Jul 3, 2008

Entertainment - Balaji forays into non-fiction

The firebrand fiction factory, Balaji Telefilms, is foraying into non-fiction. The production house’s non-fiction division is ready to roll out two reality shows in the next few days. There’s a talent hunt reality show, Lux Kaun Jeetega Bollywood Ka Ticket, on 9X and Kabhi Kabhii Pyaar Kabhi Kabhii Yaar on Sony Entertainment Television (SET). While the show on 9X is a reality talent hunt to find Bollywood’s next superstar couple, the one on Sony is a celebrity dance show. Jordy Patel, head, non-fiction, Balaji, says more projects are in the pipeline. Kabhi Kabhii Pyaar Kabhi Kabhii Yaar will feature 21 celebrities. Seven contestants will dance with their real as well as reel partners. The judges and the studio audience will vote for the pair (real or reel) which has the most chemistry. The show will be aired twice a week for seven weeks. The duration of each episode will be one hour.
Balaji and Sony believe that the show will be a novel concept in the clutter of dance reality shows. Patel is confident that the show will have a ‘Balaji touch’ to it. “The show will definitely be high on production quality, be it light, sound or stage. There will be the requisite twists and turns,” he says. He adds that the show’s concept has a “mean and naughty” aspect to it, as the celebrities will be judged on their sizzle quotient with the real and reel partners. The judges are filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, choreographer Ganesh Hegde and actor Sameera Reddy. Albert Almeida, executive vice-president and business head, SET India, believes that it is the ‘Pati, Patni Aur Woh’ concept that will draw in the audience. In a show of this scale, the channel has decided to do away with audience voting. Almeida provides a rationale, saying, “In shows involving celebrities, the audience is not very keen on voting as the perception is that the participating celebrity doesn’t need his/ her vote to win.” He claims that the voting is higher for shows such as Indian Idol. The short play-out time of the show is another reason for eliminating audience voting. The promos for the show will start today onwards on television, outdoor, radio and press. There are two TV commercials, which have been designed along the lines of Bollywood movies. “We have taken two popular Bollywood romantic numbers and featured the couple and the other person in it. Since the songs are both visually and aurally memorable, it will create interest,” says Danish Khan, assistant vice-president, marketing, SET India. With Dus Ka Dum becoming the channel’s trump card to get back in the reckoning, this show could be another booster. The other Balaji show will launch on 9X on July 6. The non-fiction and events division of Balaji Telefilms is a joint venture with actor Suneil Shetty’s venture, Popcorn Entertainment.For the financial year 2006-07, Balaji Telefilms’ turnover was Rs 317 crore, out of which Rs 293 crore came in from Hindi programming – which is mostly fiction and family drama. The Hindi content which adds up to more than 1000 hours of programming were aired on the major GEC channels of the country. Balaji also produces content for Doordarshan and other southern India channels such as Gemini TV, Udaya TV, Surya TV, Sun TV and Doordarshan. From the southern India channels, the company generates a revenue of Rs 24 crore and 670 hours of programming.This also implies there is a huge gap between the price that Balaji commands for Hindi content vis-à-vis other languages. For Hindi programming it commands around Rs 27 lakh for an hour of content, while for other southern Indian languages, it revenue per hour of programming is only around Rs 3.6 lakh.

No comments: