love saga in which a rich boy falls in love with a poor girl, who, by a quirk of fate, holds the boy responsible for all her problems. Bandini is a story of an unassuming Gujarati girl, who ends up in a strange city, married to a man her father's age, who has children her age. The serial is based on a Gujarati classic called Reithpankhi.

How did the channel wangle Khan's debut project on television? Kejriwal explains, "Khan and Sameer Nair (chief executive officer, NDTV Imagine) share a healthy working relationship, dating back to the actor's Kaun Banega Crorepati days. That made it easier for both the channel and the production house to join hands to launch a sitcom in the form of Ghar Ki Baat. It is along the lines of the much loved show, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi, which used to appear on Doordarshan."

Kejriwal is confident that the show will stand out because it is unlike any other comedy serial currently on air. She describes it as a clean, family oriented comedy. Having well-known names such as Aziz Mirza as its creative head and Anant Mahadevan as its director will only further its cause.

Seeta aur Geeta is an adaptation of the Hindi film classic of the same name, which starred Hema Malini, Dharmendra and Sanjeev Kumar. The channel is set to retain the original title, music and background score of the 1970s' hit movie, having bought its rights. The show will feature actor Cezanne Khan (Anurag of Kasautii Zindagii Kay) in the lead role.

NDTV Imagine does not wish to share the plot of Jyoti, another serial, because its details are still being finalised.

The two Balaji shows, Bandini and Kitani Mohabbat Hai, will be the first to be rolled out - in January. Bandini will occupy the 10 pm slot, followed by Kitani Mohabbat Hai at 11 pm. Ghar Ki Baat will be a weekend show, to be aired on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Its slot is yet to be decided.

Kejriwal concludes, "Oye! It's Friday, hosted by Farhan Akhtar, kickstarted the channel's attempt at fresh programming and the new shows will boost it further. We will launch a combined promo on January 31, showcasing all the new shows for our viewers. This will be followed by extensive on-air promotions and regular above-the-line and below-the-line promotional activities."

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