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A taste of real India on Imagine's 'Desi Girl'

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | April 19, 2010
After a list of popular reality shows, Imagine has come up with 'Desi Girl', where eight glamorous girls will face the challenges of living in rural India

After experimenting with Swayamvar - 1 and 2, Pati Patni aur Woh and Raaz Pichhle Janam Ka, Imagine is back with one more reality show. In 'Desi Girl', eight glamorous girls will face the challenges of living in rural India for 40 days. The show will be aired in May in the weekend slot.

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The eight participants are: Sambhavna Seth, Kashmera Shah, Roshni Chopra, Monica Bedi, Anmol Singh, Rucha Gujarati, Ishitaa Arun and Aushima Sawhney.

In association with BBC Worldwide Productions India, the show will be based in Sialba Majri, a rural area in Punjab, where the girls will adapt to village life. They will mingle with the rural folk, while competing with one another to win the crown of Desi Girl. The final decision about the winner will be made by the villagers.

The TG for the show is women in the age group of 15-35 years. However, considering the glamour quotient of the participating celebrities, the male audience is also expected to be interested.

Shailja Kejriwal, executive vice-president - content, Imagine talks excitedly about Imagine's new reality show. "The show is an adaption of Celebrity Sleepover, but moulded in an Indian manner, where the girls will perform chores like milking cows, making cow-dung cakes, cleaning the house and cooking. The idea is to thrive in the real India."

Nikhil Madhok, vice-president - marketing, communication and brand management, Imagine explains, "Serials register highest TRPs when somebody gets married in the show. This was transformed by us into a reality show (Swayamvar 1 and 2). Now, we see that a majority of the fiction shows are based in the rural setting of the country. We wanted to give a reality touch to this; hence, Desi Girl was born."

Madhok adds that people love watching their favourite celebrities overcoming difficult tasks assigned to them. He also shares, "Talks are on with sponsors that seek a strategic partnership; and the marketing plans, which are underway, will be declared within two weeks."

afaqs! spoke to some industry experts to know whether the 'desi' reality show will strike the right chord with the viewers.

Bhavna Jha, general manager, TME India analyzes the show's concept keeping the viewership in mind. "I doubt that people would be interested in watching glamorous girls in a 'desi' avatar. Imagine has always come out with controversial and interesting concepts, but this can hardly please the viewers. These girls should be given the platform with which they identify, rather than roles set in the village belly. Such shows can garner interest for a week; but later, the hype dies down."

"The success of the show will depend upon the familiarity of the faces. The show has the ingredients of an interesting milieu. Imagine has always pushed the envelope; so, nothing can be predicted as of now," opines T Gangadhar, managing director, MEC India.

According to Ashish Limaye, general manager, marketing, Starcom MediaVest Group, "Such a synergy of urban and rural worlds will bring a new package of exhilaration. Both the worlds will come to know about each other."

From a marketer's point of view, he adds, "Some brands will identify with the Indian mindset with urban aspiration. The show might not attract new investments, as the concept per se is not new. It will all depend upon the patience of the starlets surviving in an unknown atmosphere."