One year after completing a deal for the transfer of the SAB TV brand and related assets to SET Satellite (Singapore) Pte Ltd. (on April 15, 2005, in a deal worth US$ 13 million), the Adhikari brothers are doing what they have always been good at -- creating quality content for Indian television. Gautam Adhikari has announced an afternoon show, ‘Rishton Ki Dor’ for Sony TV; an untitled show for SAB TV in the primetime slot; a thriller, ‘KGB’, on DD Metro; and another one called ‘Police Hai’ (channel not yet finalized).
Adhikari and his team have conceptualised a new show to help Sony TV beef up its afternoon slot. ‘Rishton Ki Dor’ (300 episodes) starts Monday, May 15, 2006, in the 1:30 p.m. afternoon slot. It is inspired by a popular Spanish show, ‘Three Sisters’. Explained Adhikari, “It is the saga of three sisters and their brother, who takes care of them after their parents pass away. One sister is a nurse, the other is married and the third is studying. It is set in contemporary Mumbai and narrates the trials and tribulations of a Maharashtrian family. There are several other parallel tracks too. For the first time, we have chosen a Maharashtrian family against the standard Gujarati or Punjabi household.”
The settings are middle-class but the look and feel will be glossy. When asked about the reason why it had been adapted from the Spanish show, Adhikari said, “Spaniards are as emotional as Indians and both love melodrama. And the Sony Network has got the rights of the show -- thereby making it easier for us to adapt to the Indian milieu.”
Adhikari claims to have chosen known faces such as Anuj Saxena, Urvashi Dholakia, Anju Mahendroo and Raza Murad amongst others. “Known faces help get more eyeballs,” he averred.
Adhikari has lined up some new shows for SAB TV (prime time) and also for Doordarshan Metro. “On Metro, I have the thriller, ‘KGB’, with Ashutosh Rana. Rana is a known face and a talented actor. People will sample the programme due to his name but then the treatment and the storyline will take over. I am confident that it will be well received. Today, audiences need familiar faces,” he observed.
“I am also working on a serial called ‘Police Hai’ with Bishwajit Pradhan and Upendra Limaye. I want to tell the people that the police do exist in today’s world of crime,” Adhikari said.
He is also planning three feature films this year -- two thrillers and one comedy. “I have always enjoyed doing thrillers. In the case of a comedy, the performers, writers and directors get credit in that order. The director is remembered last. However, in a thriller, the director gets credit for his deft handling. The director can play with a lot of elements like lighting, camera movements, etc. I will direct the thrillers but the comedy will be directed by someone else,” he explained.
When asked if budgets offered to production houses are sufficient, Adhikari said, “The budgets should be increased by 50 per cent. Then we would be comfortable in today’s context.”
Talking about television programming trends, Adhikari commented, “I see audiences seeking bolder programmes. After a few years or so, I expect to see forbidden things on Indian television. And the audience will definitely accept the changes. As far as censorship is concerned, I believe in self-regulation.”