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Of the five shows that are being launched this quarter, non-fiction shows outweigh the soaps. Not surprising as reality shows have always been Sony's forte but it is fiction that the channel has been struggling with for the longest. Despite several new soaps launched in the last one year, including Krishnaben Khakrawala, Chajje Chajje Ka Pyar and Saas Bina Sasural, the channel hasn't been able to make a dent in the fiction space, which is the mainstay of any General Entertainment Channel (GEC). With Bade Acche.. Sony is hoping to change that. As Sneha Rajani, Senior EVP and Business Head, Sony, said at the launch, "Fiction is the foundation for any General Entertainment Channel and I am committed to work with finest creative minds to bring alive fictional characters. Bade Acche Laggte Hai.. produced by Balaji Telefilms is the first attempt in this direction and I am very confident that the character of Priya will bring a lot of women to the channel during primetime."
The channel has pulled out all stops in promoting Bade Acche Laggte Hai that has Ram, best remembered as Jai Walia of Kasamh Se... and Sakshi,who essayed the iconic Parvati in Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii, playing out a mature love story. Its lavish launch at Agra against the backdrop of the historic monument Taj Mahal - this when the serial is based in Mumbai and has nothing to do with the symbol of love - was testimony to the channel's determination to deliver a refreshing serial. If it succeeds, the serial will be a path-breaker not only for the channel but also in the programming space. Currently, television is dominated by fresh young faces with established actors being relegated to character roles. Bade Acche.. will be the first serial in a long time to have a 30 plus heroine and a 40- year-old hero. The serial based on the premise of an arranged marriage, with the married couple falling in love with each other after tying the knot, mirrors Indian society or at least 90 per cent of it. Obviously, Sony is hoping that the majority of the women identify with the concept and flock to the serial.
Sakshi also finds her character Priya extremely relatable. A happy-go-lucky woman, Priya is content fulfilling the wishes of her siblings. "Priya is a beautiful person at heart and mind," says Sakshi, revealing that the role was offered to her within four months of Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii shutting down. "I had been working for eight years and wanted to take a break, which is why I refused it then," says the actress. But Ekta, who had conceived the story keeping Ram and Sakshi in mind, refused to make it with any other actor.
Interestingly, the two actors who catapulted to fame with Ekta's shows have never worked together. Says Ram, who plays a ruthless enterpreneur, "This show is about two strangers getting to know each other after marriage and we share a different kind of chemistry." Promos of the show featuring the two are already on air and the channel is planning to market it aggressively in the coming days. A 360 degree campaign involving TV, radio and print with outdoor activity in 22 cities is underway. Closer to the launch there will be 'Below The Line' activity which is yet to be finalised. The promotions will continue even after the launch. Says Danish Khan, Vice-President and Marketing Head, Sony, "This is one property that has the power of sustenance as we are expecting a good number of women audience."
Since women form a large chunk of the TV audience, Sony undoubtedly is banking on the soap to take it to the top. While it was with KBC4 hosted by Amitabh Bachchan last year that the channel came back into the reckoning, Madhuri Dixit and Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa consolidated their position. Consequently, the channel's GRPs increased and is currently delivering 150 GRPs on an average. As NP Singh, COO, Multi-Screen Media Network which owns Sony, SAB, PIX and MAX, said, "Sony had a wonderful last year. With a new leadership and a robust roll out for both fiction and non-fiction slated right across the year, 2011 promises to be an exciting year as well."
Like they say, on paper, the channel has a promising line-up. But the question is ,will it deliver?
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