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2018 at a glance: Zee TV’s focus on progression through endearing narrations

The year 2018 has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride for the Indian television. Viewership preferences were every changing, OTT platforms gained momentum, rural markets propelled the next growth phase and TRAI tariff mandate is set to change the game plan. Zee TV embraced all changes and continued to entertain the audience with an array of exceptional stories. The content offerings this year, keeping in sync with the brand ideology of the channelhave been encouraging and real. 

Here are some of the most alluring and worthwhile moments from the year gone by that helped Zee TV grow from strength to strength and connect with its viewers. 

Unconventional stories that struck an emotional chord 

Zee TV kick-started the year with the launch of its fiction offering, ‘Aap Ke Aa Jaane Se’, that narrated an unconventional romance of Vedika (played by Sushasi Dhami) and Sahil (played by Karan Jotwani), which transcends the barriers of age, life stages and background. Vedika Mathur is a 42-year-old strong, independent single mother, whose world revolves around tending to her own mother and her 15-year-old daughter. Sahil Agarwal, on the other hand, is a 24-year-old fun-loving, free-spirited young man, whose thirst for living it up often compromises any semblance of a focus in life or any serious career aspirations. It highlighted how people really don’t need a license to love or need external approval from society to feel for one another. 

Soon after, it launched the show, ‘Kaleerein’, the story of Meera, a small-town girl from Punjab, who chooses to assert her individuality against the reality of bride grooming schools that are mushrooming all over Punjab. Joining hands with social activist and actor-producer Gul Panag, who is opinionated and an independent woman, the channel launched the #ChangeHerNot social media experiment through a specially designed website www.MySoniKudi.com. The show featured actors Arjit Taneja (Vivaan) and Aditi Sharma (Meera) as leads and received a thunderous response from the audience. 

Up next, the channel put a spotlight on triple talaq, a germane phenomenon that has been creating unrest in our society through its show ‘Ishq Subhan Allah’. It highlighted the need of ‘Religion 2.0’ and how two millennials, Zara (played by Eisha Singh) and Kabeer (played by Adnan Khan) with two contrasting religious outlooks can coexist and fall in love with each other. While Kabeer is a Maulvi who abides by the widely followed, traditional moral ethical code of conduct prescribed by the Shariyat board, Zara is a well-educated young woman who applies the teachings of Allah to a logical, liberal way of life-based on modern fundamentals of practicality, rationality, gender equality, justice and fairness. In showcasing Zara and Kabeer’s starkly opposite schools of thought, ‘Ishq Subhan Allah’ urged people to re-examine their own perspective on religious practices and codes of conduct and bring an element of rationality to the way they understand and apply religion to their lives. 

Should one’s background define their destiny? This is what Zee TV asked its viewers as it launched its thought-provoking show, ‘Yeh Teri Galiyaan’. It is a story of two innocent children – Shantanu (played by Avinash Mishra) and Puchki (played by Vrushika Mehta), being raised in Kolkata’s red-light district of Sonagachi. A beautiful friendship commences only to be forcefully separated by destiny. It delivered a strong message about equal opportunities for commercial sex workers, or anyone for that matter, to rise beyond their reality, to envision and work towards a better future and be accorded dignity and respect.  

Zee TV commenced the second half of the year by launching two avant-garde shows – ‘Guddan..Tumse Na Ho Paega’ and ‘Tujhse Hai Raabta’. Encouraging viewers to brush aside these naysayers and cultivate a “Yes I can do that!”, ‘Guddan.. Tumse Na Ho Paega’ tells the light-hearted story of a 20-year old girl, Guddan, who having bumbled and fumbled through most of her life and being told by her own family that she can barely get one thing right, finds herself becoming India’s youngest mother-in-law to three older daughters-in-law by a quirk of circumstances. For the first time, the television witnessed a role reversal to the typical saas-bahu relationship as three daughters-in-law set out in search of a suitable bride for their 40-year old father-in-law Akshat and each, for their own vested interests, get him married to 20-year old Guddan. 

On the other hand, ‘Tujhse Hai Raabta’ suggested how we place blood relations on the highest pedestal in our society but should they be the only ties we value in life. It narrated a unique, bittersweet mother-daughter like relationship that begins to develop between two women, Anupriya (played by Poorva Gokhale) and Kalyani (played by Reem Sheikh), who are not related by blood, practically strangers to each other, but strung together by destiny in an unconventional bond. 

Supernatural twist to the tale 

While the industry and the audience once again warmed up to supernatural and fantasy shows, Zee TV gifted its viewers with a fantasy fiction drama ‘Manmohini’. While for generations, we have seen witches and witchcraft as wicked and cunning practitioners of the occult, the channel gave a jolt to our imagination by taking audiences on a trip of edgy fantasy with a witch’s story of timeless love, revenge, desire, obsession and everything in between. Set against the vibrant canvas of Rajasthan, where every grain of the desert sand tells a story, the show chronicles the tale of a witch Mohini, an unfulfilled soul who has been longing to reunite with her love Ram (played by Ankit Siwach) for 500 years and comes back from the past to haunt him and his wife Siya (played by Garima Singh Rathore). 

Brewing conversations 

Adding another homegrown property to its existing portfolio, Zee TV launched its first ever one of its kind TV chat show – ‘Juzz Baatt’. The weekend primetime offering was a 26-episode series providing the great Indian middle class with a glimpse into the rise of acclaimed celebrities whom they have grown to love and idolise. Hosted by Rajeev Khandelwal, the show witnessed television’s top actors spilling some beans about their lives behind the camera and talking about their journeys. 

Strengthening the ‘Rishta’ with the viewers 

With television being an inseparable part of our daily lives in India, this time around, Zee TV went a step forward to create yet another unbreakable bond with its viewers by getting one of the channel’s most avid viewers, a real-life couple Priya Singh and Sunny Kakkar from Bareilly married in the midst of their prestigious annual awards property, ‘Zee Rishtey Awards’. Marked by a series of events, including Roka, Bachelor’s party, Mehendi, Sangeet and Shaadi, attended by the entire Zee family, Zee TV ki Beti Ki Shaadi at Zee Rishtey Awards was a grand wedding spectacle witnessed by millions of viewers. ‘Kumkum Bhagya’s Abhi (played by Shabbir Ahluwalia) and Pragya (played by Sriti Jha) led the nuptials as Priya and Sunny’s foster brother-sister. 

The primetime blockbusters 

Zee TV’s marquee show, ‘Kumkum Bhagya’ maintained its top position along with its spin-off, ‘Kundali Bhagya’. ‘Kundali Bhagya’ has proven to be a roaring success and has maintained its leadership position ever since its launch. This year, ‘Kumkum Bhagya’ not only took a leap of 7 years but also celebrated 1,000 episodes milestone. It also saw the entry of a new character, King Singh, a rockstar, played by Mishal Raheja. His entry changed the dynamics between Pragya and Abhi and added more twist to the drama. 

Reality shows giving wings to aspirations 

After having begun the year entertaining audiences with the superlative talent of India’s young adults, it was time for the country’s youngest generation to put on their dancing shoes and take centre-stage as ‘DID Li’l Masters’. The show, in its latest season, celebrated the unmatched dancing talent that sets ‘Blockbuster Bacche’ apart from the ordinary, lending them an instant following and a celebrity status. The show had Chitrangada Singh, Farah Khan, Marzi Pestonji and Siddharth Anand as the judges, while it was hosted by actor Jay Bhanushali and Tamanna Dipak. 

Celebrating the dramatic flair and histrionic abilities of India’s youngest acting prodigies in its first two seasons, Zee TV’s acting talent hunt show for kids – ‘India’s Best Dramebaaz’ was back with an all-new third season. Marked by the concept ‘Bacche Funky, Total Nautanki’, the show enabled the youngest in the country to find their true calling and letting them pursue their passion for acting in order to build an extraordinary future in the world of entertainment. The show was hosted by Shantanu Maheshwari and ventriloquist Vighnesh Pande, while Vivek Oberoi, Omung Kumar, Sonali Bendre and Huma Qureshi were the judges on the show. 

Season after season, ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ has not only reinvented itself but brought the entire nation together to celebrate pure, unadulterated singing. After the raging success of ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs’ last year, Zee TV came back with an exciting new season of its most iconic singing reality show. With the core thought of music for all – #MusicSeBaneHum, the new season celebrates music as the universal language that unites mankind. Sending out a strong message of all-inclusiveness and standing up against discrimination over caste, creed, colour, community, religion and sexuality, ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ focuses its spotlight on talent alone. The show is hosted by Aditya Narayan, while Shekhar Ravjiani, Wajid Khan and Richa Sharma are the judges of the show. 

Ringing in 2019 

As Zee TV draws curtains on a stupendous year gone by, the channel is gearing up for a better future that is filled with entertainment and progressive storylines. The new year will be welcomed with an unconventional story, ‘Rajaa Betaa’, that will outline a story of an orphan child raised by his grandfather, growing up to become one of the most successful gynaecologists in Allahabad. The show marks the debut of Rrahul Sudhir and Sambhabana Mohanty as the lead protagonists on the show. 

The channel is also geared for another season of ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs’, which will be judged by Shaan, Richa Sharma and Amaal Mallik.

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