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Will Ashutosh Gowariker's 'Everest' help Star Plus scale new heights?

The show is slated to go on air with 104 episodes from November 3, 2014 at 10 PM, replacing Sooraj Barjatya’s ‘Pyaar Ka Dard Hai’

Sarmistha Neogy | Mumbai | October 17, 2014

 Ashutosh Gowariker, Rohan Gandotra, Milind Gunaji, Suhasini Mulay and Kishori Sahane at launch of EVEREST
Ashutosh Gowariker, Rohan Gandotra, Milind Gunaji, Suhasini Mulay and Kishori Sahane at launch of EVEREST

Star Plus has announced the launch of its much-awaited weekday fiction show ‘Everest’ which also marks the television debut of ace Bollywood director Ashutosh Gowariker who is the writer and producer of this show. ‘Everest’ is slated to go on air with 104 episodes from November 3, 2014 at 10 PM, replacing Sooraj Barjatya’s ‘Pyaar Ka Dard Hai Meetha Meetha Pyaara Pyaara’ (PKDHMMPP).

‘Everest’ is the story of Anjali, a young girl who aspires to conquer her own personal Everest. At the age of 21, she gets a rude shock when she discovers that her father, who she hero worships, never really wanted a daughter. Faced with the biggest conflict of her life, Anjali is forced to question her very existence. To redeem herself and find a place in her father’s heart, she decides to fulfil her father’s unfulfilled dream – to scale the summit of the greatest and highest of all mountains – Mount Everest.

The show has brought together some of the finest actors of both television and Bollywood. It launches Shamata Anchan as the protagonist, Anjali Singh Rawat. The stellar cast also includes Suhasini Mulay, Mohan Kapoor, Milind Gunjai, Rajat Kapoor, Kishori Shahane and Manish Choudhary.

Uday Shankar Uday Shankar

Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India, said, “Star India has always endeavoured to bring our audiences innovative content that takes the Indian television viewing experience to the next level. ‘Everest’ is another big leap for us in that direction. We are proud to have partnered with a visionary like Ashutosh Gowariker who is one of the most adept storytellers of our country. ‘Everest’ is a stunning visual delight and an attempt at presenting something never seen before on television. I am sure that the story of Anjali will resonate with millions in India and inspire them to conquer their own Everest.”

Gaurav Banerjee Gaurav Banerjee

Commenting on the reason behind choosing the 10 PM slot for ‘Everest’, Gaurav Banerjee, General Manager, Star Plus, said, “This slot is such that it guarantees good eyeballs and as this time band was occupied with PKDHMMPP of Sooraj Barjatya which was going off air, we decided to bring in another big director, Ashutosh Gowariker, with his work ‘Everest’ in the same slot.”

Everest is presented by Fair & Lovely and co-powered by Godrej Ezee, while Vinod Cookware has signed up as Associate sponsor.

The show has embarked on a 360-degree marketing plan across television, radio and on social media asking viewers #WhatsYourEverest. The channel has also tied up with presenting sponsor Fair & Lovely’s ‘Fair & Lovely Foundation’ through which select individuals will get monetary and other assistance to conquer their own Everest and fulfil their dreams.

Can Everest be scaled? Hear the experts

Bollywood actors, directors and producers venturing into television have now become common. Most hyped shows with the biggest stars have also fallen flat on their face because of different reasons. Therefore, there are several factors which come into play for a particular show to work. Bestmediainfo.com spoke to a few media planners and production houses to understand if there is any success formula behind a hit show.

Anita Nayyar Anita Nayyar

Anita Nayyar, CEO, Havas Media Group, India & South Asia, said, “Looking at the promos of ‘Everest’, it looks different and interesting. But whether the show will work or not will depend on the stickiness of the content. No matter how big the show is, it has to deliver. We have seen earlier as well that shows with big stars and big directors being launched, but once the initial craze or excitement fizzled out, the shows have bombed. Coming to the question if ‘Everest’ will give good ratings, I would say it is better to wait and watch!”

When a show of this stature is being launched on television, there are a lot of expectations from it. On being asked whether ‘Everest’ can compensate the absence of a show like ‘Mahabharat’, Nayyar said, “Both the shows are of two different genres and they cannot be compared. Mahabharat was enjoyed by a wide gamut of audience owing to its huge popularity and mythological reason. I feel that ‘Everest’ can’t replace the popularity of Mahabharat, but it will also gradually find its own audience.”

After the channel’s mega fiction property ‘Mahabharat’ went off air in August, the channel has witnessed a decline in viewership. According to Week 40 of TAM 2014 (September 28 – October 4), Star Plus retained leadership position despite losing maximum eyeballs; it lost a maximum of 44 TVMs and recorded a viewership of 549 GTVM with a relative share of 24.81%.

Last year, Star Plus launched its much talked about show ‘Saraswatichandra’ which was based on the famous novel by Gowardhanram Madhavram Tripathi, and produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. In spite of all the hype surrounding it, the show never put the TRP chart on fire, and that is the reason it was pulled off air on September 20, 2014.

Praveen Sharma Praveen Sharma

Praveen Sharma, Co-Founder & Director, The Square Peg Films, said, “Expectations are huge like always. Ashutosh Gowariker is a visionary artist, and he would never try making another lousy TV series for the heck of it. His creations have been epic and worth remembering. This one should really take the bar up! Gowariker’s name is surely the biggest credibility factor in the show. However, the first few promos and initial episodes will decide the fate of the show.”

“Nowadays, audiences know what they want to see, and invest only in the thing they get excited about, and it doesn't matter how much the hype is. We have been witness to that in the past. Big names and faces can only get the initial attention of the viewers. But it is the merit of the content that sustains their interest. ‘Everest’ will have to offer something new and unseen to the audience. If not unseen, but at least a well-made and an engaging story to look up to. The audiences may like first few glimpses but it is story that sustains the interest of the viewers,” added Sharma.

Sadhana Sanbhag Sadhana Sanbhag

Explaining the importance of time bands, Sadhana Sanbhag, Media Director at Forecast Advertising, said, “For a show to click with the audience, other than good content it is also very essential in which time slot the show has been slotted. ‘Everest’ has been given the 10 PM slot, which falls under the bracket of primetime viewing and therefore enjoys good viewership. One of the reasons why a show like ‘Saraswatichandra’ didn’t do well is because it was given a 7:30 PM slot, which is too early for viewers. Regional GEC shows also act as competition to Hindi serials. And finally, a show must also have a healthy repeat pattern, which will enable the GEC audience to enjoy the serial at their preferable timing.”

The other shows in the competing channels in the same time band are ‘Meri Ashiqui Tum Se Hi’ on Colors, ‘Maharana Pratap’ on Sony and ‘Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya’ on Zee TV.

It is over to viewers. Whether Everest will be scaled by Star will be clear by the end of November.


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