Miilee - on dollar girl

jingle IF-Rockerz

Joined: 18 December 2004
Posts: 5063

Posted: 15 April 2005 at 2:18am | IP Logged
Chaya Unnikrishnan
Posted online: Friday, April 01, 2005 at 0000 hours IST

She's the talk of the town these days. 'Kab milegi Miilee...' says one promo, 'mili to kyon miilee...' screams another. If you are travelling by road, you just cannot miss the enormous hoardings that dot Mumbai's cityscape. In probably what can be called as one of the biggest ad campaigns after the recent fanfare of Indian Idol, a new show Miilee is being launched with a huge blitzerkeig on STAR Plus
Chaya Unnikrishnan
Lekin it was not easy for the channel to get Miilee, we mean the lead actor Mona Vasu to play the title role. Only after a lot of persuasion and pep talk from Shailaja Kejriwal, creative director of STAR Plus, did the Kodak girl conceede to be the small-screen's Milee. Mona who hails from Delhi got into dramatics at an early age right after her schooling. In her first year of college she joined a theatre group Khilona which conducted workshops for children. Next, she did a couple of plays for a group called Antara. She also did a few episodic series of shows on BBC and TV 18. It was when she was anchoring a travel show Operation Gold on STAR Gold that she was noticed and approached by Shailaja to play the role of Milee. At that point, Mona was thinking of entering films and didn't want to get into television in a big way. That was in March last year. For two months after her refusal, hundreds and thousands of girls were auditioned for the role, but none fitted the bill. "We were looking for a bubbly, vivacious and innocent girl who could emote beautifully," offers Vinta Nanda, producer of the soap. Since they couldn't find anyone, STAR approached Mona once again. This time the STAR officials along with producer Vinta narrated the script to Mona and explained to her that doing a serial wouldn't be an hindrance to her journey into films. "After hearing the story, I realised that there couldn't be a better break for me. The role is so varied that it gives me a scope to perform every shade of emotion - there's romance, comedy and melancholoy," gushes Mona who had steadfastly stayed away from anything that revolved around a saas-bahu. Now that she's playing Milee, comparision with the big screen's Mili is inevitable. "The only similarity between my Milee and Jayaji's Mili is that both of us are bubbly, lively and full of energy. Otherwise the story and the characterisation are completely different," she explains. While Hirshikesh Mukerji's Mili brought song and sunshine in the life of a brooding and embittered Shekhar, television's Miilee will spread cheer and prove to be the catalyst in the lives of a dysfunctional family.

An orphan, Millee is brought up in a convent and as soon as she reaches the age of 18 she is let out of her cocoon, the protected world she has known so far. She takes up a job of a companion to a old and irritable lady who's lived the life of a recluse for several years. In doing so she enters the lives of Rastogis who live as one big joint family. For Milee who's never had the fortune of having a family, it's a huge revelation. She realises that all the family members have their own problems and do not relate with each other despite staying under the same roof. To top it, she and the granny played by the inimitable Sushma Seth hate each other at the outset. Of course, with Milee's fun-loving nature and optimistic outlook, things soon change for the better...or do they? A skeleton from her past threatens to catch up with her...

Chaya Unnikrishnan

Adapted from a Spanish tele-novella, Milee which will air at the all important prime time slot 9 pm is replacing all the weekly serials of STAR Plus which include Des Mein Niklla Hoga Chand, Sanjivani - A Medical Boon, Saara Akash and Kehta Hai Dil . Mega bucks are being spent on the marketing as it is expected to be nothing less than a channel-driver. Huge hoardings have been put up across major cities, major malls, multiplexes and theatres have been chosen to air a music video of the title track sung by Sonu Nigam. The video is on a high rotation on the STAR bouquet of channels along with the show's blink-a-minute on- air promos. Ringtones of the song composed by Pritam (Dhoom) are being made available. Says Ajay Vidyasagar, Executive VP, Mkg & Communications, STAR Plus, "We have already had close to six lakh downloads of the ringtones since we have started airing it."

On the D-Day, i.e on April 4, there will be a dramatic on ground campaigning. The channel is planning to intercept traffic signals at key places, throng the railway stations and offer free rikshaw rides to the public so that they reach home at 9 pm to catch the inaugural episode. A dabba packed with sumptuous dinner will be sent to 500 households in six cities so that the housewife can take a break and watch Milee. Last time the channel used the lunch dabba was for Kaun Banega Crorepati and we all know that the show changed its fortunes. The press too will be used for an extensive campaign on that day. Comments Vidyasagar, "Our campaign is bigger than the biggest advertisers Colgate and the like who buy huge GRPs (Gross Rating Points) on the STAR Network."

Touted as the new 9 pm girl, Mona in her boyish attire, pants, tees, snikers and a prominent cap tilted on one side has certainly raised the curiousity levels. However, with the spate of transformations happening on the telly, Jassi, Kareena, Nikki, one wonders if a makeover is planned for the big-nosed Miilee. "No, she definetly won't have any nose job done," laughs Vinta Nanda. "Those are external reasons for popularity. Cosmetic changes can only bring a whiff, a temporary viewership, but it's the content that sustains it," she adds.

Miilee has brought back Vinta Nanda and Raman Kumar to the telly as a team after a gap of almost five years. The duo had gone their separate ways after the onslaught of the saas bahu soaps and a spate of their own failed shows. "We found that we were stagnating and decided to concentrate on documentaries," quips Vinta. Soon, Raman Kumar went back to filmmaking with Sarhad Paar starring Sanjay Dutt, Mahima Choudhary, Tabu and Chandrachud Singh, while Vinta decided to make her directorial film debut with White Noise. The film, incidentallly, has made all the right noises with the critics and the box-office.

Says Vinta, "I have realised that for Raman and me to work together the project has to be very interesting. We are creative people first and producers later." When Shailaja approached them with the script, both Vinta and Raman were hooked after reading the first few pages. "Though it is an adaptation, we have acutally recreated it completely," says Vinta who's worked closely with the STAR Plus creative team in producing this serial. The serial which has a feel of Sound Of Music has been shot in Mumbai and Shimla as the family is shown to be residing in the hill station. "The best part of Miilee has been the shooting in Shimla where we get high on apple wine," grins Vinta. "Right now, however," confesses the producer, "I'm in a high state of nervousness. Expectations are high and we have put our blood, sweat and tears into the show."

Besides Mona, Miilee has in its cast, model and actor Ajay Gehi of Maqbool who is making his debut on TV, veteran actors Kiran Kumar, Asif Shaikh and Mahru Shaikh. It has been written and directed by Raman Kumar. Like their trailblazing Tara will Miilee also turn out be a trend-setter?

Khushalay Goldie

Joined: 07 February 2005
Posts: 1037

Posted: 15 April 2005 at 12:03pm | IP Logged
thanX 4 the article jingle.
§IMP£¥ §TÙÑNÏÑG Goldie

Joined: 06 January 2005
Posts: 1428

Posted: 16 April 2005 at 1:08am | IP Logged
thanks for sharing the article
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