Want to recreate Ramayan’s magic, but difficult to fit into grandfather’s shoes: Amrit Sagar

13 Aug,2012

By A Correspondent


Amrit Sagar

Twenty years ago, Gods and mythology, not Aamir Khan, ruled the Indian television sets. In the late 1980s, streets would empty out on Sunday mornings as people sat glued to their TV sets to watch Ramayan and Mahabharat.


Now Zee TV, which is re-entering the slot with a mythological show – Ramayan, hopes to create the same magic. “Ramayan is more than mythology; it is the ultimate story about our culture and family values and relationships. We all grew up on it, and we want the current generation to know about it. We wanted to tell the story, which left an impact on us, all over again…” said Sukesh Motwani, head – fiction programming, Zee TV.


The channel has chosen the 11am slot because it feels that the story needs to be watched together as a family, and what could be more perfect that a Sunday morning.  It is happy that the slot is being relived again as various networks are launching shows on the same slot. “For the last few years, no one paid attention to the Sunday morning slot, but now things are changing. However, we do believe that the content is the main criteria which will make the show on that slot a hit or not,” said Mr Motwani.


The channel also believes that times have changed and TV penetration and numbers have increased over decades but the whole Sunday morning experience can be brought back with a story as simple and universal as Ramayan.


Sukesh Motwani

Apart from the story, one more thing common between the original and the new Ramayana is the Sagars. Zee TV has taken on-board Sagar Pictures. MxMIndia spoke to Amrit Sagar, who along with Moti Sagar and Meenakshi Sagar, is set to recreate the classic…


Many networks have showcased new avatars of Ramayan and Mahabharat, but failed to get the same response as the originals. So, how is this going to be any different?

We must keep in mind that the stories for such epics cannot be changed. One has to tell the same story; however, the way it is told can vary from person to person and how lavishly the show is made. From that aspect, we have tried to make it bigger and better than anything seen before. Having said that, we have made sure that the story isn’t compromises with, so, have followed my grandfather’s and Tulsidas’ original.


Audiences and mindsets have changed, so how will you make the show relevant for today’s generation?

We are very much aware of this fact. Therefore, we plan to charm the audiences with the visual effects and sets.


Will we see any new faces on the show? How did you choose the actors to play the characters, especially that of Ram and Sita?

There will be new faces on the show and the ones which people have seen on television earlier are the ones who have never played such characters before. So, it is going to be a different experience for everyone. Also, an image of the god is very individualistic. The actors we have chosen to play Ram and Sita are the ones we thought suited the bill from our view point. We are keeping our fingers crossed… rest depends on audiences and how they welcome and perceive the characters.


There are rumors of clashes because of current failure during the time of the telecast. Do you see that happening today?

It’s difficult to predict that, but I hope we are also able to create the same passion and effect.


Do you think Sunday morning slot will interest youngsters?

Apart from the metros, I think Sunday is like any other day for the rest of the country wherein the day starts early. Also, it is about the family spending some quality time together. Therefore, I don’t think we will face any problem in attracting the audiences – old or young. I’m sure the show will be enjoyed by a whole family together.


What kind of response are you expecting since the show will be aired simultaneously on Zee and DD?

Of course, we are hoping to see a great response from the audiences as the reach will massive. We want to create the same magic again. However, I also know that it will be very difficult to fit into my grandfather’s shoes.


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