The life of Saibaba of Shirdi that had viewers glued to the box is now being released as a 72 VCD pack, priced at Rs.2160. The new sets will be dubbed versions (Tamil and Telugu) of the Hindi original, again from Moser Baer Entertainment Ltd. “Generally we go in for the Hindi version first and if it is well received we venture into bringing out the product in other languages. The response to the Hindi collection brought out two months ago has been phenomenal. So the next natural move was Tamil and Telugu because these regions have a great number of Saibaba devotees,” says G. Dhananjayan, CEO, Moser Baer Home Video. (www.moserbaerhomevideo.com)
‘Saibaba’ is the third production from the house of Ramanand Sagar, which captured the hearts of devotees with its ‘Ramayan’ and ‘Krishna,’ and has been produced and directed by the Sagar team of Anand, Prem and Moti. The life of Baba, said to have been born between 1839 and 1842, his miracles, and the awakening he brought about are encapsulated in ‘Saibaba,’ which was shot in the realistic sets of Shirdi created at Sagar Film City, Baroda.
Moser Baer conducts a meticulous study of the market before it launches a new product. And its slant towards mythological and religious discs has been evident from the time it released ‘Ramayana’ in different languages. “Devotionals always sell. Till date the ‘Ramayana’ is topping the charts as people consider it a collector’s item,” smiles Dhananjayan. Little wonder then that the home entertainment division of Moser Baer followed it up with the ‘Mahabharatha’ and ‘Krishna,’ which have been successful too. Though ‘Saibaba’ cannot be categorised as mythology the saint’s life continues to hold devotees in thrall, long after his time. “Saibaba has as many devotees as other Gods such as Iyyappan. And as opposed to legend and mythology he is a saint whom many have seen and worshipped. So we are confident that believers would like to have the Saibaba collection at home,” says Dhananjayan. (The VCDs should be available at outlets from Monday.)
Those of us who have watched the Tamil or Hindi versions serialised on television, may have felt that the incidents projected are slightly stagy, probably to sustain interest and viewership. “Drama is inevitable. Mythology and history stand apart because of the dramatic aspects in them. Do you think if you isolate theatrics from a film like Sivaji Ganesan’s ‘Thiruvilaiyaadal’ you can still enjoy it?” is Dhananjayan’s counter.