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Zee recreates the Birla will drama

Kohinoor Mandal

Kolkata , Aug. 19

SCIONS of the Birla clan will probably be fighting their legal battle against Mr Rajendra Singh Lodha for decades for the Rs 5,000-crore M.P. Birla Group, but television viewers will know about Mr Yodha's fate in his clash with the Nerula family as early as tomorrow night.

Mr Subhash Chandra-owned Zee is currently broadcasting a television serial based on the real life incident of the Birla-Lodha spat on their Alpha-Bangla channel.

It is a five-episode serial and is being shown in a programme called Searchlight. Every week a new story begins on Monday and ends on Friday. It is being telecast at 8.30 p.m. Incidentally, Searchlight is making its debut on Alpha-Bangla with the Nerula-Yodha story. It is a commissioned programme by Alpha-Bangla and the software for the serial has been created by Petris Worldcom Ltd.

In the television serial, the Birlas have been named as the Nerulas and Mr Lodha is being portrayed as Mr Yodha. The string of events that takes place is said to follow the real life story of the late Priyamvada Birla.

On Monday, the story began with the death of Mr M.P. Nerula and on Wednesday, Mrs Nerula passed away. Officials said that the names of the characters had been changed to avoid any controversy.

Mr J.K. Roy, Channel Director of Alpha Bangla, identified this programme with "investigative journalism" and said that the aim was to give viewers the "real picture of a real life incident".

"If newspapers are entitled to do investigative journalism, so is the electronic media. We are trying to show what the "real kahani" is. Based on actual events, we have created a story for the entertainment of viewers," Mr Roy told Business Line.

When asked whether the programme had drawn the attention of either the Birlas or the Lodhas, he said: "We have received just one call from Birla Corporation (the M.P. Birla Group's flagship company), but the caller has not lodged any complaint," he said.

Mr Dibyajyoti Basu, Director of Petris Worldcom, said more such real life incidents would be telecast on the programme. "It is a commissioned job, but we have selected the story. Alpha-Bangla officials have nothing to do with the selection of the incidents," Mr Basu said.However, both Mr Basu and Mr Roy preferred not to answer the Rs 5,000-crore question: Who gets the property? "Wait for the final episode," was the common refrain. And the final episode is to be shown on Friday night!

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