At a macro level, ZEE's recent launch Pyar Zindagi Hai on March 30 at 8.00 pm may seem like a regular development on the channel. It is the story of a young couple Sunny (played by Mukul Dev) and Simmi (played by Rakhi Tandon), and the trials and tribulations they go through when their respective parents decide to stay with them. What begins as a happy-go-lucky affair soon turns sour with the couple caught between conflicting ideologies, cultures and backgrounds since Simmi's parents are traditional Punjabis while Sunny's parents are more urbane and sophisticated.
If this is meat enough for a regular drama, the soap has been given an interesting twist with the inclusion of a strong humour element. The story, in other words, is geared to "leave a smile on your face". "There is much negativity in the environment," explains Apurva Purohit, president, ZEE TV, "Pyar Zindagi Hai is a happy daily serial, which gives a viewer positive vibes."
If Purohit's statement is an allusion to superpower America's sudden pre-occupation with war and its psychological impact on people, what it also underlines is ZEE's attempt at filling the gap of a comedy, which has remained unrepresented for a while. In fact, the last time ZEE launched a comedy was roughly around a year ago with Balaji Telefilms' Kitne Kool Hain Hum that had a run of just about six months.
"Yes, Pyar Zindagi Hai is geared at filling the gap of a comedy," states Purohit. "A general entertainment channel has to cater to different genres, which is our constant endeavour at ZEE."
Despite its sincere attempts at variable programming, which according to analysts, is aimed at increasing its chances of success, what is interesting to note is that family viewing has become critical to ZEE, which explains why Pyar Zindagi Hai is not a sitcom but a daily serial with "happy moments" thrown in for good measure. "Sitcoms call for a weekly slot and we are quite clear that dailies directed at the family during prime time is what we are looking at," Purohit asserts.
Again, the channel is attempting to tap the family via various contact points as opposed to merely looking at the needs of the woman. Kanhaiya for instance, the second episode of which was telecast on March 30 at 9.30 am (the serial has been mired in litigation owing to a suit slapped by production company Sundial Communications alleging copyright violation; the verdict is awaited but ZEE was given permission by the Supreme Court to telecast the second episode yesterday; the first episode appeared on March 9) is a one-hour family drama with a child - and not a saas or a bahu - in the lead.
Nonetheless, the channel has not completely abandoned its woman-oriented strategy. Kittie Party and Lipstick have been going strong on the channel while its latest offering Dil Naa Jane Kyon, the first story in the Chausath Panne (64 pages) series that started at 8.30 pm yesterday (March 30), has a strong female lead.
"ZEE has to keep trying to arrive at that one winning formula," says a senior media planner based in Mumbai. "The battle really is between Sony and ZEE and the moot point is who is going to emerge winner." © 2003 agencyfaqs!