An epic that will always hold sway
ITs an epic which will never
go out of fashion. Slick production values, excellent
performances and a masterly direction have ensured a
permanent place for B.R. Chopras Mahabharat in the
annals of the best serials ever made for television.
It speaks volumes of its quality that Mahabharat has been
translated into 17 languages and aired by various
channels not just in India but in the West and the Gulf
countries as well.
Now, the epic is notching another first. A Mumbai-based
company, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, in
association with the Cambridge University, has put
Mahabharat on the Internet scene for scene after a year
and a half of painstaking research.
So, in case you have an Internet connection and a
multimedia kit, and a sudden urge to refresh your
memories of this eighties epic, just go to httpbombay.
oriental.com and see your favourite characters enact
their parts on your computer screen.
may be tough for Sushmita Sen and Aishwariya Rai in
Bollywood but its not deterring wannabe stars and
beauty queens. Now Annie Thomas the former Miss India and
lead star of Khwahish on Sony, wants to make the serial a
stepping stone to films.
Annie plays the role of a struggling model aspiring to
make it big in the fashion world. Its all
about the experiences of a young girl who is determined
to succeed in the tough world of modelling. I could
instantly relate to the character as Ive had to
struggle a lot in the initial stages myself, says
Like the character she plays in the serial, in real life
Annie started out as a model for commercials like NIIT
and Electrolux. But her forte was the ramp, and she still
does three to four shows a month as she catwalks for
almost all leading designers.
Despite the megabucks she makes in modelling, TV
evidently is more interesting. It is. Thats
where the big challenge lies, says the Miss
India-turned-TV star unconcerned about the fact that
Bollywood has not exactly laid out the red carpet for
either Sushmita or Aishwariya.
Dishing out Mughlai fare
He may have
burnt his fingers with Akbar the Great but Akbar Khan is
not likely to give up when it comes to the Mughal
The serial maker is now planning another TV marathon
titled The Great Mughals, a 104-episode historical epic
revolving around the dynastys kings, their lives
and their contribution to India.
The shooting will take place in Uzbekstan, Pakistan,
India and Afghanistan where the Mughals held sway.
The groundwork has been done and the serial should
go on air by July or August, says Akbar Khan and
adds that each episode will cost Rs 25 lakh and
negotiations were on with DD and Sony for airing it.
It will be a great visual treat for television
viewers. The locales will be absolutely authentic and no
pains will be spared in its production, says Akbar.
For those who remember, the serial maker had made similar
claims when he launched Akbar the Great but the serial
got mired in so many controversies that it was taken off
the air. Lets hope its second time lucky for
News from Zee
in a name? Plenty if it happens to have something to do
with Zee. The channel first changed El TVs name to
Zee India TV. Now Zee India TV is giving way to Zee News
a news and current affairs channel.
The switch-over, according to Zee sources, has included
huge budgetary outlays, fresh appointments and new
correspondents. The channel has identified two of the
most popular past-times of Indians cricket and
elections as its main planks.
Says Zee boss Subhash Chandra, Zee News is going in
for a change in its editorial policy. It will lay
emphasis on science and technology,
socio-economic-cultural happenings and sports.
Styled along the lines of coffee shops of five star
hotels, the channel will telecast news every half an
hour. It will also create different time bands for state,
national, south east Asia and international bulletins.
Theres finally a choice for news buffs,
says a spokesperson of Zee. Indeed there is. With DD out
of the reckoning even before the race has started, it
would now be the turn of Star News to pull up its socks
and put some depth in its reportage before competition
Your turn to sing
Tired of the flood of cricket specials on TV? Heres
respite. You can now switch to summer specials on the
national network. Picnik Antakshri has been busy
innovating its programmes and trying to look as different
as possible from the original Antakshri on Zee.
In May it broke away from the routine studio set-up and
took its cameras, crew and artists to the cool
Oysters Water Resort at Delhis Appu
Ghar where invited participants tested their singing
chords amidst waterslides, swimming pools and fountains.
Now it has gone a step further. In a bid to garner
popularity, the show is stepping out of the cosy confines
of big city studios and is travelling to towns to attract
So, if you are staying in Chandigarh, Karnal, Ludhiana or
Amritsar all youve got to do is to send in your
biodata alongwith one song recorded on a cassette in your
voice to Picnic Antakshri, BAG Films, C-4 Shivalik, Near
Malviya Nagar Market, New Delhi.
And if its your lucky day you could be soon be
singing on the small screen with Sachin and Sanjeevani.
On-screen hes a villains
villain who has threatened the careers of traditional
baddies like Paresh Rawal and Gulshan Grover with steller
performances in films like Sarfarosh, Satya, Major Sahib
Though Govind Namdeo has been around on the small screen
for a few years it is only now that hes making his
presence felt. Such has been the power behind his
performances and he blends into the role so smoothly that
his own personality gets shrouded.
Whether playing the role of Ajmera in Parivartan or
Chhote Thakur in Mahayagya or Choudhury of Aashirwad,
Namdeo has been earning a devoted fan following.
But, he says that television is not his ultimate ambition
in life. I want to do a few good (read bad) roles
and then go back to theatre where I belong.
His dream is to set up an ashram-theatre open to all
where art can flourish without any restrictions. But
that, he knows, will take a long long time to
materialise. So, till then it is television and films
where hes obviously flourishing considering the
amount of offers hes getting.