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Dreaming Big

Television’s latest batch of producers is a mix of writers,directors and actors

Written by AMRUTA LAKHE | Published: September 3, 2013 2:46:19 am

The teleplay writer of shows such as Kaisa Yeh Pyar Hai (2005) and Grihasti (2008),Damini Shetty had experienced a fair amount of success. But a few years into the industry,Shetty started to feel the need for more control over the content she was generating. In 2011 — with almost a decade’s experience in the industry behind her — Shetty took her role beyond that of a writer,and launched her own production house,Mystic Productions. Their debut show,Bani-Ishq Da Kalma,replaced Ekta Kapoor-produced Parichay on Colors early this year.

For the longest time,biggies such as Kapoor with Balaji Telefilms,Gajendra Singh with Sai Baba Telefilms and Ronnie Screwvala with UTV,dominated the television content (fiction). The wave brought entrepreneurs such as Sunjoy Wadhwa (Sphere Origins),Deeya and Tony Singh (DJ’S Creative Unit) and Rajan Shahi (Director’s Kut) into the arena.

However,the latest bunch of newbies,much like Shetty,is a mix of people who developed television content in various capacities for the biggies — associate producer,writer,creative producer among others — and have now expanded into production.

For instance,Rashmi Sharma was the creative head for shows such as Saat Phere,Piya Ka Ghar and Bidai,until she started Rashmi Sharma Telefilms in 2009. “I used to handle everything,from scripting to the telecast. The ideas my team and I would generate were often appreciated too. So,I decided to take my role forward,” says Sharma,who has since produced Sasural Simar Ka,Saath Nibhana Saathiya and Mrs Kaushik ki Paanch Bahuein.

Even actors are now trying their hands at production. Take actor couple Sai Deodhar and Shakti Anand,who own Thoughttrain Entertainment. Or even Bhairavi Raichura,known for her character of Kajal bai in Hum Paanch,who launched 24 Frames with Nandita Mehra,then the director of Uttaran. So while Mehra handles the creatives,Raichura is in charge of the finances. “I contribute to the production aspect — handling the execution,scheduling and budgeting,” explains the producer of the social thriller Chhal-Sheh Aur Maat,which recently went off air.

A creative lot,writers often dislike it when their stories are meddled with by producers who may be focussing on profit-generation. This can sometimes cause an internal conflict. So,for someone who has been on both sides,writer-director-turned-producer Sumeet Mittal of ShashiSumeet Productions,finds it easier to merge the writing with execution. The production house currently has the successful Diya Aur Bati and Punar Vivaah on air. However,Mittal asserts that the market is getting tougher by the minute. “Earlier,there was limited content or only a set of ideas that shows stuck to. Now,with genres like reality shows,game shows and participation of filmstars,the stakes are higher,” he says.

Also,the exponentially growing market is keeping producers — old and new— on their feet. “Earlier,big banners did seven to eight shows. Now,no one can hold on to so many productions. In the current scenario,supply is greater than demand,” says Raichura. “The audience doesn’t let us get into our comfort zones and that makes it all the more exciting. This is the best time to be making shows,” she says.

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