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Star Pravah to experiment with short-format non-fiction content

MUMBAI: Since its makeover, Star Pravah has adopted a new strategy in programming, by tailoring shows to cater to the youth and experimenting with genres.

ek-taas-time-pass-01Reflecting its philosophy of presenting more progressive, individualistic and upscale content, the channel had launched a chat show with Sachin and Supriya Pilgaonkar—‘Jodi Tujhi Majhi’ for the Monday–Tuesday 9:30 pm slot. The show hit it off with the audiences, helping Pravah to rope in additional viewers.

However, the channel has been looking to experiment with short-format non-fiction shows running for around 26 episodes to bring in a mix of shows in different genres for the old as well as new audiences. Thus, the popular chat show will soon go off air, having completed its run for 26 episodes, and will be replaced by another differentiated comedy show ‘Dabal – Ek Taas Timepass’.

Launching on 12 May, the show will air at 9:30 pm every Monday and Tuesday. Unlike other comedy shows running on Marathi channels, the show can be categorised neither as fiction nor as non-fiction.

jayesh-patil-star-pravahSpeaking to TelevisionPost.com, Star Pravah programming head Jayesh Patil said, “We are now looking to experiment with content and move ahead. Our first experiment was the chat show in primetime which got us great time spent, numbers and new viewers. So, we thought that instead of doing anything clichéd, we would try merging fiction and non-fiction to create a new show.”

The show took six months for the channel to develop along with Indian Magic Eye, and boasts an episodic comedy show in the format of a skit coupled with song and dance. With ‘Dabal’ implying a place for youngsters to hang out in Marathi, the channel is staying strong on its philosophy to rope in a lot of young audiences as well.

It will see popular actor Swapnil Joshi play multiple roles as anchor, actor and more. Each one-hour episode of the show will present an individual story in the form of a skit. The show will also see peripheral casting, as Joshi will be accompanied by another actor Siddharth Chandekar, along with some surprise actors thrown in as per the demand of the episode.

With Zee Marathi already airing ‘Fu Bai Fu’ and ETV Marathi telecasting ‘Comedy Express’, it was a tough task for the channel to launch another comedy show that would appeal to the audiences.

However, Patil stated, “Marathi viewers are very well versed in comedy shows, but this comedy show will redefine non-fiction shows in the space. We are open to experiments and will keep doing so presenting different genres to our audiences in the months to come.”

He believes that regional is a space where such experiments are possible and they get in results for the channels as well.

Taking this thought forward, the channel is currently ideating a couple of other innovative non-fiction shows, which it will launch after the IPL and the ongoing general election.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that the channel needs to work on its fiction line-up as well which has not been able to match up to the likes of genre leader Zee Marathi. Of late, Star Pravah had only one show, ‘Pudhcha Paaul’, as slot leader for the 7:30 pm band.

But Patil explains that daily soaps do take a lot of time to get established as they run for a longer time compared to the non-fiction properties. He also adds that the channel has seen leadership in many slots in the average time spent and is now finding a good balance between its fiction and non-fiction properties.

In terms of fiction, Pravah is cutting down on its dubbed content and is looking to launch new fiction shows in the coming months. With its two dubbed shows ‘Devanche Dev Mahadev’ (Devon ke Dev Mahadev) at 5:30 and ‘Mahabharat’ at 6 pm slated to culminate soon, the channel will replace them with original fiction content.

Moreover, Pravah will not take the Monday–Sunday programming route which it did last year in May, as it believes that such a strategy comes in the way of the quality of the shows.

“We are pretty quality conscious now, and our past experience has taught us that if we extend our programming from Monday to Saturday till Sunday, the quality of the shows will go down. So, we will not be taking that route this year,” he added.