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'Schizo' Om marries Tulsi

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By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Monday, July 31, 2006

In a casting coup of sorts, Balaji Telefilms has brought two of the biggest stars in their stables together in one big serial.

Smriti Iraani (Tulsi of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi) and Kiran Karmarkar (Om of Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii) will play a married couple in Balaji's latest show Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Sa Aasman.

Jaggu's no show

As reported by HiTLIST earlier this month, Jackie Shroff was approached to play the lead role opposite Smriti for the show. Says Nivedita Basu, the creative supervisor of the show, "There were three contenders for this role, and Jackie was one of them.

Our other two choices were Kiran and Amarr Upadhyay. We have finalised Kiran to play Sudhanshu Jajodia because he is a hardcore performer. That's what the role requires. It's the story of a brilliant but mentally imbalanced person dealing with schizophrenia."

That sounds quite similar to John Nash's character in the Oscar-nominated A Beautiful Mind. "Yes, Kiran's character is somewhat similar to Russell Crowe's in A Beautiful Mind," says Basu.

As for the reasons why Jackie isn't doing the show anymore, Basu adds, "A star doesn't add much value to a television show, especially if it's a performance-oriented role. Kiran is very talented. Also, he is more popular with the masses after his stint as Om."

Dual dilemma

Written by Kamlesh Pandey (who co-wrote Rang De Basanti), Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Sa Aasman is the story of Uma didi (Smriti Iraani) - a girl from a family of mill workers - and her fight against the upper class when she gets married into a rich family.

Basu admits that this is quite a departure from the usual saas-bahu sagas that have become a hallmark of Balaji Telefilms.

"The packaging is definitely different and unusual. It's about what Uma stands for after tragedy strikes her family and the mills get shut down. The mills get turned into clubs, but what happens to the families who are jobless? It's about Uma's dilemma - should she stand up for her kin or the Jajodia family that she's married into?"

Adds Bharvi Shah, the creative director of the show, "Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Sa Aasman is the story of the Aptes and the Jajodias. Since it will air on Star Plus on Saturdays and Sundays starting August, viewers will now get to see Smriti Iraani seven days a week at 10.30 pm!"

Who else is part of Thodi Si Zameen...?

Pawan Shankar plays trade union leader Sanjay Apte (Uma's brother). Sanjit Bedi plays a happy-go-lucky tapori Munnabhai, who lives in the same chawl as Uma. Achyut Poddar plays Uma's father, while Usha Nadkarni plays her mother. Shyama Deshpande plays Sudhanshu Jajodia's mother, Harsh Chhaya plays his brother, while Shilpa Tulaskar plays Sudhanshu's bhabhi.

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