By Soumitra Bose/ Mukesh Kumar Sinha
Lost Recipes, Kahi Suni, Dariba Diaries, Mahabharat, Dharmakshetra, Daanav Hunters, Rakkt, Roz Sunday, Ekaant, Sanrachna, Epic ke Dus…Now Stamped Super-Duper Hit among the countrymen of all hues. These shows and more and more…They are products from 24x7x365 EPIC Channel mainly owned by India’s (then) richest man (now, second richest), industrialist Mukesh Ambani, among the main backers behind the ongoing channel Epic TV, according to all reports. It is headed by former Walt Disney India managing director Mahesh Samat, Epic TV has (note this, most crucial!) contemporary content based on Indian history, folklore and mythology.
India’s rich history and mythology can be captivating and if the astounding tales are retold in an entertaining manner with a compelling narrative, who wouldn’t be interested? That’s Kabir Bedi’s belief, as the new television channel, Epic, launches tonight at 9. The actor, who has lent his voice to the channel’s promos, says that with the growth of Indian television, viewers too, are looking for something different.
Epic, which is India’s first segmented entertainment channel is showcasing Indian history and mythology in a modern, contemporary manner through its fiction shows, narrative non-fiction shows, short form content as well as films. And, the shows are not long-winded and endless.
The seasonal, episodic route taken by the channel is also one of its high points. As Kabir says, “It’s an international way of watching television. Today, people are pressured for time and they are going to like these mini series, which have a fixed time frame.” Talking about his popular show Sandokan, which made him an international star, Kabir says, “It was six hours of programming and that worked really well. There were sequels made later.”
Mukesh Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Industries with an estimated personal wealth of $21.5 billion, has taken a 25 percent-plus stake in the group via his company Reliance Ports & Terminals. This is his second broadcasting venture; he already owns a stake in the diversified Network18 Group, which runs various channels including CNBC TV18 and CNN-IBN. As part of a joint venture with Viacom Inc., Network 18 also has leading Hindi entertainment outlet Colors, MTV India and VH1.
(Mukesh Ambani is the elder brother of Anil Ambani, who heads DreamWorks’ equal partner Reliance Entertainment, owned by his R-ADAG conglomerate, which has interests in telecom and other businesses.)
While none of the parties has commented on Epic TV, according to reports, a Reliance Industries spokesperson confirms the development and said the investment by Mukesh Ambani is “in his personal capacity.”
Another of India’s leading industrialists, Anand Mahindra — who heads conglomerate Mahindra Group — also holds a reported 25 percent stake in the Epic TV venture. With interests in a variety of businesses — from automobiles to leisure and hospitality — the Mahindra Group also runs media and entertainment offshoot Mumbai Mantra. The company’s projects include a partnership with the Sundance Institute, which runs an annual screenwriters lab to aid upcoming talent.
It is now EPIC = MahaKavya under EPIC Television Network Pvt. Ltd launched on 19 November 2014. :The EPIC Channel is India’s first genre-specific Hindi entertainment channel and is dedicatedly showcasing content covering genres ranging from action, drama, comedy to narrative non-fiction. The channel celebrates India’s heritage by creating unique and original content within the Indian history, folklore and mythology genre, using a very contemporary story telling format. Available on Tata Sky, Airtel DTH, Videocon DTH, and many cable networks.