Alokananda Chakraborty

SET banks on women to win the race for TVRs

A comedy, Meri Biwi Wonderful, and a social thriller, Devi, are the latest offerings from the SET stable

As the third of week of September gets going, Sony Entertainment Television (SET) has lined up two new shows for primetime - Devi and Meri Biwi Wonderful. Aimed clearly at wooing a larger chunk of women, SET hopes these two will give it an edge in its race for TVRs.

Directed by Anant Mahadevan (a popular actor-director), Devi is a social thriller that debuts on September 20, 2002, (Friday) at 9.00 pm. It revolves around the travails of an oppressed woman Gayatri played by Saakshi Tanwar who plays Parvati in STAR Plus' popular family drama Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki. Besides Tanwar, Mohnish Behl, the host of Bachke Rehnaa Zara Sambhalna (a recently launched gameshow on Sony), will feature as the male lead as Gayatri's husband, Vikram Sharma.

Commenting on the new show, Sunil Lulla, executive vice-president, SET says, "Devi is a woman-centric serial that deals with oppression, relationships and human faith in divinity. The story has strong characterisation and is high on drama. With Devi, SET hopes to strengthen its weekend franchise."

Devi, a collaborative effort between production houses Devgan Software and Television Footprints (promoted by Misha Gautam, the writer of the serial who was formerly with Devgan Software), marks the foray of Devgan Software, promoted by filmstars Ajay Devgan and Kajol, into television programming. Talking about the venture Gautam says, "I was vice-president with the company for five years and after Raju Chacha (a film produced by Devgan Software and Entertainment Ltd), Ajay thought of getting into television production more seriously. This show is a step in that direction and though we don't have a formal agreement every television production will be a collaborative effort between the two production houses."

With 52 episodes already planned and budgeted for, Gautam is hopeful that the show will be received well. "Devi is all about faith and destiny, what life has in store for you and what faith can do especially when you have that special connection with God. The twist in the tale is the fact that Vikram will kill his wife and still remain married to her! Now if that sounds crazy, all I can say is that the forthcoming episodes will make things clear," says Gautam.

SET's second offering, a comedy titled Meri Biwi Wonderful, will premiere on September 19, 2002, at 8.00 pm. Adapted from the hit comedy series, Bewitched (produced by Columbia Tristar International Television), Meri Biwi Wonderful has Tanaaz Currim (playing Angela) and Dilip Joshi (playing her husband, Raj) in the lead. This serial has been produced by Neela Telefilms and includes comedian Rakesh Bedi (best remembered for his performance in Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi and Shrimaan Shrimati on DD/SABe TV) in the cast.

Incidentally, this is SET's second effort at adapting a popular Columbia Tristar production, the first being Bachke Rehnaa adapted from the popular game show Russian Roulette. Explaining the reason, Nachiket Pantvaidya, vice-president, programming & production, SET, says, "The scenario today demands a faster turnaround of shows making it impossible to ideate in vacuum. Which is why we have a mix of adapted and original shows with the objective of refreshing our programming every so often so that we don't fall out of sight."

Elaborating on the strategy behind placing Meri Biwi Wonderful during the 8.00 pm slot, Pantvaidya says, "There's a general consensus that people prefer light viewing at 8.00 pm, which is why our comedies and gameshows are aired at that time. As the evening wears on, we get into more serious programming at 9.00 pm with our line-up of soaps, and of course, the 10.00 pm slot is reserved for thrillers." © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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