Family drama Kahani Terrii Merrii premiered on Sony Entertainment Television (SET) on January 20, 2003, at 9.30 pm. Billed as the biggest ever television blockbuster, it comes at a strategic time - when the World Cup is round the corner, precisely 18 days away from the launch date of the cricketing extravaganza. "Most matches will wind up by around 9.00 to 9.30 pm, which allows viewers of soaps and family dramas to sample our product," avers Sunil Lulla, executive vice-president, SET.
Produced by Balaji Telefilms, Kahani Terrii Merrii is a love story revolving around Dhruv (played by Manav Gohil) and Tara (played by Tina Parekh), highlighting their trials and tribulations against the backdrop of a feudal, Bengali joint family. Characterised by larger-than-life visuals, this daily soap, which runs from Monday to Thursday, seems to draw heavily from the opulent looks of Oscar entrant Devdas.
The serial has been shot in parts in Kolkata as well as on a grand set, constructed in-house, adding to its spectacular aspect. "We wanted to differentiate the serial in terms of its look and give it a feeling of splendour," states Anupama Mandloi, director, on-air programming, SET. "If five members (of a family) can sit together and watch the serial without cringing then I think it would work," she claims about the chances of success.
Incidentally, Kutumb, which will effectively be replaced by Kahani Terrii Merrii was too niche, she states. "Unfortunately, the show was popular among youngsters but not with the family," she adds.
And therein lies the crux of Sony's strategy - to pull the family with interesting dramas especially in a slot as crucial as 9.30 pm. "Drama is key," emphasises Lulla. "But I do see comedies and thrillers staging a comeback," he adds.
In keeping with this strategy, the channel had launched a number of comedies in the recent past including the Hindi adaptation of Bewitched titled Meri Biwi Wonderful, Papa Ban Gaye Hero and Kabhi Biwi Kabhi Jasoos during the 8.00 to 9.00 pm time band.
Thrillers on the channel include old warhorse CID, which continues to be Sony's top rated show along with star performer, Kkusum. Some other prominent thrillers on the channel include horror show Aahat and Balaji-produced weekend show Kya Haadsa Kya Haqeeqat.
Lulla, however, does not rule out the possibility of music and reality-based shows being part of Sony's programming mix in the New Year. "Wait and see," is all that he will say at this point of time. © 2003 agencyfaqs!