Spark in the Air

Spark Punjabi,arguably the first international Punjabi channel,was launched on January 14.

Written by Jaskiran Kapoor | Published: January 16, 2012 12:55:04 am

Catch America’s famous talk show host Jerry Springer chatting in chaste Punjabi on television

Samir Verma holds his ground.

He insists that the decision “to air prime time American shows dubbed in Punjabi” was demand-driven and an outcome of exhaustive year-long research conducted across various target groups in Punjab. Spark Punjabi,arguably the first international Punjabi channel,was launched on January 14.

A joint venture between Reliance Broadcast Network Limited and CBS Studios International,this will bring to the Punjabi audience shows from CBS channel dubbed in Punjabi by a team of voice-over and dubbing artists and translators hired from Jalandhar.

The bouquet includes the famous Jerry Springer talk show and biggies like Hawaii Five-O,Masked Warriors,America’s Next Top Model and so on. In addition,there will be a good mix of Punjabi music and dubbed international movies. “We are working on local programming too,” says Verma,regional head for the channel. He adds,“Dubbed international content has a growing audience,look at UTV Action and other channels that are airing the same.”

Till now,while homegrown Punjabi channels like MH1,PTC,Tashan and ETC air news and songs,DD Punjabi has been airing some fiction shows. Spark,meanwhile,will be available through select dish operators. “We are working on content and making the channel available through all DTH providers,” says Verma,pointing out that Punjab,Haryana,Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh have a strong and growing market with regard to the audience. “Television penetration is 78 per cent in the region and advertising is huge,” says he. Will Punjabis be able to comprehend American jokes,language,slang or way of life? “Why not… if we start showing,they will,” says a confident Verma,adding that the dubbing and translation will be ‘clean and clear’.

Comedian and actor Gurpreet Ghuggi and Punjabi singer Alfaaz support the channel. “It’s a good start to showcase international programming,” says Ghuggi,adding that local and international content should be balanced. At the press conference organised by the channel at Hotel Mount View last week,the audio-visual of the channel’s promo flashed on the screen. There are two blondes in a catfight on The Jerry Springer Show arguing in chaste Punjabi. If not anything,it’s bound to bring a smile on the faces of the audience.

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