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Contemporary themes


This can easily be considered as one of the biggest indicators of the importance of television in the Indian entertainment world today. It can, perhaps, make or break the fate of Sony — the channel that has been struggling to attract viewers in the recent past. And it can also spark off a big fight of supremacy in the small screen.

If you are still clueless, we are talking about Yash Raj Films’ entry into the world of television through five serials that have been launched on Sony recently. With this, the list of big producers from the film fraternity who have ventured into television is almost complete.

Ramanand Sagar and B R Chopra were the first to spot the importance of television when they launched Ramayan and Mahabharat respectively in the late 80s. The Behls (of Rose Movies fame) and the Barjatyas (Of Rajshri Pictures) followed and entered the small screen after a few years and tasted immediate success with Lipstick and Who Rehne Wali Mehlon Ki. The same goes for Jeetendra, Shobha and Ekta Kapoor through Balaji Telefilms. Yash Raj is probably the last of the big names to enter television.

They have entered into an exclusive partnership with Sony Entertainment to provide content for five prime time shows through YRF TV. The ever-reclusive Aditya Chopra is at the helm of affairs for YRF TV and is controlling the concept and execution of the shows.

Says Yash Chopra, “YRF TV is an initiative to engage and entertain the entire family through content which combines high quality production values with contemporary storytelling. Indian families will be able to relate to all our shows.”  

N P Singh, COO, Sony Entertainment Television adds, “The collaboration marks another milestone in the long standing relationship between YRF and Sony wherein we have been telecasting their movies. Television is the biggest mass medium in India and this collaboration will bring the very best in TV entertainment to the viewers.” The bouquet of shows will include one reality show (Lift Kara De) and four fictional serials (Powder, Mahi Way, Rishta.com and Seven).

The first, hosted by Karan Johar, promises to be different from all other reality shows and will feature 20 of India’s biggest superstars. The guest list, understandably, is quite impressive and has names including Amitabh Bachhan, Lata Mangeshkar, Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Dharmendra, Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar, Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif, and of course, Rani Mukherjee. During the show, Johar will bring the biggest fan of the celebrity on the same stage with the superstar and change both their lives. The producers, understandably, are tightlipped about further details of the show.    

Powder, on the other hand, is a story that is based on the real narcotic trade in Mumbai. The story revolves around druglord Naved Ahmed Ansari (played by Pankaj Tripathi) and the chief of narcotics control bureau Usmaan Ali Malik (played by Manish Chaudhri) and the war between them. Geetika Tyagi and Rahul Bagga will also be seen as intelligence officers in this thriller that moves from highrises to slums to the corridors of power.

Powder is not the only adventurous show in the YRF bouquet. Seven is the second adventure-based show that YRF has on plate for Sony. The show (being promoted as a special effects extravaganza) is inspired by mythology and will feature seven ordinary people from different parts of the country. All of them have extraordinary powers and will fight the good versus evil battle to fulfill an ancient prophecy and save the world. The show marks the return of Shama Sikandar (remember Pooja in Yeh Meri Life Hai?) in television.

Rishta.Com starring Shruthi Seth, Suchitra Pillai, Jugal Hansraj and newcomer NRI actor Kavi Shahri is another unique show being launched, in terms of storyline. It is the story of Isha and Rohan — two very different people — coming together to form a matrimonial agency and find you the perfect match. The serial is about their journey in life and how they help people find their perfect match. This is supposed to be a fun-filled emotional roller coaster show!

The last in the list — Mahi Way is the story of an ambitious 25-year-old girl. She is creative, confident and unapologetic. Mahi wants to have a great career and a prince charming go hand in hand. The serial shows you how she leads her life her way, which will be better known as Mahi Way! Pushtie, earlier seen in Jassi, Kareena Kareena and Hum Paanch, will be playing Mahi in the serial.

Overall, the fare seems perfectly balanced with reality shows, soap operas and thrillers in equal abundance. Coming from the YRF stable and considering they understand audience pulse better than anyone else, there is ample reason to believe that these shows will be runaway hits. But considering Sony’s track record in the last couple of years and their failed revamp in the first half of 2008, one prefers to keep fingers crossed.

However, there is no doubting the fact that this may be a make or break launch for Sony. For YRF, this is just another venture, but for Sony this is their last ditch effort for survival in the big league of Indian broadcaster community. All these shows will be telecast on Sony between 8 and 10 pm from Friday to Sunday, every weekend, starting on the first day of the new year.

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