‘Kriket!’ the new ticket on India TV

Indian TV execs had never seen anything like it: a sporting event-gameshow, with each hourlong episode utilizing no fewer than 475 cast and crew.

This is “Kriket!” – the first Grundy Worldwide production in India, part of the company’s expansion in Asia that is being accelerated by Grundy’s new owner, British media conglom Pearson.

The groundbreaking, 31-episode series shot in Bombay debuted June 1 at 8 p.m. on Star Plus, satcaster Star TV’s English-language channel beamed into the subcontinent.

“It’s a show of mammoth proportions,” said Tony Skinner, Grundy’s Singapore-based VP for Asian production, who co-produced “Kriket!” with United Television of India (UTV), the production banner 49%-owned by Rupert Murdoch’s 20th Century Fox. UTV came up with the concept and brought in Grundy for its slick formatting.

Indian TV airs a lot of studio-based gameshows, but this is the first on this scale, based on India’s favorite sport, cricket, and played in an outside arena 100 yards long and 150 yards wide. Skinner quickly discovered he’d have to work within the established Indian TV production system modeled on the film industry, which entails an army of staging people. The show used five video-cameras, each with a four-person crew, including, remarkably, a focus-puller for each unit.

Finding the crews eager and hard working, Skinner managed to record two episodes a day, a feat he says he could not have bettered had he been working in Sydney. “It took a lot of convincing,” he admits of the demanding schedule.

While he won’t reveal the budget, he says the Indian crews are so affordable, the show would have cost more in Australia.

Now with the series in post-production, Skinner is keen to continue to link with UTV and Star.

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