After 'Jhansi...', Zee TV brings another story of valour

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Mumbai, June 3 (IANS) After the success of "Jhansi Ki Rani", Zee TV is bringing another story of love, sacrifice and valour with their new show "Shobha Somnath Ki", which will go on air June 20.

The show is based on a Gujarati legend which talks about Shobha, who fought fearlessly when Afghan invader Mahmud of Ghazni tried to destroy the Somnath temple in the 11th century.

"I had met the writer-director of the show Vikas Kapoor about three years back. He had narrated me the story that time and it left a lasting impression on me. After the success of 'Jhansi Ki Rani', we were planning to make another show," Sukesh Motwane, programming head, Zee TV told IANS.

"We wanted to make a fairy tale with all the elements of valour, romance, poetry, adventure, bravery, and fight for cultural identity, among others, and this story has it all," he added.

"Shobha Somnath Ki" will replace "Jhansi Ki Rani".

It took Motwane a year to shape up his plans.

"It took us a year to conceptualise the story. It has been a difficult journey. 'Jhansi…' worked for us, so we are very lucky. It was far more recent story and a lot of material was available for you to fall back on. But there were very few references for this show.

"During our research, we got books, tried talking to historians and understand what kind of the society was at that time. What was the feeling of people towards Somnath. There are so many angles to Shobha's story and her life. Some of the chapters are already mentioned in the novels," he added.

The makers are also trying to provide a new visual experience to the viewers.

"The whole context is, can you provide a new visual experience to the Indian viewers? Can you provide new storytelling experience? This show is giving us that chance. There is action, there is thrill and poetic visual effect," Motwane said.

The show is being shot on a huge set built on a sprawling plot of about 9 acres in Vapi, Gujarat. The magnificent set, which cost Rs.12 crore, includes a replica of Somnath temple and magnificent palaces and it is a vision to behold.

As many as 500-600 artisans worked day and night for about six months to build it.

The set, which is said to be most expensive, has been designed by Jayant Deshmukh, who has worked as set designer in TV shows like "Ram Milayi Jodi", "Chajje Chajje Ka Pyar" and films like "Raajneeti", "Maqbool' and "Aarakshan".

"To construct the temple my team visited Somnath temple in Gujarat, went to their research department, read the books, met archeologists and did some research on internet and Vikasji helped a lot as he was working on the story for a long time," Deshmukh told IANS.

Child artist Ashnoor Kaur will be seen playing as the protagonist Shobha. It also marks a comeback of actor Yash Tonk on small screen, while Sadashiv Amrapurkar will make his television debut as an evil tantrik.

The cast also includes Amrita Raichand, Pankaj Dheer and Sudhir Dalvi.

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