IT couldnt have been better timed. With comedy ruling cinema and television,and films shrinking to a two-hour norm,it was time to bring back the concept of telefilms, says Anooj Kapoor,Business Head,Sab TV. Starting November 19,the channel is all set to premiere the Maha Episodes series,slated for 9pm every Saturday.
The idea is to air 90-minute features,and if they are received well with the audience,turn them into a series. Its a weekend entertainment model for viewers,who,instead of going to a multiplex and spending quite a bit every weekend,now have an option of switching on the TV to watch a telefilm, adds Kapoor.
The channel has commissioned 20 such films,three of which are being made by RBEL,a joint venture between UTV Television and award-winning tele-serial writer,Rajesh Beri. The series kicks off with Beris Gaadi Bula Rahi Hai.
Santosh Nair,CEO,UTV Television,says,This new programming initiative will give viewers an alternate form of entertainment through telefilms. About the film,Beri says,Its a comedy drama that captures some slice-of-life situations during a train journey. Ninety minutes long,this feature stems from the years he spent working with the Indian Railways. I have worked with the Railways for 15 years before I took to full-time writing, says Ber,adding,I took this concept to many channels but when I met channel heads at Sab TV,I found them excited about my story.
Writing for daily soaps was getting monotonous,and Beri was looking for a change. The story of Gaadi came naturally to him and he was done with it in a weeks time. When you write 1,500 episodes in a go,writing does become easier, he laughs.
But he realises that since the audiences have got so used to the daily soaps,this new concept will take time to make its presence felt. People want to see their Tulsis,Kumolikas and Parvatis. The daily soap-makers,after crossing the 100-episode mark,drag the storyline because characters become paramount. But just as cricket wooed us with 20-20,we will manage this too, smiles Beri.