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Activities begin for MTV–Balaji joint serial initiative

30-June-2004
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Activities begin for MTV–Balaji joint serial initiative

MTV and Balaji Telefilms have kicked off the processes for their serial ‘Kitni Mast Hai Zindagi’. The venture is in two stages – first is a talent hunt for the actors to be cast in the serial and second, making the serial itself. The nationwide star hunt begins on July 1. While Rai University is the official sponsor of the event, the associate sponsors are Cadburys’ Perk, LG GSM, Santro Xing and Fa.

‘Kitni…’ is a differentiated effort on Indian television for the simple reason that a soap on a music channel isn’t tried for the Indian audience yet. However, it marks two significant trends of the industry – one, the fact that the music genre’s future has to look beyond conventional programming. Second, even an established production house like Balaji Telefilms has to reinvent itself and try to look at the next generation of TV viewers and the youth market.

The MTV and the Balaji team will audition participants in the age group 18 to 28. Ekta Kapoor, Creative Director, Balaji Telefilms and current actors working with her will be present at some auditions. The aspirants will be judged on their appearance, ability to act and personality. The on-ground activity will be executed in 100 cities including Chandigarh, New Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai through the Rai University campuses. The entire project will last thirty weeks with twelve weeks dedicated to the hunt, including pre-promotion. The serial goes on-air in the third week of September, 2004.

In terms of television, the screen test up to the selection of the cast will be shown as a reality show on MTV. By July end, a shortlist of 12 aspirants would go through a training process in acting, drama, voice projection and camera moves. These too would be captured and aired on MTV. Of these, in the grooming stage itself the channels will narrow down on their final six. These would star in the 39-episode serial ‘Kitni…’, which will be aired exclusively on MTV.

On the teaming of the two entities, Alex Kuruvilla, Managing Director, MTV Networks India, expresses, “We don’t know anything about serials and Balaji doesn’t know anything about youth. But when we come together, there is a lot that can be learned, exchanged and between us we know everything.”

Assuring that the storyline is completely different from a ‘Kkusum’, Kapoor says, “Kkusum is not reality, it is a fairytale. ‘Kitni…’ on the other hand is closer to life. It is about how a small town girl's belief evolves in the pursuit of her dreams.”

On his association with the venture, Vinay Rai, President, Rai University, says, “Rai University reaches out to the same target as MTV and Balaji. For academia, the screen tests are a great way to reach out to the youth of this country and provide them a platform to showcase their talent. Through MTV and Balaji, Rai University will reach out to the aspirations of the youth.”

This is a pioneering effort for MTV India and the attempt to create appointment viewing of this nature on the channel should reap interesting results. As for Balaji, apart from testing the production house in the youth arena, the exercise will also offer a pool of talent, which is a requirement today. However, with talent shows quite becoming the order of the day in television today, both the entities have to offer a lot out-of-the-box to lure the young Indian viewer.

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