| EKTA KAPOOR'S seeking male attention. These days the saas-bahu storyteller is tuning in to testosterone. So you won't find any mothers-in-law on Balaji Telefilms' recently launched K Street Pali Hill. Instead, the story revolves around three men, friends and joint owners of a chain of nightclubs, who zealously guard a secret from their past.
The first macho thriller to go on air firmly targets the yuppie male. In its initial three weeks, the show had a 46 per cent male viewership, according to a TAM media research study. So far, Balaji soaps have been skewed towards female audiences.
Also from the Kapoor stable is Karma, a supernatural show that zooms in on men and children. Between September 5 and October 9, certain episodes registered a 98 per cent male viewership while, on an average, 51 per cent of the audience is male dominated.
''Post 8 pm, there's nothing for men to watch on TV,'' says Kapoor, Balaji's creative head. ''Also the 11.30 pm time slot is the peak viewing time for men, I don't expect women to be up at that time of the night.'' Kapoor says she's planning to experiment further with the genre in the coming months.
All this, despite the fact that TRPs for the saas bahu K serials have remained constant over four years.
But while the Mihirs are still being drowned out by Tulsi and Parvati on Star Plus, ex-Channel [V] veejay Yudi is yelling out Men Maange More, on Sundays on Star One. A feast of boy toys on this lifestyle show clearly aims to net Mister Metrosexual. A sneak peek at the first few episodes sees Arshad Warsi dishing out fashion fundas, while veejay Shruti provides the drool quotient. ''Men love to play with gadgets, theirs as well as others. It's about giving guys more things to play with,'' says Yudi. So stay tuned while he dangles iPods, palmtops and Cherokees on a stick.
Tailing Yudi as he test drives the latest hot wheels is model Upen Patel, tightening his apron strings. Reality show Cook Na Kaho vows to transform a man into a master chef in just 26 episodes. It's not Khana Khazana with Sanjeev Kapoor, so Patel's spaghetti Bolognese turned out less than edible. ''I'm just learning, and the guys out there can learn from my experience,'' laughs Patel, tossing his salad, not quite artfully.
''It's the right time to cash in on men's aspirations,'' adds the show's producer Anil Naidu.
Traditionally, female viewership rules the tube till about 11 pm, but now there's Dil Kya Chahta Hai, attempting to go against the grain with its 9 pm time slot. Four men who live together in uptown Mumbai let the audience into their bachelor pad. ''Women can't have it all. For so long everyone thought that TV is only for women, but this is our take on relationships and life. It reflects the man's point of view,'' asserts actor Samir Soni. Vikram Acharya, who plays Akki, the sutradhar of the show, adds, ''This is our answer to Sex And The City.''
Even Doordarshan will follow suit with its very own sasur jamaai family drama, Sautela. Still at the pilot stage, the soap is being produced by Mukesh Khanna of Shaktiman fame.
But despite this initial enthusiasm, the lion's share of viewership is still female, so Star One is proceeding cautiously. ''Men fit more easily into certain scenarios like offices and detective agencies. We do hope, though, that both sexes will enjoy the programming,'' says Deepak Sehgal, a vice-president at Star India.
Even in terms of content, they're trying not to be outlandish. ''We've been conservative with the display gadgets, sticking to stuff easily available on the market,'' says Yudi. But change is in the air and it's bringing with it the HUB jacket, which has an MP3 player with built-in speakers woven into the fabric.
And since the TRPs are talking, you are bound to see more men.