Here, he speaks to TellyBuzz exclusively about his journey as a producer, his association with Paresh Rawal, his new show Ruk Jana Nahin and many more things.
In Conversation With Hemal Thakkar
How did television happen to you?
I have been actively involved with theatre as an actor in my younger days. I enjoy watching shows and I wanted to get into a production house to create quality programmes which I eventually got in. I worked as Creative Director with AIN TV, a TV production house. So television had always been my passion. In fact, two years ago I had a pilot shoot for a youth series called Josh which never went on air. So, getting a serial on air has been a natural outcome towards which we had been working for some time.
What has been the landmark in your career?
It is definitely Laagi Tujhse Lagan. The way we narrated the story, did the characterization and casting was very good. This show has established (the actors) Mahhi and Mishal in a very different way. The production value of the show was very high and the audience was glued to the show. As a producer, I was naturally happy at the end of the day.
What has been so unique about your journey?
I guess all my shows have something unique in them. Being a maker of daily soaps, I have the opportunity to make different genre of shows on television. If you look at my shows, be it Teen Bahuraniyan or Shubh Mangalam Savdhan or Laagi, we have always tried to offer something different to people. When I look back (which I usually don't because I believe in present and future), I feel happy.
How and when did you associate yourself with Paresh Rawal?
Pareshbhai and I have known each other for years now; right from our theatre days. Pareshbhai and I have the same mindset and we had been thinking on the similar lines, for instance, to produce TV software for some time. There is an amazing level of mutual trust and respect between us.
How has television changed in last few years?
It has changed in a very big way. From the content of the show to the way a story is being told, everything has changed. I just feel the writers should come up with better stories because at the end of the day it's the story which clicks with the viewers.
As a producer, what genre attracts you the most?
Entertainment and entertainment because viewers only understand that in this industry. We just have to see the way in which we can entertain them because every day, in a 30 minute capsule, we have to deliver that element of entertainment amidst other shows. That's the challenge.
Ruk Jana Nahin is based on Allahabad. Is there any particular reason for choosing that state?
When the writer Kamal Pandey came to me with this story, I immediately liked it and as a maker I felt that adrenaline rush myself. I always see whether I am excited or not as a producer. Only then will the viewers also be connected to the show. And we have never ever done a show on that state so I just thought why not. I thought people will also get to see certain attributes from there.
Isn't 6.30 pm too early a time slot for daily soap viewers as the housewives are busy preparing dinner?
Firstly the time slot does not depend on us. It's the channel which decides that and hence we don't have any say in it. And as I said earlier, if the story telling is good, any time slot will work for the show. I have seen this with my experience.
You have taken a new girl as the lead. Was that the script's demand?
You always want to find someone who suits the character. We also followed that process and we found her absolutely apt for Sanchi's role. Many times, experienced actors come with loads of baggage and it takes some time to brief them. Also, to portray a fresh character like this is a tedious job. Plus, the audience also wants freshness.
Currently, which are the shows that you watch on television?
Well, I certainly believe that as a producer I need to see other shows. Then I will realize our own show's production value and concept better. I like to watch Bade Aache Lagte Hai, Balika Vadhu, Pavitra Rishta and Uttaran. I am amazed at the way Balika Vadhu is narrating the story. It is really a commendable job to get the viewers' attention for a very long time. Pavitra Rishta is another show which has a wonderful story.
Your banner, Playtime Creations is also into plays and generally plays are not considered so revenue driving. Comment.
Can anyone forget his first love? No! Theatre is my first love and I will never leave it. As an actor I also feel that theatre gives the maximum creative satisfaction to any creative person which one will never get anywhere else. I plan to start a play in June.
How do you unwind?
When our show is not on air I love to go out for a few weeks. Travelling is my passion. I also love to read books, mostly non-fiction.