With Aladdin, we aim to set new standards of TV programming: Neeraj Vyas

Stepping out of its usual fare of comedy shows, SAB TV is all set to take viewers on an adventure with the launch of ‘Aladdin: Naam Toh Suna Hoga’. With a generous dose of magic and mystery, this show is based on the age-old fantasy of a 20-year old boy, Aladdin, and his trysts with love and fate. Produced by Nissar Parvez and Alind Shrivastava of Peninsula Pictures, the show premieres on August 21, and will air Monday to Friday at 9 pm. 

Sony SAB’s Aladdin will retell the legendary folklore in a grander avatar, action packed, yet amusing scenarios with a contemporary twist. Siddharth Nigam will essay the role of Aladdin, while Avneet Kaur will play the role of his love interest, Princess Yasmine. Girish Sachdev and Smita Bansal will be seen as Aladdin’s parents. The role of the power-hungry evil Wazir Zafar will be essayed by Amir Dalvi. It is not yet known who will be essaying the role of the characteristic Genie, immortalised on the big screen by the voice acting of Robin Williams in the 1992 animated classic. 

Commenting on the new show, Neeraj Vyas, Business Head, Sony SAB, PAL, Hindi Movies and Music, said, “‘Aladdin’ is Sony SAB’s latest offering, keeping up the channel’s promise of providing happiness to its viewers. This show will bring to life Aladdin’s age-old yet always refreshing tale, dotted with characters that we have been familiar with during our growing-up years. Aimed at setting new standards of television programming, the show will entertain viewers with its grand sets, storytelling with a contemporary twist and superior production quality. I am confident that ‘Aladdin’ will soon develop a loyal SAB fan following.” 

Nissar Parvez, Co-Founder, Peninsula Pictures, added here, “It is a privilege bringing to life the epic tale of ‘Aladdin’, the story we have all grown up listening to. To present a modern-day adaptation of the larger-than-life story, the largest and grandest show on television today – we have pooled all our strengths. An iconic story like ‘Aladdin’ cannot be showcased any other way. We at Peninsula Pictures are glad to associate with Sony SAB for the same.” 

SAB TV has lined up an extensive campaign comprising OOH, Digital, Print and TV to promote ‘Aladdin: Naam Toh Suna Hoga’. “We are not leaving any efforts in promoting our latest show,” Vyas affirmed. 

Neeraj Vyas, Business Head, Sony SAB, PAL, Hindi Movies and Music
Neeraj Vyas, Business Head, Sony SAB, PAL, Hindi Movies and Music

In conversation with Adgully, Neeraj Vyas, Business Head, Sony SAB, PAL, Hindi Movies and Music, shares more details on ‘Aladdin’, the show’s concept, production, creating differentiation, SAB TV’s shift from comedy to ‘happiness’, and more. Excerpts: 

There have been quite a few TV series on ‘Aladdin’. How different will SAB TV’s show be from them?
Every broadcaster has something in their kitty called a ‘Passion Project’, where they tend to give their best, and for us ‘Aladdin’ is one of those shows for this year. It is a beautiful story of a boy’s love for his family and his lady love. For me, it’s more like a film. 

Over the last one year at SAB TV, we have been trying to ensure that we bring out compelling characters through compelling stories. We, as a broadcaster, have a big responsibility to make sure that we put out compelling content for the viewers to come and watch it. 

Coming back to ‘Aladdin’, I think there are some stories which have a universal appeal and can be constantly retold in a way that they remain everlasting. It depends on how you tell the story and how much of novelty you can bring out in your narrative. We have given some twists and turns to make it more contemporary and very much today’s ‘Aladdin’. 

What are the challenges that you faced while revising this story?
The challenge was to make sure that we didn’t go overboard with something which didn’t ring with the viewers. We had to make the narrative compelling with the right cast in place because you have to have believable characters. Apart from these, we were also fighting with the weather as we had to do outdoor shoots as the monsoon set in. But the biggest challenge has been to pitch the show in the right manner. It’s not just about a flying carpet and a genie, it’s so much more about the emotions. But I think, all of these were happy challenges. 

Will it be a finite show?
As of now, we have planned it for 6-8 months. We will see how it works out later. 

Won’t ‘Aladdin’ see a drastic shift for the channel – from the comedy genre to adventure, fantasy and other genres?
It’s an important shift that we have done from the channel’s perspective and it has happened organically in the last one year. It’s not only with ‘Aladdin’, but there have been several shows that we have done in the past that are outside the comedy genre. Moving away from comedy to happiness is the journey that the channel is seeking now. Happiness is about a lot of emotions, it’s not just about fun and comedy. However, fun and comedy will continue to be integral to the channel’s DNA. But more importantly, I think happiness is more holistic and it promises more. The shift is happening from just doing comedy and sitcoms to characters and stories which have a longer arch. It should have a fusion of all the emotions. 

Who are the advertisers on board for ‘Aladdin’?
Macho, Wagh Bakri, Flamingo and Sunpride are the brands on board as of now.

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