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Wednesday, 22 August, 2001, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
India to get interactive TV drama
Satellite dishes outside a television company office
Cable and satellite TV is booming in India
By Sanjeev Srivastava in Bombay

India's first interactive television drama goes on air next week.

The show, on satellite channel Zee TV, is a take-off of a popular Brazilian series which also ran in the UK where it was called "You Decide".

TV gameshow posters
Gameshows figure high in India's TV ratings war

The one-hour show, which will be aired three times a week starting on Monday evening, is called in Hindi: "Aap jo bolen haan to haan, aap jo bolen na to na" (If you say yes, it's yes, if you say no, it's no).

The audience can vote online to decide how the stories should end.

The launch of the show - with 24 other new soaps and gameshows - was announced by Zee TV chief executive Sandeep Goyal, in Bombay.

Mr Goyal said: "The show will be a daily live drama on morals, ethics, emotions and gripping turning points."

The launch of so many new programmes is seen by industry observers as an attempt to revamp the channel.

In the last year, Zee TV - India's first satellite broadcaster - has slipped dramatically behind rivals like Star Plus and Sony in the ratings.

Zee TV was the industry leader until the huge success last year of Star's Kaun Banega Crorepati - the Hindi version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire - propelled the Rupert Murdoch-owned channel to the number one slot.

Foreign locations

Zee tried its own game show and even offered ten times the prize money offered by Star.

But the show flopped and was taken off air after a few months.

In an effort to look slicker and have a wider appeal amongst urban audiences, some of the new soaps being launched by Zee will be extensively shot abroad.

According to Mr Goyal, the foreign locations should work for the channel in the same way they work for Bollywood films.

"Exotic foreign locations have been the reason for the success of many Indian films. What works on the bigger screen should also help draw audiences to the smaller screen," he said.

But industry observers say it is a good story that brings audiences to cinemas.

A case in point is the recent mega-budget Bollywood release Yaadein (Memories) which was shot abroad, but failed to win audiences because of its thin storyline.

See also:

09 Sep 00 | South Asia
India cable TV purged of 'indecency'
26 Jul 00 | South Asia
Indian boost for broadcasters
14 Mar 00 | South Asia
Indian production base for Murdoch
22 Feb 00 | South Asia
Radio boom for India
27 Jan 00 | South Asia
India launches Kashmir TV channel
13 Mar 00 | South Asia
Murdoch eyes 'cyber' Bangalore
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