This was the year of 1990-1991. Government of India had opened the doors to liberalization. Many sectors in India were on their way of being privatized-auto, insurance, media, etc. Government decided to provide broadcasting license to private players. Millions of Indians were on the threshold of experiencing something other than the grand old dad doordarshan. I don’t want to belittle the capabilities of DD but people REALLY needed a CHANGE.
ZEE group was one such player waiting to seize the opportunity. It acquired the license & went to air soon. Though initially it aired only in the evenings, ‘change’ starved population got a new line up of shows from ZEE – dak ghar, aap ki adalat, sajan-sajani, mansi, khana-khazana, etc. These shows soon caught audiences’ attention. There were new entrants on the horizon – Star, SAB, Home, etc. But still in a matter of few years, ZEE shows topped the popularity lists so much so that its boss – Naresh Chandra Goyal became the richest Indian & found a place in Forbes lists. He was virtually unbeatable until late 90s …
The ZEE group gave a flying start to the careers of many WELL KNOWN names of today’s world. Be it Rajat Sharma of India TV or Sanjeev Kapoor of Khana Khazana (Sanjeev was also the official chef of Rashtrapati Bhawan) or southern film sensation R Madhavan or Mohan Kapoor of Saap-Sidi game on tv — all had ZEE as a stepping stone in their careers.
Times have changed after 20 odd years. Now ZEE is facing stiff competition from SONY, STAR, movie channels, music channels, sports channels. In this channel jungle, ZEE still manages to retain a place in top 3. However in the mean time ZEE has diversified into other businesses — dish channels [Dish TV] , packaging [Essel group], entertainment [zee music], theme parks [Water kingdom & Essel world], online lottery [lotto], etc.
Sometimes I am astonished at the way destiny shapes you !!