It was bound to happen sooner or later considering our national obsession with marriage. India’s first 24-hour matrimonial channel is being launched on 26 April by Noida-based Vertent Media, a firm that mainly produces short corporate audio-visuals. The channel will help singles meet prospective partners, offer shopping, fashion and grooming tips to prospective brides and grooms, and also have several talk shows.
According to journalist Anuranjan Jha, a former news journalist who is one of the creative brains behind the concept, the idea was conceptualised nearly eight years back but it had to be kept on hold until Chakradhar Dhoundiyal of Vertent Media decided to take the project on board.
“Weddings are a very integral part of our lives in India. Everyone wants a grand wedding within their own means, irrespective of class or caste,” he says. Jha claims to have scanned the wedding market, pinned at roughly Rs 100,000 crore, thoroughly. “Newspaper classifieds alone comprise about Rs 4,000 crore annually. Then you have matrimonial sites, which take it a step further by offering shopping options through e-commerce,” he says.
Though a television show called Kahin Na Kahin Toh Hoga, hosted by Bollywood actress Madhuri Dixit, did make a failed attempt on Sony TV six years ago, Jha is confident that his reality TV-based concept will work. After all, shows like Swayamvar and Band Baja Aur Bride on NDTV have done well. “We are not just looking at getting people to meet each other. There are also shows that deal with real problems like how to propose, how to cope with family customs in case there is an inter-caste marriage and also how to deal with your in-laws,” he says.
A show called Mujhse Shaadi Karoge will have famous TV and film personalities talk about how they met their partners. Saas Ko Saas Hi Rehne Do will address the delicate relationship between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law through a talk show with people sharing their experiences.
The channel has also floated a website called Shagunindia.com. Couples and singles who register might win a prize—with the channel filming their wedding functions and airing them in the form of a Bollywood-like film. To start off, the channel will be available on Videocon D2H in northern and western India.
This article was modified after it was published