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Makeover at nine

TV channels are re-inventing prime time with new themes and fresh faces this summer, writes Princy Jain.

india Updated: May 17, 2006 17:46 IST

All our ducklings-turned-style divas and neighbourhood brats like Jassis and Miilees are finally out. The couch potato can sit back and relax in the fresh new breeze blowing over TV channels this summer.

After almost two years of playing it safe with time-tested and hackneyed ideas at prime time, the channels have finally decided to give their viewers a break from overdone makeover shows and never-ending sad tales of saas bahus.

Served fresh

It’s not just new faces that we are going to see at prime time, there are new genres too to re place the kitchen politics. And, after rehashing the weekend slot, the channels are now targeting the weekdays.

Come June 12 and Star Plus will launch a new drama Virasat, to replace the successful show, Miilee. Produced and directed by Ravi Chopra, Virasat boasts of a multi-star cast — Sangeeta Ghosh and Rohit Roy play the romantic lead, and Amarr Upadhaya, Aman Verma and Kiran Kumar appear as other prominent characters. It traces the travails of a business family with romance as its prop.

The channel seems to be looking at a major change in the genre for the prime slot. Says Shailja Kejriwal, senior creative director, Star India, “Priyanka Kharbanda, the female protagonist of this show, is romantic and tough at mind.” Another channel, Sahara One is set to launch a new show on May 29, Sati… Satya Ki Shakti. Channel officials, however, are tight-lipped about the show right now.

Mushy moods

The small screen is not shying from trying out the love theme at prime time. Bani’s shy love tale, Kassam Se (Zee TV), is already on air to give competition to innocent romance of Rusty in Aisa Des Hai Mera (Sony). And with Virasat, the original romance queen of small screen, Sangeeta Ghosh will add oomph to 9 pm slot. According to Ashish Kaul of Zee TV, “though love and romance have always been an intrinsic part of all tele tales, this is after a long time that channels are dedicating prime time to out-and-out romantic soaps.”

Just got younger

Whether it’s Kittu of Kittu Sab Jaanti Hai (Sahara One) or Chandini of India Calling (Star One), the female protagonist of the new shows no more come draped in saris, worrying about their husband’s second wife. Naughty characters like Radha of Pyaar Ke Do Naam… Ek Radha Ek Shyam (Star Plus) and Ananya of Jab Love Hua (Zee TV) are more likely to strike a chord with the viewers with fun loving fizz than Dr Simran of Astitva or Jassi. Says Kavita Barjatya of Rajshree productions who’ve made Pyaar..., “The youthfulness of the character helps it grow and live for long.”

Variety show

If weekdays are about fiction, then weekend is the time to treat the viewers with variety. Star Plus’ new show, Dharti Ka Veer Yodha… Prithviraj Chauhan is set to do just that, following the line of Sony’s adventure game show Fear Factor on Fridays at prime time. Says Kejriwal, “Weekend is the time to rope in the wandering viewers as well.” While the channels re-invent themselves with fresh ideas, let’s see how they fare with the TRPs.