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New look

The popular series Surabhi will return in a new avatar



Blast from the past Renuka Sahane and Siddharth Kak in Surabhi

It is back! “Surabhi” with Siddharth Kak and Renuka Shahane, who with her 1,000 watts smile and girl-next-door appeal ruled the air waves in the early 1990s on Doordarshan is all set to return on our screens in a new avatar.

“Surabhi” travelled all over India, covering fascinating facets of its culture. The life and living of various peoples of India was brought to our living rooms in all its rich plurality.

“Surabhi” brought not just a record or report but insight and understanding of India in evolution. It mirrored the changes of an ancient culture metamorphosing into a modern nation.

Whole new generation

But this is the past, says Siddharth Kak, the producer of “Surabhi”. There has been a whole new generation of Indians since “Surabhi” went off the air in the early part of this decade. Kak speaks at length about “Surabhi” and the new show – “Rang De IndiYeah”, a product, with which he hopes to connect to Gen Next.

To be aired on prime time during the weekends on NDTV Imagine from mid-March, “Rang De…” will be the modern contemporary form of “Surabhi”, says Kak. “When ‘Surabhi’ started, we just had Doordarshan. When the show went off air a decade later in 2001, new generation channels were just making their appearance. Today the challenge is to make the mark with more than 200 channels dishing out ‘entertainment’,” he says.

Sense of identity

“The sense of identity of an average Indian was under threat when ‘Surabhi’ took off. People took to the programme for they could identify it with their culture and relate to it.”

At present, there are no such complex existential issues, he opines. “Youth now are not troubled by the cultural identity issues. They literally rule the world and one can see it in their attitude, which largely reads: ‘I have it. Do you?’”

“With ‘Rang De…’, it will be our effort to reach out to this new generation India driven by its youth, who are passionate about achieving success.” This means that one can now also see Kak in the modern avatar, sans the kurta and angavastram.“I am learning from the World now, just as I learnt a lot about life when we started out with Surabhi. It is a new learning curve for me,” he says.

“Rang De…” will have people reaching for their cell phones to fire in answers either through SMS or even MMS, Kak adds.

Interactive

It will be certainly more interactive in nature and the viewers will also have the choice to keep the e-mails coming in, he says.

So will it be Renuka beside him at “Rang De…”? No, says Kak. “It will be a young girl, not a pretty model of course. She will be one who has her own identity, alertness, charm and even the ability to write her own scripts,” he adds.

The search for this ‘young girl’ is presently underway and you should know about it soon, he says with a mischievous smile.

JAIDEEP SHENOY

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