At a time when star-driven reality shows and daily soaps are ruling the roost on television, it’s surprising to learn that a religious show that airs once a week continues to do garner eyeballs, three years into airtime. Sagar Arts’ show Mahima Shanidev Ki completed 175 episodes on Imagine and continues to garner good TRPs on the Saturday evening non-prime slot.
Shiv Sagar, the creative producer of the soap, attributes the success of the show to the episode-format of storytelling. “Right from the time we started researching for the serial, we had decided that our objective would be to change the general impression that Shani is a cruel and unforgiving Lord. We wanted to convey the viewers that Shani is a fair and dispenser of justice who cleanses man’s life of the bad deeds of previous and present karmas and sowed seeds of goodness, humility and honesty in his heart during his time on Earth,” explains Shiv Sagar.
Interestingly, Daya Shankar Pandey asserts that it was a miracle that he was selected for the title role of Lord Shani. “It happened on a Saturday exactly when the passage of Shani in my horoscope started,” he recalls when asked about bagging the role. “I did not have much hope as I had not done TV till then,” concedes the actor who had worked in films like Lagaan, Swades, Gangaajal till he was called by Shiv Sagar.
“Much to my surprise Shiv took one look at me and said ‘you are my Shani.’ Then I heard him tell his assistants not to audition anyone because his search had ended,” says Pandey. When asked how long they plan to continue with the show on Turner Imagine, Shiv Sagar shrugs, “One can’t really say for sure, as the running time of the serials is dictated by the TRPs. Guess that’s something we’ll leave to Lord Shani to decide.”