afaqs!

How will Aamir Khan fare on small screen?

By Anindita Sarkar , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | October 24, 2011
The versatile Bollywood veteran has joined hands with STAR Network to work on a chat show that will hit television screens in early 2012.

For ace Bollywood actor, director, and producer Aamir Khan, television is no longer forbidden territory. The versatile Bollywood veteran has joined hands with STAR Network to work on a yet-to-be-named chat show that will hit television screens in early 2012.

The show is produced by Aamir Khan Productions. "It will narrate real stories of real people, capturing real emotions,'' says Khan. To be simulcast across eight languages, covering approximately 65 countries around the world, the show will be telecast across eight channels from the STAR India bouquet, including the Hindi flagship entertainment channel Star Plus and the English entertainment channel, STAR World.

Not willing to divulge too many details, Uday Shankar, chief executive officer, STAR India, says, "No Bollywood star has shown the ability to move the masses with experimentation as much as Khan has done in the last decade. STAR India is doing the show with Khan to reinforce the same agenda of creativity, to push the limits of programming and come up with something which will be enormously impactful and engaging."

So what does Khan's foray into the TV space mean?

Many consider Khan a top player, albeit in a niche segment. His personality is that of a perfectionist, combined with the characteristics of an intellectual. Therefore, his appeal is expected to be more towards the SEC A category audience. So, while viewership could remain niche, and therefore, low for the show, it is expected to build a loyal audience set.

Kunal Jamuar, head, West India, MPG, says, "Aamir is a unique proposition added to the show, and he is sure to drive the initial sampling. However, sustenance could become difficult if the format in itself is not strong enough. STAR Plus'audience is not limited to the class mass, but is also a composition of the BC and BE category. Therefore, the appeal of the format has to be grand in order to sustain."

Anita Karnik, principal partner, Invention, Mindshare, however, believes that directors can create magic many times. "And, that has been witnessed in many shows. While we are sceptical about the show's performance with Khan at its helm, we will wait and watch, nevertheless!" she says.

Meanwhile, Jamnadas Majethia, chairperson and managing director, Hats Off Productions, is optimistic about the show. He believes that Khan's personality will help television as a medium, to add a new dimension to its 'idiot box' identity.

"There is a significant section of viewers which is giving up TV viewing because of lack of suitable content. Khan is sure to bring that bunch back to TV, and also help add new viewers to the medium, thereby increasing the overall viewership pie," says Majethia.

Moreover, Khan's commercial sensibility and understanding is expected to exhibit better longevity and growth for the show when compared to other chat show and reality formats, notes Majethia.

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