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Zee TV launches socio-political comedy ‘Gangs of Hasseepur’

MUMBAI: In order to mirror the current goings-on in the country in a light-hearted comedy format, Zee TV has launched a socio-political comedy show ‘Gangs of Hasseepur’, replacing its sitcom ‘Bh Se Bhade’.

Launching on 26 April, the one-hour show will air at 8 pm on Saturday and Sunday. The ‘variety’ comedy show will feature different styles of comedy including gags, stand-up, spoofs and more. It will reflect the current political situation in the country with the ongoing Lok Sabha election, along with other social issues like price rise, powercuts, etc. by showcasing the true faces of the most talked-about netas, actors and sports figures.

Hosted by Ragini Khanna, the show will feature funny-man Raju Shrivastav, who plays Natwar Chacha and will present a stand-up act, while Bharti Singh will add a different flavour by personifying objects like electricity, rupee and more. Suresh Menon will add a whole new dose of humour with a spoof of Arnab Goswami in his own version of ‘Sawaal Pe Bawaal’, a debate show with guests on the hot topic of the day.

Speaking to TelevisionPost.com, Zee TV programming head Namit Sharma said, “There was a lacuna of a comedy show on Zee TV after ‘Bh Se Bhade’ went off air. We were very informally talking about how to make the content on a channel relevant as far as the current mood of the nation is concerned. So we thought let’s do a short-format series. Then we thought let’s do it quickly with stand-up comedians which later became gags and they became more items, and the show got a life of its own as it developed.”

Actors Mandira Bedi and Tanishaa Mukherjee will step in as ‘Hasseepur ki Haseenayein’, acting as judges. The show will see Bedi return to Zee TV after a gap of 15 years. She earlier acted in the show ‘Ghar Jamai’ that aired on the channel.

Gangs of Hassepur

Raj Kum Prasad, Harvard, Suresh Menon, Namit Sharma, Manish Jangra, Ragini Khanna, Mandira Bedi, Bharti Singh, Pankaj Saraswat, Raju Shrivastav, Dr. Sanket, Nittin Keni at the launch of Gangs of Hasseepur

The idea of the show took birth when the channel chanced upon the idea to create a different programme around the elections and other happenings in the country. Their man to go to was Pankaj Saraswat, known as the father of comedy, having conceptualised shows like ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’ and more with over 10 years of experience in the field.

Talking about the challenges, Saraswat stated, “Because the show was focusing on elections, it gave us a lot of meat to create as there is so much happening. I have been doing this for 10 years now so I have a database of writers who are constantly working on this. It was a challenge cracking it in such a short time as comedy needs a gestation period; it doesn’t happen overnight. What is funny today may not be funny tomorrow.”

With the best on the job, the show was conceptualised in a span of three weeks, and is produced by Saraswat along with Essel Vision Productions. Although the show was first conceptualised for six weeks, it was later extended to eight weeks.

“Currently, it is a finite series; we are looking at this show for around 8–9 weeks. We hope to bring it back and we will bring it back at the right time when we have something fresh to deliver. There is a lot of material now, but later as things calm down we might run out of material. Then we will do something else and wait till some new material comes up to bring this show back,” explained Sharma.

The show will be heavily promoted on the audio-visual medium across radio stations, Hindi news channels, kids channels and Zee network’s own channels. For the show, the channel will not be having a burst of promotion and it will happen throughout the airing of the show.

‘Sawaal Pe Bawaal’ will be extensively promoted on radio by calling consumers and asking them to pose questions that they want to talk about. The channel is also in process of tying up with a radio station where they will promote its Natwar Chacha segment and others.

Dabur Glucose D has been roped in as the presenting sponsor and the team is currently in talks with brands to come on board as associate sponsors.

Among the topical issues presented by the cast at the launch was that of channels creating awareness on voting and the politicians, the stone pelting incident at cricketer Yuvraj Singh’s house, rise in population and more. It also presented a ‘Sawaal Pe Bawaal’ debate on why Salman Khan is not getting married, with characters playing Sanjay Dutt (with a humorous take on his extended parole), Baba Ramdev, Narendra Modi and Aamir Khan.

Although there are a number of comedy shows airing on television presently, the channel claims that no one show is a me-too of each other, as comedy is not the domain of one channel or comedian.

The channel is now gearing up to offer new ideas to its audiences, with a plethora of new shows and revamp of existing shows on the cards ahead.

Next up, the channel will bring back its acting talent hunt ‘Cinestars Ki Khoj’ after a decade. Currently under development, the show will go on air after ‘DID Li’l Masters 3’ reaches its culmination.

Sharma stated, “The viewers of Zee TV love watching talent shows and we have given them a lot of singing and dancing shows. We thought this was a good time to put an acting talent show. You will see a lot of new things in this version of this show, as there is a lot more to than just acting.”

Zee TV also recently launched the new promo of its fiction show ‘Qubool Hai’ after a time leap, with a new look.

Commenting on the same, he added, “We want to offer new ideas to our audiences as they are expecting new things for us. Recently, we announced the promo of the new ‘Qubool Hai’, which has a new look following the leap. We will announce more changes and new shows as we go along.”