“Balika Vadhu” SLAPPED “Kyunki”


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After reigning for more than eight years on television and pretty much dictating the way kitchen politics was played out in Indian homes. 'Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi' to go off air

One of India’s longest running soaps, which chronicled the lives of the Virani family, and made superstars out of Smriti Irani and the humble Gujarati snack of thepla (a flatbread made with fenugreek and chickpea flour), was also the harbinger of a whole new era in Indian television.

For one, it brought on a horde of imitators. Indian television was bombarded with daily soaps that chronicled the lives of unbelievably evil mothers-in-law and unbelievably saintly daughters-in-law, scheming against the other for endless episodes. But not all of them enjoyed the same success.

Though it was criticised by many women’s organisations for stereotyping the Indian woman, “Kyunki” ruled the ratings for a good part of its run on television.

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It propelled Ekta Kapoor to unparalleled success and helped Irani get a BJP ticket for contesting the Lok Sabha elections. As for me, I couldn’t even touch the television remote between 10:30 and 11 pm, because my mother claimed ownership of the television set.

“I don’t care what you think of the show,” she told me defiantly, “I like it. After all I don’t like so many of these English sitcoms you watch but that doesn’t mean they are bad, right?” Couldn’t argue with that logic.

If you can’t beat them, join them, they say. I watched a few episodes of “Kyunki” with my mother, but to be honest, it wasn’t my kind of show at all. I gave up.I didn’t expect my mother’s loyalty to waver though.

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On a trip home last year, I caught her watching another show during the “Kyunki” time slot.I was shocked. “What happened?” “Oh, it got too complicated. I couldn’t keep track of all the children and grandchildren any more,” she said.

I knew then, that ratings for the show would drop. And they did.And that’s how I knew who the next star of Indian television would be. That’s because my mother is now hooked to the trials of Anandi, star of the top rated “Balika Vadhu”.

Ultimately, it’s just another saas bahu serial triumphing over the other. Indian television hasn’t gotten out of the mode, it’s just found another mask for the same old face.

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Now Balaji Telefilms moves court against Star on 'Kyunki'

Balaji Telefilms has moved the Bombay High Court challenging Star Group's decision to terminate the longest running daily soap Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi from 10 November.

Star had in August agreed to run the show till March, the source added. When contacted, Star India CEO Uday Shankar refused to comment on the issue. "The matter is sub judice," he said.

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Balaji Telefilms had earlier in the day informed the BSE that it would be "pursuing all legal remedies available to it" as "the termination is in breach of contractual obligations owed by the Star Group to it."

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SGL Entertainment Ltd, part of the Star Group, had issued a notice to Balaji Telefilms to terminate its daily Kyunki … with effect from 10 November.

Shares of Balaji Telefilms fell 11.42 per cent on the BSE to Rs 96.20 at the close of trade in a firm Mumbai market.

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Star was paying a premium for the three 'K' shows including Kyunki …since their launch in 2000 due to their top ratings on the Hindi general entertainment channel Star Plus. As part of the deal, Balaji also could not put up shows in competing channels at the same time slot.

Star reviewed the agreement with Balaji Telefilms as the three popular 'K` shows - Kyunki..., Kahanii Ghar Ghar Ki and Kasauti Zindagi Ki - declined in ratings. Kahanii and Kausauti are already off air.

In August this year Star and Balaji Telefilms announced termination of their regional language broadcasting joint venture agreement.

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Star also said it would be selling its 25.99 per cent stake in Balaji. Under the pact, Balaji's promoters are entitled to buy the entire stake at Rs 190 per share within 240 days, failing which Star will be free to sell it to any other entity except a competitor.

Star Plus will be replacing Kyunki... with another fiction show but it won't be made by Balaji Telefilms, a source in the company said.

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Kyunki… is one of the six shows that Balaji Telefilms produces for Star. Balaji also produces two shows for 9X and one for Zee TV. It will also be making two programmes that will be launched on NDTV Imagine in this quarter.

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