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Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Soap queen Ekta Kapoor turned up at the press meet to launch her new show Khwaish for Sony despite not keeping too well. Shot in the picturesque Dubai, the soap is the first from the Balaji stable catering to the audiences in Pakistan and the Middle East.
Besides expanding the television software production house's market and catering to public demand, Ekta has another purpose behind the making of the new serial. "I hope to be a bridge builder between these two countries," she said.
Apparently, when Kasauti Zindagi Kay and Kyunki Saas Bhi Bahu Thi were aired illegally in Pakistan, they got higher TRP ratings than Pakistani shows. "Bindis are not common In Pakistan, but after the telecast of Kasauti women started sporting bindis," Ekta informed proudly. "So I thought why should I not make a show for them?"
Besides, Pakistan and the Middle-East, Ekta has her eyes set on other territories as well. Balaji shows were dubbed and aired in Sri Lanka too, but when their popularity increased, the government introduced taxation on them. "It is similar to octroi which is imposed on imported cars so that the Indian market does not suffer," explained Ekta. The only solution in sight was to make shows featuring local artistes, especially for the Sri Lankan audience. However, the scripts are original, executed by specialized creative teams.
After making her mark in Indian television, the tycoon dreams of reaching other milestones. She still needs to come up with "something concrete" for the NRI audience, and a foothold is needed in the Hindi film industry, too.
"Once that is done, I'm also planning to invest in South Indian language films," informed Ekta. As of now, Balaji will concentrate on television software and producing Hindi and Bhojpuri films.
So finally Balaji is going global in a major way? "No, I wish I could say so. At present, I'm only catering to a few south-east Asian countries," replied Ekta.
At the same time, Ekta is slowing disassociating herself with the daily workings of the soaps; she has even credited Kyunki and Khwaish to Nivedita Basu. "I will now act as a trouble shooter. My team can come to me for suggestions and I will intervene for a month only when I find that the serial is not doing well," Ekta declared.
It was Ekta who started off the trend of dailies on Indian television. "I'm not the channel and I only do what the channel demands of me. But yes, I desperately want to change the viewing pattern once again, from dailies to weeklies". That's if housewives, who form a major chunk of her audience, accept the change.
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