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Colors to replace Bigg Boss with two new fiction shows

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | January 06, 2011
Both shows will be aired from January 10 in the 9-10 PM band, Monday through Thursday.

Colors has announced the launch of two new primetime fiction shows, Phulwa and Mukti Bandhan. These shows will commence after the conclusion of Colors' successful reality property, Bigg Boss Season 4.

Both shows will be aired from January 10 in the 9-10 PM band, Monday through Thursday. Phulwa, produced by Swastik Pictures, will be aired at 9.00 PM; while Mukti Bandhan, presented by Shobhana Desai Production, will follow at 9.30 PM.

Phulwa is about a playful 11-year-old girl living in the rustic ravines of Chambal, who gets trapped in a ruthless spat amongst the villagers. In her fight against injustice by the Thakurs of the infamous Chambal, she loses her innocence at the tender age of 11.

Mukti Bandhan, on the other hand, is about the plush urban lifestyle of IM Virani, an egoistic, successful, middle-aged businessman based in Mumbai. It is the story of an ordinary man with an extraordinary sense for business, who emerges victorious with the support of his wife, Charulata. The plot is set to thicken when his position is threatened by an equally ambitious businesswoman, Devki.

The serial is an adaptation of Harkishen Mehta's famous Gujarati novel, Mukti Bandhan, and marks the first time that Colors is digging deep into Gujarati culture.

Talking about the launch of these new shows, Ashvini Yardi, head - programming, Colors, says in an official communiqué, "Bigg Boss Season 4 has given us the eyeballs; and we now plan to sustain the same and take it to a new level. With the launch of these two shows, our effort is to present varied setups that will intrigue the audience across demographics."

She adds that with Phulwa, the channel plans to bring India's rural heartland alive; while Mukti Bandhan, for the first time on Indian television, portrays a 50-year-old male as the protagonist in a primetime show. "We are confident that our viewers will like the two offerings for their fresh concepts and unique stories," Yardi says.

afaqs! quizzed industry folk on what these new shows would mean for Colors, in terms of impact on viewership and ad rates.

Sudha Natrajan, president and chief executive officer, Lintas Media Group is of the opinion that given the upcoming cricket season on television, these shows will give women a chance to claim their time with the remote. "While reality shows pull in both male and female viewership; these new soaps will increase female viewership for Colors," she explains.

Additionally, she says that this development will have a different kind of impact (as compared to that of Bigg Boss) and that the soaps will do well for Colors, as "everything is not about top line; bottom line is important too." She is clear that it makes sense to go the soap way for Colors.

Natrajan adds that though reality properties fetch more avenues for revenue (through multiple sponsorships and brand integration, for instance) and buzz compared to fiction shows, it is not easy to rely on reality shows all the time.

Kartik Sharma, general manager (West), Maxus is equally optimistic. He feels that Phulwa looks disruptive; and many movies have been made around the characters and concept that Mukti Bandhan is based on. "The look and feel of both seems good. Ad rates will surely increase with time and TVRs," he says, adding that a lot depends on the opening of both new properties.

"Mukti Bandhan will do well in Gujarat, given the background of the protagonist. It will fare well in metros such as Delhi and Mumbai as well, as it is an industrialist's story," Sharma predicts.

Won't Colors miss out on the kind of buzz that Bigg Boss generated? "Though we can't put a value to it, it is true that the reality show format does generate a lot of hype and buzz. However, if the content of these new shows is good and they touch consumers' hearts, then I don't see why buzz can't be created around them too," Sharma opines.

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