Directors are the 'key' when it comes to laying the foundation for a new concept the industry. Ravindra Gautam is a Director who has put together great shows like Kasautii Zindagi Kay, Bhabhi, Des Main Nikla Hoga Chand, Kayamath, Karam Apnaa Apnaa, Bandini, Tere Liye, Pratigya etc.
Today, he has ventured to be a Producer along with partner Keval Sethi for his show Armanon Ka Balidaan on Imagine.
In an exclusive chat with Telly Buzz, Ravindra Gautam narrates about his journey and experience in the industry so far...
Talk us thro' your journey so far as Director.
I started my journey in 2002 as an editor after which I started directing shows like Kasautii Zindagii Kay and continued with other shows like Bhabhi, Koi Dil Mein Hain, Sarkaar etc. My recent projects include Pavitra Rishta, Tere Liye and the major project which is close to my heart is Uttaran which I had directed earlier.
We have heard that you had opted for various other professions before directing happened to you.
Even before I came to Mumbai, I was into theatre and acting was my work. I came to Mumbai in 1996, the days when there were only two channels and they were difficult days to get a break in acting. During those days I was not financially sound to support myself to develop my acting skills and work as an actor. Hence I joined Editing classes and started work at a young age where I was the only earning member among my friends. Before I entered into direction, I edited music videos and worked for Channel V and MTV. I used to edit MTV 123, a show that was anchored my Rageshwari and BPL Oye for Channel V. Initially as a director I did episodic shows like Khauf for SAB TV and after that, I started doing soaps with Kasauti Zindagi Kay.
How is your rapport with Ekta Kapoor and how has it grown with time?
I have a good rapport with Ekta and I will still do shows for her. Even though I am into my own ventures, it will always be Ekta first with whom I will do shows when I get time.
How has the experience been directing quite number of popular shows for Ekta?
The experience has been great with Ekta and Balaji. They are a great team to work with as they are the paymasters in the industry with great technical updates and creative thinking which Ekta is heading.
How and when did you think of forming your own company RG Media and Entertainment?
That was again a logical step that I took wherein I believed I could really execute my talents well and I am blessed to have a great team who believes in me. Since I know what each member of the crew goes through under the headship of a Producer, I understand their issues and concerns and would like to work according to that.
You and Kewal Sethi have always shared the limelight. Tell us about him.
Kewal and I had worked together for a Horror show in DD Metro called Akraant, where he was the Producer. Our friendship began from those days and we later worked together as directors also. When I started off with Uttaran, he worked with me as a co-director. We have a long running friendship and we both gel well as a team.
When it comes to RG Media and Entertainment, what are the aspects you handle and what does Keval Sethi take care of?
We have divided our work into production and direction where, Keval handles production and I handle the direction. We discuss our work on a daily basis where our inputs are shared and coordinate together for the show.
Armanon Ka Balidaan has been your first show as Producer. What were your first learning experiences from the industry when it came to producing a show?
There was a lot to learn while working for the show where I directly had to deal with the channel for the first time, something I did not have to bother as a director. I have to take care about the members of the crew and their necessities of finance and various other needs. But I believe that when the purpose is clean, all goes well.
How differently have you to cope up when in the shoes of a Director and Producer?
As an actor, I had to only bother about the creative aspect of the show that also included the execution. But as a Producer I have a lot more responsibilities towards the channel and towards the show.
What do you enjoy the most?
Both I suppose, wherein direction is a little hectic when compared to production. The trend today includes a practice where directors are changed after a certain number of episodes where, the initial director lays a foundation for the show by giving a good fifteen episodes so that the latter directors can continue the show smoothly.
When it comes to talking about your journey in the industry, which has been your best phase and why?
I believe that all the phases of my life were good phases.
How were your struggling days like before you got your first success?
My struggling phase was a good learning phase as well wherein I took a job as a trainee editor. Even though I was the only earning member in my friends' circle, I enjoyed those days too. I always believed that when you want to pursue something very badly and if you work for it sincerely, you will achieve it.
Which was your first successful show?
As a Director I would consider Uttaran as my successful show where I really got the stand of a director. That really pushed me ahead in my direction.
Name the shows which you will cherish for life?
I will cherish the days of Uttaran where we had a great time shooting with the kids. It was a totally different experience where the show had a different concept of street kids and their life. The other show would be Pavitra Rishta which is again a show which is hatke from the normal Balaji shows. The show has a the story of middle class people and their life.
Apart from Ekta, who are the other Producers you have worked with?
I have worked with Pintoo Guha for Uttaran, Walkwaters and Pearl Grey for Pratigya, Manish for Sarkaar, UTV for Bhabhi etc.
Is there any Producer of today's age with whom you will want to associate and work with?
I would love to work with all Producers because working with them gives you a lot of inputs that help you develop the future work.
How has your Bollywood aspirations been? Have you got the same amount of success as in TV?
Actually I have not yet started my Bollywood career, but I am working on a script which I am planning to make it happen.
Future aspirations in Bollywood?
To direct a super hit film.
What do you think of television today?
Television today is growing at a faster rate where all are aspiring to become a part of it, including the movie stars. It is a money spending business today.
Which is your favorite fiction show on TV right now?
Uttaran and Pavitra Rishta
What do you have to say about the TRP system that the entire industry follows? Do you think the number of sample homes used to get the ratings need to increase?
Actually I cannot comment anything on it because it works that way and has to believe in it.
Your first show as Producer Armanon Ka Balidaan had a good and unique concept. But it did not give good results in way of ratings. Your take on it.
There are shows and concepts that might not appeal to a great mass but should be made. I am really grateful to the channel Imagine and Saurabh Tewari for believing in me to take up a bold concept of Aarakshan which we had begun with.
What is the advice you would want to give the aspiring directors?
Work hard and observe whatever happens around you, as observation is an important aspect of a director.
The television actors that you have always admired for their immense talent.
I have always admired Ronit Roy, Saakshi Tanwar, Kiran Kumar etc.
Who are the actors of today with good talent?
I admire actors like Ronit Roy, Shweta Tiwari, the senior actors of Pavitra Rishta etc. Today scripts are the key for success in television and if the concept and script are strong, the shows will do well.
Which are the shows you are directing presently?
Presently I am busy with my own show and I am not directing any other shows.
Reporter and Author: Saranya Valsarajan