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‘Chakravartin Ashoka’ to be Colors’ magnum opus in 2015

MUMBAI: Colors has unveiled ‘Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat’, which will be the channel’s biggest show of the year.

Launching on 2 February, the mega historical will occupy the 9 pm slot on the channel from Monday to Friday. It will be a first-of-its-kind move for the channel where a historical will occupy the one-hour highly competitive primetime slot.

Raj Nayak, CEO, COLORSColors CEO Raj Nayak said, “We need one hour to tell the story and develop the show for our viewers. We are trendsetters and want to break the conventions. If the content is good, it takes time to build and we feel one hour is perfect for us to tell a story in the perfect way.”

Aiming to keep it as a finite series, the channel has scheduled it for around six months.

Colors had earlier dabbled in the genre with ‘Veer Shivaji’ which was soon pulled off air. This earlier show was produced by Contiloe Productions, which is also the production house of ‘Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat’.

“At that time when ‘Veer Shivaji’ was doing 2.5 in ratings, we pulled it off air. In hindsight we felt we shouldn’t have taken it off. Other shows were rating higher and we made a decision to replace ‘Veer Shivaji’. When we look back, we realise we should have had some patience and continued with the show,” Nayak said.

He added that the channel has been thinking if they should choose mythologies and history. “We have now found a subject that is interesting. Our research also revealed that no one has really tried this,” Nayak mentioned.

Wanting to give it a grand scale, the channel took nearly 1.5 years to develop this show.

Contiloe CEO Abhimanyu Singh said, “The challenge for us is to make it authentic and yet relatable for today’s viewers. Schedules have been synchronised and camera time has been maximised to ensure timely delivery of such a large-scale production.”

Ashoka Colors

‘Chakravartin Ashoka’ will chronicle the life of the boy who went on to become the greatest emperor and charted the course of Indian history. It is the story of a boy who fought for his mother who was denied her rightful place in his father’s kingdom. He set out to change it all, to ensure that her honour was reinstated.

The show has been shot extensively in various locations across the country. The intricate designs on the mammoth set at ND Studios, Karjat have been put together by set designers Omung Kumar and Nitin Desai. The Mauryan era will be brought alive through the use of VFX.

It will showcase how young the journey of Ashoka (Siddharth Nigam) was set in motion when Chanakya (Manoj Joshi) set out to look for Bindusara (Sameer Dharmadhikari) to take over the throne and protect Magadh from the Greek Army General Seleucus Nicator (Tej Sapru), his daughter Helena (Suzanne Bernert) and her son Justin (Sumit Kaul). In an attempt to look for the rightful heir to Bindusara, Chanakya traced Dharma (Pallavi Subhash), Bindusara’s wife and Ashoka in the forest and brought them to Magadh. But Ashoka came to Magadh with a sense of vengeance.

Singh added that although the show will feature Ashoka’s life journey along with other facts, there will also be a bit of dramatisation in the storyline. “There are always dots in history which we have to fill with responsibility. So there will be dramatisation but in a responsible sense.”

Marketing

Believing the show will resonate well with urban and rural India alike, the channel has devised several unconventional marketing tactics. It has already roped in ‘Ghadi’ detergent as the title sponsor and is on the lookout for at least four more sponsors. The channel is asking Rs 1.50–1.80 lakh for a 10-second slot.

To amplify the message ‘Yeh Woh Raja Hai Jiska Sikka Aaj Bhi Chalta Hai’, Mumbai Metro tokens are being converted to coins from Ashoka’s Mauryan Empire for the duration of one week.

Besides, a special school contact programme will be executed in about 200 schools in 50 towns in Tier II markets where students will learn of Ashoka and his life in an interactive way.

With the channel also launching its action reality show ‘Khatron ke Khiladi’(KKK) on 7 February, it marketed both the shows together at ‘jatras’ where it organised a ‘Maut ka Kua’ for KKK and an archery corner for people to engage with the other show. KKK will air at 9 pm on weekends.

In a move to further engage with viewers, Colors has designed a 3D adventure-based shooter game called ‘Ashoka: The Warrior’. It will give users a chance to step into Ashoka’s shoes and fight enemies with bows and arrows. A third-person direct-play game, it has a special diagonal view where the enemies will be shown from Ashoka’s line of vision while highlighting his silhouette in the periphery as well. Medieval war and battle feel music has been added as background score to enhance the gaming experience.

Developed by Vroovy (a JV between Hungama and Gameshastra), the game was launched today for Android and iOS devices. While players can earn titles like ‘Archer’, ‘Sword Martial’ and more, they can also share their gaming experience through a leadership board and on social media platforms.

The campaign will further engage viewers through cable and television, print, DTH and OOH at multiple touch-points.