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Gulzar’s classic serial fetches fortune for Doordarshan

05-August-2004
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Gulzar’s classic serial fetches fortune for Doordarshan

Doordarshan has got a prized catch in eminent lyricist-filmmaker Gulzar’s commissioned serial ‘Tehreer Munshi Premchand Ki’. The serial is expected to refurbish its image as a public broadcaster and also fetch handsome revenue for the cash-strapped state-owned television network.

Almost three weeks before the launch of this much-awaited prime time series on DD1, advertisers have already committed sponsorship at a rate much higher than the official ad rate of Doordarshan. The prime time ad rate on DD1 for a 30-minute slot is Rs 3.5 lakh. But according to KS Sarma, CEO, Prasar Bharati, advertisers have booked the slot for the 10-episode serial at Rs 5.25 lakh. Hindustan Lever, Dettol and Onida have come up to be the sponsors of ‘Tehreer Munshi Premchand Ki’ – that is slotted to make its debut on DD1 from August 22.

The television series, based on Munshi Premchand’s short stories, would be preceded by his film ‘Godan’ – based on another Premchand classic by the same name. The four-hour-35-minute-long film, staring Pankaj Kapoor, Anjan Srivastav and Surekhi Sekri among others, will be shown in two parts on August 8 and 9. Like the television series, the film is also lapped up by advertisers. The two main sponsors – Dabur and Hero Honda have done advanced booking of film slots at a rate of Rs 10.5 lakh per hour against the official rate of Rs 7 lakh for an hour.

Doordarshan, according to Sarma, has lined up Rs 1.5 crore on Gulzar’s commissioned series. He told exchange4media.com that though it was not a commercial serial, Doordarshan would be making good revenue out of it. The broadcaster proposes to telecast the series in the UK and the US after dubbing it in English.

Meanwhile, Doordarshan has got another shot in the arm with the Planning Commission sanctioning Rs 100 crore of exclusive yearly budget to Doordarshan and AIR for making classical series, in the 10th Five Year Plan. Sarma said that with this funding, Doordarshan would produce 1,000 episodes of classical serials each year for five years as against a total of 1,500 such episodes produced during the last 40 years.

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