afaqs! news bureau

Ajay Bhalwankar, content head, ZEEL, quits

Namit Sharma will be joining as programming head. Sharma is ending his eight year stint with Wizcraft, with this move.

Ajay Bhalwankar, content head, ZEEL, quits
Ajay Bhalwankar, content head, ZEEL, quits
Ajay Bhalwankar, content head at ZEEL has decided to call it a day at the company, ending his close to two decade long journey with Essel Group. He has been with the organisation since 1994 (barring a three year stint with Multi Screen Media) and has been instrumental in the programming for the Hindi GEC for all these years. He was also spearheading the launch of the recent free-to-air channel, Zee Anmol, which was launched to run repeats of Zee TV's existing shows.

About the development, Bharat Ranga, chief creative and content officer, ZEEL, says, "Ajay's support for ideas, creativity and innovation has been the real strength of his time as content head of Zee TV. With regret, we accept his decision and thank him for his valued contribution to the organisation. During his stint with the group, Ajay has achieved various milestones, strengthened the position of the channel, and built a dedicated team."

Meanwhile, Bhalwankar is handing over his duties to Namit Sharma, who is joining as programming head for Zee TV. For now, Bhalwankar will handhold Sharma as he settles down in the organisation and continue to take all programming related decisions.

Bhalwankar mentions in the press note announcing his exit, that it's been a memorable journey for him. "It's a tough decision. The trust reposed in me by ZEEL's MD and CEO, Punit Goenka, will never be forgotten. I leave ZEEL with renewed respect for both, television broadcasting and the talented producers of our programs," he says.

Sharma has been with Wizcraft until recently as head for the television business; his designation was business head and chief creative officer, Wizcraft Television and Films. Sharma started his career with Multi Screen Media as senior executive producer in 1999. He then moved to Cinevistaas as creative director in 2002.

In 2005-2006, he had a short stint with Yash Raj Films as executive director and then he joined WizCraft in 2006.

As for Bhalwankar, with a background in journalism, he joined the Zee Group in 1994 as assistant director, Dream Merchants, the company's advertising and marketing magazine.

He was instrumental in launching Music Asia, which later became Zee Muzic, and is now called Zing. He spent three years there, and subsequently, as group head, worked towards the launch of Zee Marathi in 1999. He later became business head, Zee Marathi, and vice-president, Zee Marathi and Zee Talkies. He took charge as the programming head of Zee in 2008.

He moved to join Sony in 2009 and came back to ZEEL in 2011.

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