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STAR Plus readies for matrimonial reality show

By Sangeeta Tanwar , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | May 12, 2009
STAR Vivaah, the matrimonial show, will debut on May 13

The matrimonial show STAR Vivaah on STAR Plus is all set to debut on May 13. The reality show will be a weekly, running from Monday to Friday at 2 pm.

The channel is promoting STAR Vivaah as a matrimonial platform, which promises a personal connect with all aspects of the aspiring brides' and grooms' lifestyles. It claims to be a one stop destination for them, complete with useful tips, information about rituals and celebrity advice.

& #BANNER1 & #In 2002, another general entertainment channel (GEC), Sony, had introduced the matchmaking experience on the small screen through its show - Shubh Vivaah. The channel had roped in Bollywood actor Madhuri Dixit as the host of the show.

In an email interview, Anupama Mandloi, senior creative director, STAR Plus, commenting on the comparison, says, "Dixit''s show was a match making show, while on our show, we only share the information of the prospective girl and boy and are in no way influencing their decision of shortlisting a candidate. STAR Vivaah is a matrimonial show - a televised version of a print matrimonial ad or a website matrimonial."

Mandloi adds, "The show gives participants insights about a person that no other medium can offer since it gives them an opportunity to not just see the candidates but also exposes them to their family and personal environment. We don't get people married on this show."

More importantly, STAR Vivaah offers wider reach in comparison to the traditional media such as the Internet, newspaper matrimonial columns, marriage bureaus and family associations.

The show is being produced by Anuradha Prasad led production house BAG Films. In the past, the production house has worked with the channel on the afternoon daily soap Kumkum - Ek Pyara Sa Bandhan.

In 2002, Sony's show Shubh Vivaah presented a new concept with the hugely popular Bollywood celebrity but failed to impress the audience.

Tarun Nigam, executive director, India-North and Pakistan, Starcom Worldwide, suggests, "Marriage is a very personal issue and at times, high profile celebrities fail to impress or establish connect with the viewers. In STAR's case, the fact that the show is being hosted by regular celebrities may work in its favour."

Having said that, Nigam admits that a big question mark remains over whether something as personal as marriage can turn out to be a success on TV.

STAR Vivaah is being anchored by Bollywood and TV actor Mohnish Behl and co-hosted by actor Aditi Shiwaikar. Both Behl and Shiwaikar have their tasks cut out. Behl will act as a guiding figure, a mirror image of an elder brother to all the participants on the show, whereas Shiwaikar will encourage them on to open up and share their views on love, romance and marriage.

STAR Vivaah promises to create awareness against the malice called dowry by encouraging young boys and girls on the show to say no to dowry. With an eye on inclusiveness, the matrimonial show will also feature widows, handicapped individuals and divorcees, providing them with a chance to make a new beginning.

To add more entertainment to the show, experts from fields such as food, décor, style and home will give out handy tips and suggestions to the participants on the show. Celebrity jodis (pairs) such as Juhi Parmar and Sachin, Tina and Hussain and Gauri and Hiten will appear for the Friday episodes. These celebrities will share their secret tips on having a healthy relationship and how to make a marriage work.

The new show will also share personal details of individuals such as the date and time of birth, along with their profiles. This will help interested parties to match horoscopes of the shortlisted candidates prior to setting up a meeting between the prospective brides and grooms.

With the show being placed in an afternoon slot, the channel appears to be wooing its women audience. As Nigam puts it, "The channel aims to woo its women audience because the schedule of the show is such that it will not reach out to the other members of the family."

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