The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Small screen beckons big

Mumbai, Sept. 20: Karisma Kapoor is set to make her debut on the small screen.

A mega serial starring the Bollywood heartthrob will go on air two months from now on Sahara TV. It will be a daily soap, but conceived on fully filmi dimensions. There will be a galaxy of Bollywood stars, loads of gaana bajaana, drama, family ties and designer costumes. And huge fees.

Karisma is said to have been paid an enormous sum, only second to what Amitabh Bachchan was paid for Kaun Banega Crorepati, though Sahara India, the producers of the serial, did not specify anything.

The serial, aptly titled Karishma — the Miracles of Destiny, will also feature actors Sanjay Kapoor, Arbaaz Khan, Arshad Warsi, Jugal Hansraj, Sharad Kapoor, Apoorva Agnihotri, Sheeba, Pawan Malhotra, Salil Ankola, Parmeet Sethi and Tinnu Anand, according to a statement released by Sahara TV. There will be another filmi convention. Karisma will appear in a double role. Shooting with her will begin this month in New Zealand.

A Sahara TV spokesperson said this was the biggest Indian television serial ever produced. The crew has other big names from Bollywood. Anu Malik will score the title track, while a spate of other music directors will commission 50-odd songs. About 25 of the 50 songs will be shot abroad. Designer Manish Malhotra has been signed up to do the “look”, as well as the costumes.

“There will be 260 episodes to begin with. The central character of the serial will be Karisma. It is her life’s journey, from the age of 25 to 75. Karisma will reappear as her granddaughter,” said Akash Deep, the director.

Not Karisma alone, but other Bollywood big stars, especially those whose film productions have not done well, are also swooping down on the small screen, if not in person.

This week, actor Ajay Devgan launched the teleserial, Devi, produced by his company, Devgan Software and Television Footprints Productions. It will be telecast on Sony. Karisma, too, some industry people feel, has turned to television after a low phase in films.

Subhas Ghai’s film production company, Mukta Arts, has also launched its television wing, Mukta Prime3 Teleworks Private Limited. It will start off with Archana Aaa haa, a film-based comedy show with Archana Puran Singh.

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