The Producer's Take on the show
Fazila Allana and Kamna Menezes - Sol
"The show wasn't really planned. Like all great creative ideas it just happened; and perhaps roping in Karan was all about getting the right person at the right time. We were handling the Star Parivaar awards and since Karan is a filmmaker whose films have this family and Parivar themes, we thought of asking him to anchor the show. We had faxed him a detailed copy of the Parivaar awards and met him once. He chuckled, "Don't be silly, how can I anchor Star Parivaar awards. I don't mind anchoring a show, but I'd rather it was a chat show."
So, we pitched the idea to Roopali Kadyan who then later took it to Deepak Sehgal. Also, it was easier to pitch it because Karan was not really new to the anchoring scene; in fact, everybody had raved about his anchoring skills at the Zee Cine Awards in Dubai. So, noone really wanted a pilot or a screen test as everyone sort of knew that he would do a good job of it.
How was the name conceived?
The name 'Koffee with Karan' was Karan's idea. People close to him say it seems like he was dreaming about a show like this for a long time. And Karan has this fetish for the word 'K'. Also, we were lucky because he decided to go with us, since he didn't know us. It was just over a few meetings that we came up with the name of the show. And in just over a month we started to shoot.
Obviously, he's not just the host of the show but even the brain behind the show. The show has the Karan feel in the sense that it feels good and glossy. Even the guests are provided costumes specially designed by Manish Malhotra.
What is Karan's involvement with the show?
"Karan is completely hands-on with the show. Though we have someone doing the research he obviously adds his bit since he knows all the celebs at the personal level. Even when we plan the rapid-fire round, all the questions are discussed with him. In fact, it is literally his show as he sits on everything and if he thinks something is not right then he adds his bit. It's because of this that the show has something unique in each episode. Like, when we did the Saif and Preity episode, it was Karan's idea to take Karan and Preity out and do a survey on each other at the coffee shop.
What's the thought behind the pairing of guests on the show?
A lot of thought has gone into selecting the guests and the pairing of the guests to make it entertaining. Like in the Simi show where you get the family together and the whole feel is very sweet, that's not the only criteria here. So, in a Simi show you would probably have Jaya and Amitji together but here we got Big B with Abhishek.
The thought behind it being that Abhishek has often been compared to his father. Apart from the fact that the father son duo share a good relationship; we also had got a very positive feedback for the show as Karan managed to get Abhishek talking for the first time. Then there was the contest where the question "Who's the sexier Bachchan?" created a buzz.
Then getting Aishwarya Rai and Sanjay Leela Bhansali together was again because Ash has really been appreciated for the two films she had done with him and often criticised for others. Though there was a slight controversy here, she is pretty comfortable with Sanjay.
Then obviously there has to be some kind of a link in terms of the pairing. Like Saif and Preity, there's a definite link and a certain comfort level. The chat becomes that much easier.
As for the other couples like Sanjay & Sushmita and Bipasha & Lara, Sanjay and Sushmita linked very well as both are also a bit of style icons. The Sunny & Bobby episode created a buzz as Sunny, who's actually very media shy, spoke candidly on a TV show for the first time. Also, Abhishek and Preity are single and ready to mingle. In fact, Karan tried to play matchmaker on the show itself. Shabana Azmi and Shobhaa De, who are from the same school and are activists so-to-speak, were fiery as usual.
The set has been designed by Sharmishtha Roy. It was designed in terms of the look that a glossy show like Koffee required. Based on a lounge feel with and a young fresh look. The relatively expensive set cost somewhere around Rs 15 lakh. Also, it's not a permanent set and has to be set every time for a new schedule.
Tell us the about USP and the packaging of the show.
The USP of the show is clearly Karan Johar so the whole packaging has been done around that. The title song presents the process of making Koffee with Karan who's the real highlight of the show. Even the hoarding campaign had Karan as the focal point. The celebs on the show keep dissolving into the coffeemaking process. The concept revolves around spilling the beans while having a hot cuppa. Some of the teaser campaigns are conceptualised by Karan himself.
How expensive is the show?
Though the production house and the channel are tightlipped about the budget, sources reveal its no doubt a very expensive show. Apart from the production cost, the set is an expensive one along with the costumes specially designed for the celebs. Also, for a show like this too many episodes cannot be planned together. Depending on the availability of the people, the shoots have to be planned. To quote the producers on this, "The channel reimburses the cost of the show and we get a fee for the show as its difficult to pinpoint the exact cost of the show. Also, every episode is different specially if you look at our last segment which is totally different every time. So, it's really like a co-production for the channel so the production house doesn't suffer.
...and the channel perspective
Star India Executive VP Content & Communications Deepak Sehgal says, "When Karan himself suggested that we could have a show where he can get us the A-line of celebs from tinseltown and just chat with them. Since, the pitch of the show was so different and coming from a director of Karan's calibre; it seemed very promising. We decided to go for it and although we did have the top line of celebs on the Simi show. But her show is warm and soft whereas Karan is more of masti, gossip and legpulling.
So, later Sameer Nair met Karan and signed him up. I must say Karan has a huge amount of ideas himself. It's also a plus point for our channel if somebody should make the programme and we don't have to work around it again. It's like with Balaji shows where we have less of a problem.
So, we're not trying to correct the show at all.
The questions are his and we can only try to add on. The research is his and he gets all the celebs on his own. So far, the show has done very well for us and created a lot of market buzz. Though it is difficult to get huge ratings on an English channel, the show has been able to do that. Normally, we would manage only 0.4 or 0.2; but we have managed to get a 1 and even more for this show.
Though Star Plus would've been the ideal vehicle the pitch was all about working up some hot conversation with friends. And since for many English is a preferred vehicle we chose to put it on Star World. Star Plus is a preferred vehicle but it should fit in with the language on the channel. In conversation, it is English and Hindi.
Though I cannot reveal the exact economics of the show, it is one of the most expensive on Star World.
The Friday weekend slot had a lot of potential, because it can pull in other audiences. Also, we wanted to make sure that it doesn't clash with big movies which can happen over the weekend on other channels. Now the plan is to take the show to other countries where people have been asking for it."