June 30 was a significant day for the Subrata Roy-promoted Sahara India Pariwar. A single judge bench comprising Justice MHS Ansari of the Calcutta High Court vacated the stay order on the telecast of Karishma - The Miracles of Destiny, the group's answer to big-ticket blockbusters and saas-bahu formats on rival C&S channels, on 24-hour general entertainment channel Sahara Manoranjan.
Sahara officials were predictably relieved with the verdict, though there were riders attached to the court verdict. The biggest being that the prosecution, that is, the legal team of Barbara Taylor Bradford, the best-selling author who slapped the copyright infringement suit in May in the Calcutta High Court, could appeal against the verdict in seven days. And, if media reports are to be believed, Cartland may persist with her battle "to get justice".
Despite the air of uncertainty regarding its eventual telecast, the point worth noting is the overwhelming interest the serial has generated right from the time Sahara announced its making last year.
Apart from being a magnum opus with an estimated Rs 60 crore invested in the project, Karishma, as analysts point out, was conceptualised to provide a celluloid experience on TV, tapping into an average viewer's obsession with Bollywood, and providing an escape route akin to Hindi movies.
Scripted by Sachin Bhowmick and produced by Sahara Media Entertainment, the soap has 64 songs, with elaborate sets and an ensemble star cast many of who are Bollywood actors. The chief draw, of course, was Karisma Kapoor, who was to make her television debut with the venture opening up another gateway for not-so-hot-not-so-cold film stars who otherwise depend on a hit movie to resurrect their careers.
Sahara left no stone unturned in promoting what it thought was a winsome formula with on-ground activities, prominent hoardings and allied events planned around the launch to whet the appetite of viewers. For a populace starved of something dramatic, Karishma - The Miracles of Destiny was the right platform to get viewers to sample Sahara Manoranjan and stick with it, capitalising on the paucity of grandiose programming on rival F-T-A channels. At the same time, it hoped to migrate metro audiences habituated to watching pay channels in the genre of general entertainment to Sahara Manoranjan subsequent to July 14 when metro viewers feel the pinch of conditional access.
However, with an injunction granted to Cartland on May 7, the ordeal of litigation for Sahara and Sachin Bhowmick began, which was briefly lifted on May 12 when the group telecast the first episode at 9.30 pm. The last verdict on the matter came on June 30 and whether this is an end to Karishma's legal hassles, only time will tell. © 2003 agencyfaqs!First Published : July 03, 2003