A poor copy: Jeannie Aur Juju
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Jeannie Aur Juju
Sab TV, Monday - Friday, 9.30 pm
Casts: Ali Asgar and Giaa Manek
The writer of several best-selling novels, Sidney Sheldon, back in the 1960s, penned a TV show that merged situational comedy with fantasy. His intention was to offer competition to the then-popular TV series Bewitched in the same genre that revolved around a witch trying to lead the life of a regular housewife. Sheldon's I Dream of Jeannie went on to become equally iconic in America. The show met with similar response when it aired in India close to three decades later, in the 90s on Sony.
The story of the show revolved around Captain Tony Nelson, an astronaut, who discovers a bottle at a deserted island where he is stranded following an accident. Upon opening it appears Jeannie, a djinn who has been trapped inside for 2,000 years. She falls in love with her saviour and accompanies him home without his knowledge after making sure that he is rescued. The five-season series then revolved around Jeannie's antics to please her Master and his efforts to keep her existence a secret.
Now, Sab TV, owned by Sony network, which owns the distribution rights for the show, has adapted it in Hindi as Jeannie Aur Juju.
The key characters remain the same as the original although their names are Indianised. Captain Tony Nelson is Captain Vikram Khanna, a pilot, portrayed by Ali Asgar. But Jeannie — played by Giaa Manek, dumb Gopi Bahu on Star Plus' Saath Nibhaana Saathiya — lovingly calls him, well, Juju. The other recurring characters include Vikram's boss and owner of Priya Airlines (Jiten Mukhi), his daughter Priya (Navina Bole) who is Vikram's possessive girlfriend, Vikram's best pal Captain Virendra Lakhanpal (Harsh Khurana) aka Vela, and Dr Cyrus Doctor (Kurush Deboo), a health specialist at Priya Airlines.