Monday, February 28, 2011

Fox Series enhances programming to create New Women’s Channel

The channel, now called FOX, targets women with quality programming dubbed in Arabic and available in dual audio
Fox International Channels (FIC) is upgrading its FOX Series channel into a new 100 percent Arabic general entertainment channel for women featuring content available in dual audio (Arabic and English). The new FOX channel, will be called FOX, features exclusive blockbuster shows as well as new and exciting genres including international lifestyle programming.

“FOX Series was dedicated to bringing the best quality home entertainment to the region. FOX is taking this philosophy one step further and creating a channel for women with great formats, shows and new seasons of programming. Our research revealed that there is a huge demand for quality entertainment targeting women. Taking a page from these insights and findings, the all new FOX channel will now be the one-stop destination; bridging this void,” said Rohit D’Silva, General Manager at FIC Middle East.
Fox will be premiering a number of exciting new shows never-before-seen in the region on Free TV. The hugely popular award winning Glee, a musical comedy-drama television series that focuses on the high school glee club and Masterchef Australia, an Australian competitive cooking game show will now be showcased on FOX. Additionally, the channel will introduce to the region the ground-breaking novel series Lie to Me, the hit crime drama series based on the real-life scientific discoveries of world-renowned body language psychologist Paul Ekman. Especially exciting is the introduction of the show Jdeed O Mofeed during the day time, featuring unique content that adds educational value while providing practical solutions for women’s everyday life, across various genres such as cooking, arts and crafts, health and beauty, parenting and home improvement. The ever famous favorite classic Desperate Housewives will also be showcased featuring season 6. As a launch special, FOX will air all these shows on a daily basis, bringing viewers a new episode every week night.
The new FOX channel, just like the FOX series channels will be readily available on Free-to-Air and accessible to all individuals in the region.
“FOX is the next step in the brand’s evolution, offering improved value proposition to advertisers that is more comprehensive, with novel genres of programming and exciting new series that cater especially to women. You could not ask for better programming!” said Pierre Al Daher, President, Broadcasting, Rotana Group.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mammootty – The best actor award 2011 on Asianet

Mammootty officially inaugurates the
 'Mammootty - The best actor award' 

Megastar Mammootty launched the second edition of  ‘Mammootty — The best actor award’ in the presence of the jury members and MR Rajan, Asianet Assistant Vice President. The show on Asianet is for finding the best talents in Kerala.

Mammoottty and the participants
The second edition is coming with never before seen sessions and challenges. The show will have 10 contestants (five male and five females), who were selected and trained by the young brigade of Malayalam film industry – Arun Kumar, Martin Prakkat, Rohan Krishna, Sunil Karyattukara, Rajesh Kannankara, Radhakrishnan Mangalath, Deepu Karunakaran, Shyju Anthikadu, Mohan Raghavan and Mammas.
A jury comprising award winning film maker Ranjith, actress-director Revathy and cinematographer Venu will judge the participant’s talents.
The show will be aired every Sunday at 12.30 (UAE) on Asianet and every Friday at 20.30 (UAE) on Asianet Middle East.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

OSN launches OSN Action HD

The launch of OSN Action HD brings the line-up to 13 HD channels exclusively to OSN customers

OSN recently confirmed the launch of OSN ACTION HD — a brand new channel that will provide the very best in action entertainment to OSN customers from 01 March. The latest addition to the network brings the OSN line-up to over 85 channels which include 13 HD channels to OSN customers in the MENA region.
OSN ACTION HD is non-stop adrenaline rush of thrilling HD entertainment, viewers who love  action fuelled movies will be in paradise with hundreds of films packed full of the biggest and best thrills any action fan could wish for. Explosive action, stunts and death-defying antics all from the greatest action stars in the business.
“The launch of OSN ACTION HD responds to increasing customer demand for high quality programming with the intensity and vividness of HD. We are proud to be able to offer the region’s most comprehensive HD service, OSN homes can currently access up to 13 HD channels spanning entertainment, sports, movies, series, kids and documentaries. Our customers have now come to demand HD as standard and we look forward announcing more HD channels in the coming months.”
The action packed line-up includes Ninja Assassin, Saw VI, Let Me In, The Grudge 3, The Midnight Meat Train, Armored, The Butterfly Effect 3, Echelon Conspiracy and Wild Things: Foursome plus many more.
With the addition of OSN ACTION HD, customers will be able to enjoy the largest range of OSN HD programming and other leading channel brands including Discovery, Nat Geo, Food Network and Sky News.

Pallavi Joshi hosts Antakshari again!

But wait!! Before you jump out of your seats in glee, let us inform you that it is not what you think…
Archana Manav at Laxmi's wedding
Zee TV is back with Antakshri but this time in Sanskaar Laxmi’s wedding. Our very own Pallavi Joshi will grace your screens this time with the popular Marathi singer Avdoot Guptay on Zee TV’s Sanskaar Laxmi as wedding festivities go into full swing. The actress was clearly enjoying herself during the shoot and was all bright eyed and chirpy till the wee hours of the morning.
Pallavi and Avdoot
Also shaking a leg at the Antakshari will be TV’s heartthrobs — Ankita Lokhande, Sushant Rajput, Nandish Sandhu and Rashmi Desai. The four stars will sing, dance and join in the family frolic with popular tracks like Range De, Aiwaien aiwaien, Laung da Lishkara and others.
A source in Zee TV told, “Laxmi’s wedding will be like no other on Indian television as it will showcase the ethnicity and vibrancy of Gujarati weddings. It’s an opportunity for us to acquaint our audiences with these small rituals and traditions which form such an integral part of any wedding. The rich Gujarati culture and heritage rooted to their traditional ethics adorn the matrimonial celebrations with typical Gujarati fancies, elaborating the vivacity and exhilaration prevalent in their community.”

Rashmi and Nandish
The producer of Sanskaar Laxmi, Rajesh Joshi said, “It’s a huge challenge for us to put together such an extravagant wedding on television. Gujarati wedding celebrations and rituals are replete with gaiety and frolic and I’m sure pan Indian viewers will surely enjoy it to the hilt. The unique blend of traditions and detailing is something which make Laxmi’s wedding a sheer delight. Coming from a humble background, will Laxmi fight all odds to win the hearts of the Purohits? Will Laxmi be able to mould herself with the new way of life and adjust to a large family where each member has a different personality? Laxmi’s journey from Dharigam to Purohit’s family in the cosmopolitan city, Mumbai, will be the highpoint of the show.”
Archana Manav at Laxmi's wedding.
The wedding celebrations which are expected to go on for four days, will be a grand celebration of everything that is Guajarati. Right from the smaller rituals like the Tippani dance, to the Athango dance, producer Rajesh Joshi is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that this is the most talked about shaadi of the year.
Tune in to Sanskaar Laxmi every Sunday to Wednesday at 10.30 PM on Zee TV to be a part of the shaadi that will blow your mind!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Academy Awards Live on Fox Movies at 3am (UAE) on Feb 28

FOX Movies set to air 83rd Academy Awards, bringing the stars and action of Oscar night live at 3am on Feb 28 to Middle East movie lovers. Starting February 4 2011, every Friday and Saturday features three Oscar winning movies back-to back leading up to the 2011 Academy Awards. 26 prestigious classic films will provide viewers the opportunity to watch greats from the past.

Fox Movies will be exclusively airing this year's Oscars live from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, having secured the exclusive rights to the biggest event in the world's annual film calendar for the third year running. On February 28 at 3am (UAE), movie lovers across the Middle East will be able to tune in to Fox Movies and be a part of the action and excitement of the 83rd Academy Awards, all from the comfort of their homes.
Pearl Harbour
Additionally, to celebrate the Oscar season, Fox Movies has scheduled a month-long weekend movie-marathon, bringing viewers three Oscar-winning movies back-to-back every Friday and Saturday started on February 4, with a different movie showing at 22.00, 00.00 and 02.00 (UAE). Viewers can enjoy a total of 26 Oscar-winning movie classics including Little Miss Sunshine, Mystic River, Monster's Ball, Braveheart, The Last King of Scotland, Walk the Line, Million Dollar Baby, Training Day, Dreamgirls and Pearl Harbour.
"The Oscars is not only one of the most glamorous red carpet events in the world, it is also the biggest event in the world's annual movie calendar that brings together the best of the past year in the movie industry," said Athreyan Sundararajan, Marketing Director, Fox International Channels Middle East.
To promote the awards, Fox is running a series of promotional elements on Fox Movies and several cross channel promos on Fox Series and Rotana Channels. The elements feature; Oscar themed night promos, Oscar ceremony promos, interactive vox pops and Oscar contest promos. Additionally, the activation is also supported by print, online and radio campaigns in KSA and the UAE. Sponsoring the celebration throughout the month and the live broadcast are M&M's, Panadol, Sensodyne, Hardees, KFC and Ali Café.
"We are excited to be bringing our viewers live, all the dazzling stars and dramatic anticipation that the night is world renowned for. To celebrate this thrilling night, we are also bringing a series of Oscar-winning classics in the run up to the event demonstrating our commitment to providing viewers across the Middle East with exhilarating content straight from Hollywood." Athreyan Sundararajan, Marketing Director, Fox International Channels Middle East.
This year, Anne Hathaway, from The Devil Wears Prada and The Princess Diaries, and James Franco, from Spider Man and Freaks and Geeks, both nominated for Best Performance awards this year, will be hosting the Academy Awards, putting a fresh face to the Oscars. Meanwhile, the full official roster of Oscar nominees was announced on January 25. The King's Speech featured prominently with nominations in the best picture, best director, best actor, best supporting actor and best supporting actress categories. The Fighter and Black Swan were also nominated in several categories.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Farsi speaking audiences warm up to popular international TV series

FARSI1 TV taps into the fast growing market with dubbed versions of 24, Prison Break and The Mask of Analia

Popular American drama  24
Dubbed versions of popular American soap operas and dramas such as 24 and Prison Break are proving to be increasingly popular with Farsi speakers across the world as they tune into FARSI1, the privately owned Farsi-language TV station based in the UAE.
FARSI1 is a 24-hour free-to-air general entertainment channel featuring a broad and comprehensive selection of the finest international and regional entertainment programs across different genres. By lining up a refreshing array of award-winning dramas, action series and comedies, FARSI1 has succeeded in entertaining viewers like never before.
Dubbed version of South American
The Mask of Analia

Some of the popular programmes – all dubbed in Farsi – include Prison Break, 24, Victoria, Story of a Mermaid, Dharma & Greg, Malcolm in the Middle and Bez Bebek, among others. Also captivating audiences are dubbed versions of Korean dramas such as White Lie (Korean) and South American series, including The Mask of Analia and Missing.
FARSI1 is a joint venture between MOBY Group and News Corporation. The independent TV channel is transmitted via Eutelsat W3A and targets more than 100 million Farsi speakers throughout the Middle East and Central Asia. In the UAE, the channel is also available via cable and IPTV on all packages of E-Vision (Channel 251) and Du TV (Channel 791.
A still from Korean drama White Lie
Commenting on the development, Zaid Mohseni, Chief Executive Officer of FARSI1, said: “Since its launch, FARSI1 has rapidly attracted a huge following for the high quality and rich variety of its programming. FARSI1 has set the standard for Farsi language television entertainment by ensuring content is engaging yet appropriate for the entire family.”
Mohseni attributed FARSI1’s instant success to the rapid evolution of TV audiences who demand quality entertainment and its own ability to bridge the gap between different generations of Farsi-speaking viewers.
“Our programs are doing well because they resonate with the Farsi-speaking viewers, who explore content that they can watch and enjoy with their families. What is amazing is that these dramas have become the hot topics of discussion at dinner tables and social gatherings,” he added.
For more information, please visit

Friday, February 4, 2011

Choti Bahu returns on Zee TV

Come Fall in Love …Once Again
‘Choti Bahu — Dev aur Radhika ki ek nayi prem kahani” premiering on Feb. 16, every Sunday to Thursday at 7.30pm.

Avinash Sachdev and Rubina Dilaik 
are coming back to the small screen 
as Dev and Radhika on CHOTI BAHU
Love never ends. It is the infinite, eternal, transformative power of the universe. Going by the efficacy of this very thought and increasing demand from the audiences to bring their favourite couple Dev and Radhika back on TV screens, Zee TV will soon premiere an all new series of Choti Bahu — the show that was an undisputed leader in its timeslot.
Rubina Dilaik, coming soon as
 Radhika on CHOTI BAHU 
This year, Zee TV will once again touch the hearts of its millions of viewers with the pure, unadulterated and divine love of Dev and Radhika. This endearing and fresh story of Choti Bahu will have a new plot and many more actors, Dev — Radhika aka Avinash Sachdev and Rubina Dilaik will once again warm your hearts as the divine couple intensely in love.
The show will be set in Rawal, the place where the spiritual love between Radha and Krishna actually blossomed according to Indian mythology. The divine love story of Dev and Radhika will start when they are kids. Unlike the protagonists of the first season, Dev and Radhika will not be silent spectators and will now be projected as more outspoken and pro-active people. The story of the new version of Choti Bahu will begin in Rawal and later move to Mathura. Made by India’s foremost content producer, DJ’s Creative Unit, the show highlights love, relationships, friendship and even spirituality in modern India.
Avinash Sachdev, coming soon as 
Source in Zee TV said, “We were overwhelmed by the response that we received from viewers for Choti Bahu. Since the time the show ended, we have been flooded with calls, SMS’s and mails from viewers to revive the magic of Dev and Radhika. The Radha — Krishna amour is a love legend of all times. Classical love legends from Hindu mythology and folklore of India are passionate in content and never fail to appeal to the romantic side in us. These fables stretch our imagination, engage our emotions and entertain us. It’s endearing to see that Dev and Radhika as characters have become so enormously popular and that their love is synonymous with Radha — Krishna. Also, the idea of exploring spiritual relationships, divinity, the existence of soulmates was so very amazing and alluring, that we developed a fresh plot but decided to retain Dev and Radhika’s magic which had caught the audiences fancy. We hope this story too will touch hearts!”
Echoing the same thought, Avinash Sachdev, the man who will once again essay Dev’s role said, “Both Rubina and me are extremely elated about being a part of Choti Bahu’s new quintessential story.”
 “It’s a complete new show with an entirely new packaging. Besides Kanha, the only resemblance to the earlier show is that me and Avinash play Dev and Radhika but in a totally new and different avataar. Dev and Radhika’s chemistry is so genuine and real that they have rewritten romance on television. Even this time around, we hope that we click with the viewers and are able to portray convincingly the eternal bond of Dev and Radhika,” ends Rubina Dilaik.
For an ethereal mix of love, laughter, tears, tragedy, drama and above all to connect with the divine, do tune in to Zee TV’s new show…. “Choti Bahu — Dev aur Radhika ki ek nayi prem kahani” ‘Dev and Radhika’s One new Love story’.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Interview with Kratika Sengar, Jhansi Ki Rani

Kratika Sengar, who plays the title role in the historial saga Jhansi Ki Rani airing on Zee TV shares her challenging experience about her legendary character in the immensely loved epic show.

The most important phase has started in Jhansi Ki Rani. What do we look forward to in the serial now?
Even as India feels a blast of patriotic fervor this Republic Day, the Rani of Jhansi rescues her child Anand Rao and father Moropant Tambe from the clutches of the British. The Rani hoists the Jhansi flag on her fort annexed by the British and sternly announces that absolutely nothing could possibly stop her from getting her Jhansi back from the British — a scene bound to give goose-bumps to every Indian across the world. The grand episode on Wednesday, January 26 marks the beginning of a fiery battle for Indian Independence between Rani Laxmibai and the British.

How do you feel playing the role of a legendary character of the stature of Jhansi Ki Rani?

Rani Laxmibai is considered to be the epitome of female bravery in India and essaying the role of a landmark character in history makes me feel very proud and at the same time extremely lucky to have bagged this role. Knowing about the Rani has been a great humbling experience, memories of which I will cherish forever. It’s no mean task to essay a historical character like Jhansi Ki Rani especially when the story track revolves around the famous battles she fought.

How has the character inspired you as a person? What kind of research have you done to play this role?

Once I was confirmed to play the role of Manu I was professionally trained in horse riding and sword fighting. I spent some time browsing the net and pouring over books to know more about “Jhansi Ki Rani”. Also, I had been to the workshop to learn the shloka's and the body language of how Jhansi Ki Rani was. Enormous research and micro-level detailing has gone into ensuring that this landmark struggle for India's independence comes across as impactful and memorable for the ardent followers of the show.

Has there been any change in your personality after playing Jhansi Ki Rani?

Since we shoot almost throughout the day its difficult to be normal at times as I continue to be in my character. The character of Rani Laxmi Bai has definitely instilled a lot of discipline in my life and I also feel stronger as a woman playing the role of the Rani. Struggle, Patriotism, Nationalism and National Integration have found new meaning in my life post Jhansi KI Rani experience.

Jhansi Ki Rani is an action packed drama. The war phase has started in the serial. Did you undergo any special training for the war sequence? Any anecdotes or experiences while training?

The hours devoted to training for the battle scenes have been increased and the actors are up at the crack of dawn to rehearse for the major war that is currently being shot. I train for nearly 4 hours each day to perfect my sword wielding technique.
The ancient art of Malakhamb has been brought to the sets by a trainer in the efforts to increase my stamina, flexibility and endurance. Malkhamb is a traditional Indian sport in which a gymnast performs feats and poses in concert with a vertical wooden pole or rope.
There have been many such instances where I have fallen off my horse but Thank God! There has not been any major injury. But, once my horse lost its way and went haywire… I lost control and was about to fall off a cliff … Sameer Dharmadhikari rushed in at the right moment and saved my life. The memories of that day still send shivers down my spine.

 What challenges do face shooting for the outdoor war sequences?

With no stone left unturned in ensuring a grand re-creation of the Azadi battles, the upcoming episodes will be a sheer delight to watch! It’s a crazy adventure shooting for the battle sequences! The heat, the grime, the heavy costumes and jewelry, it can all get very strenuous at times. In a battle sequence, one ends up damaging or losing a lot of props and jewelry. So it constantly needs to be replaced and the damaged jewelry is truly any costume designer’s nightmare. But, the result you see on screen completely justifies the pains we’re taking!
Re-creating battles from a bygone era is a challenge in itself. A thousand women with ornate jewelry ranging from earrings and necklaces to payals and bangles, hundreds of men in bejeweled pagdis, kadas and traditional neck-pieces, even animals adorned with olden era baubles and gems — all to be captured in violent, vigorous battling action is not an easy task.

Tell us about the promo shoot in Kolhapur and the scale of production in the war scenes?

The historical drama is headed towards an exciting climax and currently the channel wants to recreate the power, the rage and the magnitude of this landmark historical war.
People in the production team say that Zee TV has spent close to Rs.4 Crores on the final war sequences of the show. Manpower to the order of 2000 soldiers, almost a hundred elephants and horses, bulk orders of ammunition such as replicas of swords, archery sets, shields and armor, special war wardrobes for the manpower hired, international graphic experts flown in to enhance the grandeur of the war sequences have sent the budget of the show sky-rocketing.
Zee TV is walking that extra mile to translate this vision into reality and give the audience a genuine flavor of the Rani's epic war.

The patriotic fervor of the country is in full swing during Independence and Republic Day. Do you see patriotism in a different light after portraying the role of the Rani?
Yes definitely! Patriotism will never remain the same for me again. As a kid we used to celebrate Republic Day with great enthusiasm in school. Unfurling the Tricolor and singing the National Anthem early morning filled our hearts with pride but reading about the great leaders and living the character of a legendary figure, who began the Indian Revolution against British Colonialism and for Indian independence, day in and day out changes your outlook towards the concept of ‘Freedom’ and ‘Struggle for Independence’ completely.

Zee Cine Awards 2011 on Zee TV at 21.30 on Feb 5