Havan is a tale pegged on the relationship between a believer and his Guru (Baapji) with the myriad of human emotions that exist between them capturing the journey that goes behind people's faith. On the out of the launch of the show, Rajan Shahi spoke to TellyBuzz about the show and the brains behind it...
Tell us something about your new show Havan?
This is the first launch by the company and is very dear to me. When I approached Colors for the first time I kept aside all the other projects and discussed it as this is the one that we are working on. According to me, this is one such concept that has not yet been tried on Indian television. When you watch the show, you will see that there are various interesting facets that cannot be compared to the characters with any of the earlier ones you have seen. This is a powerful concept that everyone in the country can connect with.
But don't you think pitching a show on Colors was a risky decision, especially with Bigg Boss 5 making its way?
Each show has its designated slot and also a specific audience. You can actually sit with your five year old kid or your grandmother and watch this show. It is a powerful subject that it doesn't matter what shows come and go.
How did you select your cast with Narendra Jha playing a prominent role?
After subject and writing, the next thing that will be appreciated on the show will be the cast. The other cast will be revealed as the show progresses as we want to hold the surprise element. The beauty of the show is the way casting has been done. I cannot think of anyone who can carry the role of Baapji well other than Narendra Jha and he was our first choice. Shubhangi Atre Poorey will be another surprise package in the show and she has done a brilliant job. And like always, Director's Kut is launching a new face with Havan called Shrenu who plays Astha and is a superlative performer. I am sure that she will do a good job and we are really very proud of her. It has been four months since the casting has started and you can imagine how the process would have been.
Your previous show on Colors, Maat Pitaah Ke Charnon Mein Swarg, did not taste much success. What are your expectations from this show?
Every show has been really close to my heart even if the audience accepts it or not. It is true that sometimes the show we make fail to get audience's interest, but that will never stop me or even Colors to experiment with new concepts.
Do you think the 7 PM slot is one of the most challenging slots?
Indeed it is a challenging slot and we have a mountain to climb as the highest rated show runs in that slot. But in Indian television the time-slots have been redefined because nobody has ever thought that 7 PM slot would become one of the highest watched slots. Today we also see that the 9 PM slot does not get good results and whenever I get the 9 PM slot it is a little scary.
So that means people are looking for concepts rather than popular faces?
Yes I guess and it is all about the concepts and the characters in television. This is because people connect with the characters and the story of the show.
You have made a lot of family entertainers, when are you planning to come up with a show based on youth?
Actually every show of mine has a huge relevance to the youth and this show is of no exception. Of course I would love to make shows especially for my age group (laughs). But seriously I would love to make shows for youth if the broadcaster is ready.
Is it because of the concept of Havan that you have decided to pitch it on Colors?
When Colors was launched, the channel changed the way Indian television functions. With concepts like Balika Vadhu and Uttaran, they have always brought up unique stories, breaking all the limits. At the creative helm there are people like Ashwini and Sumit. Even the creative team wants to do different stuff without diluting the main focus. There is honesty and desire to take risks and to experiment with different genre which gives you as a producer the confidence to make a show.
Two of your shows, Kuch Toh Log Kahenge and Hawan are launching on Sony and on Colors respectively. What are your expectations?
Right now, for me, the most important launch is Havan as this is the Company's first launch this year and the whole year we have been working hard on it. The whole focus and concentration is on this show.
Do you think Baapji will become another iconic character in television?
Yes. Actually we already treat him like a spiritual Guru Baapji and whenever I go on the sets I do pranam while he says, "sir I am Narendra Jha". He is going to break that line.
We have heard that the story is on the lines of Nityananda Swami Issue?
I want to make it clear and put it on record that this show is not based on any Spiritual Gurus or Babas or Saints living or dead. This is purely fictional and I want to clear this rumour.
What would you like to say to the fans of your shows on India-forums?
I would like each one of them to watch Havan as you will be taken on a different journey through the show with new characters that have together made a brilliant show.
Reporter and Author: Saranya Valsarajan