Exclusive | Keeping humor alive with new content: SAB TV's Anooj Kapoor

SAB TV recently launched two comedy shows viz. Hum Aapke Hain Inlaws and Tota weds Maina both  in the fiction genre at the beginning of the new year. Now the channel has launched a new reality show ‘Safar Filmy Comedy Ka’, a Sunday non-fiction property.

If Bollywood can be considered synonymous to comedy and entertainment then ‘Safar Filmy Comedy Ka’ - A tribute to comedy across 100 years of cinema is just the right treat for die-hard Bollywood fans. It is a non-fiction show that traces the journey of comedy through 100 years of cinema. The show premiered on January 27, 2013 at 9pm and was hosted by Sunil Grover, a well-known name in comedy alongwith with his co-host Muskaan Mihani.

Each episode of ‘Safar Filmy Comedy Ka’ will showcase one trend of comedy including physical, action, slapstick, cult comedy, mistaken identity, etc across 100 years of cinema. Paying tribute to popular comedians of Bollywood from different eras, each captivating episode of ‘Safar Filmy Comedy Ka’ will feature veteran actors like Juhi Chawla, Prem Chopra, Divya Dutta, Rajpal Yadav ,Sanjay Mishra, Asrani who will share their cinematic experience in comedy with the audience. The show is being produced by Mr. Dheeraj Kumar & Zuby Kochhar of Creative Eye Limited.     

With regard to the recently launched  show Mr. Anooj Kapoor, EVP & Business Head, SAB TV says, “The style, content and pace of Indian movies has advanced vastly over the years and so has the way in which the film industry treats comedy. Comedy as a genre has evolved so much so that comedy centric movies are turning out to be blockbusters. ‘Safar Filmy Comedy Ka’ is a tribute to the contribution of comedians and industry veterans towards the genre of comedy. ‘Safar Filmy Comedy Ka’ will offer differentiated content to it viewers & a great family viewing experience.”
Anchor Sunil Grover, who’s well known for mimicry and stand-up comedy, says, ‘‘I’m making a come-back to the SAB TV family with ‘Safar Filmy Comedy Ka’. It is an honour to be a working alongside industry legends, actors who have redefined comedy over the years. I have always admired and looked upto them, their contribution to films is phenomenal. I have learnt so much from them and I feel honored that I get to relive their magical moments with them”.

Muskaan Mihani, co-anchor of the show says, “Comedy has always been my favourite genre. ‘Safar Filmy Comedy Ka’ enables me to experience the journey of industry stalwarts who have given award winning performances. By being a part of this show, I feel I am honouring comedy in my own little way.” SAB TV’s ‘Safar Filmy Comedy Ka’ is the ultimate comedy blockbuster on TV! Enjoy this unique experience with your family only on SAB TV.”     

In order to learn more about their new offering in the reality genre Adgully in an exclusive interview with Mr. Anooj Kapoor ,Executive Vice President and Business Head, SAB TV spoke to him about the new concept of the show, how it will be a new approach to comedy , the challenges they have faced and overcome as a channel, digitization and much more.
Discussing the fresh and novel concept, Kapoor said , “The concept was conceived by Mr. Dheeraj Kumar and as we have taken the genre of comedy through our channel to a peak, I feel we are the right platform to offer a tribute to Indian Cinema.”

He further added, “I feel it’s a subject that’s untouched, a subject that offers a lot of fresh content to our loyal audience, within the genre of comedy. Amongst our loyal comedy audience there are most of them who have not seen the Bollywood comedies of 50’s, 60’s & the 70’s . They don’t know the characters of those times, the themes, the films which were made in that era, so to that extent it is fresh content. It is another perspective of offering fresh content to the viewers of a certain tried and tested quality as we are not even producing it. That content is a part of our history, that met with approvals in those times. So we are only trying to  showcase the same thing  and thereby offering fresh content to the audience.”

The show is based on a newly formed concept that showcases the trend and cult of comedy from the time when first ever comedy film was made till the date.

“Every episode will pay tribute to popular comedians of Bollywood from different eras; on our show we’ll have people who have done comedy, have performed interesting and memorable comic role in the films and have interesting anecdotes to tell . This will add more body and value to the whole show and would be a constant feature,”  he explained.

‘Safar Filmy Comedy Ka’ will feature veteran actors such as Juhi Chawla, Prem Chopra, Divya Dutta, Rajpal Yadav, Sanjay Mishra and Asrani, who will share their cinematic experience in comedy with the audience.

Two young actors who have been chosen to host the show will describe the journey of Indian Cinema. When asked the reason for selecting fresh and young faces to host the show Kapoor said, “We did ‘SAB Ke Anokhe Awards’ which got a great rating of 2.8 which is a fantastic rate. There the main anchor was Sunil Grover. Here again in the new show you have Sunil Grover , a talented comedian and actor and Muskaan Mihani who has done a couple of successful shows. It’s a combination of a comedian and a sweet face like in the case of ‘Wah Wah Kya Baat Hai’ which was hosted by Shailesh Lodha & Neha Mehta,  which worked and thus we came up with the similar combination.”

Every channel faces certain challenges which need to be worked upon  so when  asked about the challenges that SAB TV has faced till date he said, “We have faced the challenge of placement & distribution since earlier we were not so well placed a channel, but yes digitization has helped us a lot.  In the two metros now you can see us on the standard menu amongst entertainment channels and that has immediately had a positive rub off. In terms of ratings we were at 135 but now we have emerged from it and presently are at 150.”

He further discussed the positive impact of digitization which has certainly helped the channel. “Amongst the reasons for being successful one was that, we have been strong in the digital domain since last 2 years. We were at times in the digital space  ahead of Colors and Zee. So Distribution was a challenge for us since due to our limited budget, aggressive investments was not possible. Now fortunately for us digitization is a blessing in disguise because without paying for it  we are going to get better placement. We are going to be in that cluster of the top GEC’s without really paying for it, because the format of digitization is such,” said Kapoor.

The USP of the show according to Kapoor is that, it is the first attempt ever that will showcase the length and breadth of comedy in Indian cinema. He strongly agrees that the present generation is not aware of various Indian comical actors, films and themes.

“This show is an attempt to increase the awareness about our Hindi films. I feel that 90% of our present audience has not seen Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Albela or Bhagwan Dada nor even seen classic films like Chupke Chupke. They were classic films of the 70’s, 60’s and even the 50’s so, when we show clippings from those it is fresh content for them. We are putting it in a manner which is very relevant. Just as people watch KBC for learning,  people will watch  this show too for learning,” he said.

The show is being telecast in the same weekend slot which earlier aired feature films . Elaborating further on this he said, “We had telecast classic feature films in this slot and it has worked since we have a loyal audience base. Observing the success in this particular slot, we have come up with this show which is related to films and nothing can fill that space of classic films better than ‘Safar Filmy Comedy Ka’”.

Explaining further about their initiative, Kapoor informed, “The two fundas of the family comedy which will be visible in the first episode itself  is – ‘Excess hatred for the comedy ; and Excess  love for the comedy.’ We are educating people through entertainment, though they do not realize this. Even for professionals in this industry it’s hard to realize the logic or the theme behind creating comedy. The journey of increasing awareness is on and we are exploring it.”

Each episode will also play film clippings from various old and new films –pertaining to the ‘theme of comedy’ of the episode. In every episode, one or more guests relating to the ‘theme of comedy’ will come and interact with the anchors. Each episode will also have one skit by two or more performers – again relating to the theme of the episode. The trivia will be shared by both the anchors and the guests who will be part of this show.  They will talk about the incidents that have occurred with them while acting and also about the incidents they have heard about other comedians.

“As I have reiterated before, I wonder how long it will take for audiences, for families, for people to realize that it is better to spend an entire evening laughing together with your family and loved ones rather than crying alone in front of a tear jerker soap that makes you sad,” concludes Anooj Kapoor.

Thus it can be said that ‘Safar Filmy Comedy Ka’ is a show with a new flavor meant to inform, entertain and  enthrall  audiences young and old alike every weekend! | By Ranjana Gupta [ranjana(at)adgully.com]


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