9X to join network rumble from Nov 12

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Mumbai, Nov 11 (UNI) Entertainment channel ''9X'' will join the television bandwagon from November 12, promising the viewers a slew of new 'content'.

''We see ourselves as a force for change. Our mission is to develop world class channel that will appeal to Indian viewers' tastes,'' said Indrani Mukerjea, founder and CEO of INX.

The question is whether the new channel can live up to its claim of being nine times more fun, entertaining and fill the INX coffers? And importantly, will it be able to carve a space for itself? And will it be able to maintain its standard (assuming it starts with a bang)? As of now, viewers have a wide range of choice of about 300 channels to choose from. Almost everything under the sun -- soaps, movies, reality shows, Bollywood/ Hollywood songs, sports, gospel, French, German -- you name it, the Indian viewer has it. However, to be honest, half of the channels, including the news channels are, well, rather run of the mill.

But 9X promises to be different. It has apparently invested a lot in terms of money, talent and planning, and even by tying up with some proven talents such as Ekta Kapoor, Siddharth Basu, Smriti Irani and Rajesh Kamat.

The channel's content also has a mix of soaps (Ekta Kapoor, Smriti Irani), drama (Siddharth Basu making his debut with 'Jiya Jale'), comedy (JD Majethia) and music (Endemol India and the United Nations with A R Rehman).

Each of the producers have (predictably) promised something 'different' and 'not run of the mill' content. For instance, take Siddharth Basu's 'Jiya Jale' -- a new lead role by an unknown artist, plus the fact that Mr Basu has made no bones about the serial being his first Hindi fiction venture. Yet he epitomises confidence and faith in his work and the new channel. With this, Ms Mukerjea and Co have geneuinely tried to offer the Indian viewer with something beyond the 'standard fare'. However, only time will tell. As for Basu, his only 'challenge' is to churn out 'relevant' episodes week after week.

Same is the story for Smriti Irani and Ekta Kapoor. One wouldn't expect artistes and producers of their level to get involved in a new venture no matter how good the backing.

After visiting and talking to the star cast of the various serials to be telecast, ranging from the 70s macho man Vinod Khanna (who acts with Smriti Irani in 'Mere Apne') to newcomer Krystle D'Souza, all of them exuded confidence about what they and the channel are doing.

At the end of the day, it will be the Indian viewer who will decide if 9X manages to pull the right strings. Considering the Indian audience and consumer are an unpredictable lot, one can only say for those who have invested their time and money, ''Join the gang''.

UNI

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