Saurabh Tewari, Head of Programing – Fiction, Imagine TV has an exclusive conversation with TellyBuzz wherein he talks about the major reshuffle in time slots when it comes to Imagine's daily fiction shows, on their next fiction launch, Pardes Main Mila Koi Apna and much more..
What are the new fiction line-ups in the first quarter of the year in Imagine?
We will be launching two new shows, Pardes Main Mila Koi Apna and Chandragupta Maurya. Pardes launches on 1st February and will take the 10.30 PM slot.
Talk us thro' the recent shuffle in the fiction line-up to accommodate your new reality show Zor Ka Jhatka?
Zor Ka Jhatka is one of our huge properties and we found it apt to place it at the 9-10PM prime time slot as this is the slot that guarantees maximum viewership and base to perform. Gunahon Ka Devta and Baba Aiso Varr Dhundo will be shifting by just half an hour. While Gunahon moves from the 9 PM slot to 8.30 PM, Baba will take the 10PM slot from the present time of 9.30 PM. There is not much of a shift in the audience profiling; we have a good loyalty for both the shows and I don't think it will make much of a difference. Also both these shows will get an additional push from Zor Ka Jhatka as it placed just before and after the SRK hosted show.
What about the time slots of Armanon Ka Balidaan Arakshan and Rakt Sambandh?
We have not yet decided on the time slots for both these shows. But we can tell you that they will not go off air. Bandini is the only show that will go as of now.
But Rakt Sambandh is a show that is giving you decent ratings at the 10 PM slot. So why touch it?
We believe that a good show has the capability of working in any slot. Rakt Sambandh is doing well for us, and by pushing it to probably an early evening slot, we might again make slight changes in the overall story line so that it suits that particular time slot. As you know, Rakt Sambandh began as a multi-track story, but after a point the research and audience feed backs gave us a clue that the show might do well if we concentrate on one particular main track. So taking this into notice, we changed the track and it really did wonders for us. After a point, changes in story telling will happen and this is exactly what we will attempt to do again.
We have heard that there will be a series of love stories to come in Imagine this year. Your take on this..
Yes, we will start with Pardes Main Mila Koi Apna which is a different kind of a love story. It is the love story of a girl who hails from Eastern UP with a Maharashtrian boy. The show will deal with the conflicts that happen in the city of Mumbai between people of various sections, backgrounds and socio-economic status. It will focus on the day-to-day life style, the problems they face and how they overcome them, the impact of corruption and crime etc. And amidst all this, will be the love story.
Tell us about Pardes Main Mila Koi Apna.. What's the USP of the show?
This is a love story set in the backdrop of the city Mumbai where life of a common man is so very challenging. It is about this girl who is an outsider, and comes and settles in Mumbai to become a part of the culture and flavour of the city. She goes on to fall in love with a boy from a totally different community, and that is the basic plot of the show. This show can only be set in Mumbai.
So will you be capturing the real essence of Mumbai by shooting in real-life locations?
Of course!! We have already shot an action sequence in Dadar. There is a very important scene shot in Goregaon. We will surely capture the real flavour of the city wherever the script demands that. Otherwise, we have a set in Film City.
We heard the story is based on the movie West Side. Will it be completely based on it?
See, it's not exactly the story of 'West Side'. It is the story of two gangs wherein the boy's elder brother belongs to one gang and a relative of the girl belongs to another gang. And the similarity ends here. In this case, Arjun Bijlani and Kapil Nirmal play brothers.
Give us a brief on the two male leads in the show..
We are talking about a typical Maharashtrian family which resides in Dadar. The father is a cop and they have been staying in the Police Colony for 25 long years. You will find a typical Mumbai impact in one guy wherein he represents the aggressive unemployed youth of the city. He will start questioning his own father that he has not been able to achieve anything in life, and that he is a loser. This will give rise to realistic situations wherein the father gets a setback after sacrificing all his life to give his kids the best in life. The life of Mumbai is projected wherein everything is expensive, and the salary slip that you draw never matches with the monthly expense of the family. His younger brother is this hep and happening, yet down-to-earth guy who has a different approach to life. The kids are aspirational and want to cross the line to achieve something in life.
This show was supposed to be based on the Marathi-UP political rift. What made you change it?
See, we just had a discussion over the table about working on a political drama. But we decided internally that the route will not be correct. We wanted to stick to the entertainment aspect and keep the sensitive issues away. Frankly speaking, we did not even reach to a scripting level also.
You have taken known names in Arjun Bijlani, Kapil Nirmal and Bhavna Khatri for the show. Any keen interest in choosing them?
There was nothing that specific in casting them. We also went for some new faces, but things did not materialize. This is a show where we needed good actors, as there is a demand of depth and intensity in terms of performances. Having said this, we needed to have a freshness in the actors we choose as this is a love story. But no new comers fit the bill. As we saw Arjun Bijlani in the audition, we found him perfect for the role of Chandu. And above all, he has a very good fan following. Kapil Nirmal as Sarje Rao too fits well into the character.
Tell us a bit more on the casting of the show..
We have Atisha Naik who is a known name in the theatre industry. She is debuting in television with this show. Also we have noted actress Prachi Pathak.
What is the message that the show will give to the viewers?
Honestly speaking, this is not a hard-hitting show that will drive out a message. But there will be a sense of national integration, wherein irrespective of the region you come from you will get affected if there is a problem. Mumbai's life is so fast and happening, and there are many incidents and accidents that take place day in and day out and the only way to face problems is to stay united. We will not be passing any direct message, but we will convey this while narrating the love story.
Imagine is working for the first time with Reliance Big Productions. How has the association been?
It has been very good so far. Jayesh Patil and I have been working on this concept for sometime now. They are brilliant Producers and give us a good infrastructure support which is an added advantage.
Noted writer Jayesh Patil who has penned Laagi Tujhse Lagan is writing this show. How well has the concept and script come out?
It has been going good. Jayesh Patil is the Fiction Head of Reliance Big Productions.
When is the launch of Chandragupta Maurya being planned?
We are still figuring out the dates. It should be either in February or March.
Another show to be produced by BAG Films is in the pipeline, is it? Any cast finalized for the same?
We have a couple of fiction shows, basically love stories in the pipeline. But it is too early to comment on it.
Is it a concern that Imagine has not been able to cross the magical 100 GRP mark even now?
We had crossed the 100 mark before, for three-four weeks. But yes, it is a matter of concern and we are working towards it. There are so many channels and shows these days. We need to be convinced of what we are doing and we are incorporating good content by keeping the audience views and research results in mind. We are positive about the outcome and it is only matter of time before we achieve it.
Reporter and Author: Srividya Rajesh