Ek Hasina Thi came into being because Star Plus wanted a masala show that empowered women, and gave them hope. The show depicts today’s woman who has a mind of her own and deals with critical issues of the country in an entertaining fashion. We wanted to make it like a film and raise the bar on how television shows are perceived, by making the cast dress up in an elegant and aspiring manner. It’s a fast paced show so that the audience does not miss even a scene.
We managed to write the 12-month-long show in advance, which has never been done before. In all my other shows, only three or four episodes are shot and the show is accordingly changed and shot after observing audience’s reaction. The vision for the show was simple — a show which is like a blockbuster. I am huge fan of Manmohan Desai and Rohit Shetty, in whose films I get the full thali where all the dishes are served.
I can’t even watch half the shows currently on air because in most of them, everybody looks upset. There are just black or white characters, whereas in real life, all characters are in shades of grey. Why do people in TV have to be Ram and Sita? Can’t we have normal people? We are really creating a new benchmark in writing through the show.
As far as the title of the show is concerned, it was later changed to Ek Hasina Thi from its previous title, Daag. We changed it because we thought Daag implied negative emotions and for a show about empowerment, it didn’t work. The plot is just not about the hero and heroine. The show amalgamates Durga’s journey (Sanjeeda Sheikh) to the journey of Simone Singh’s character (Sakshi Goenka). Both these characters and their journey interconnect to form a big plot. Even the mother and father have a story. Sanjeeda Sheikh was the first girl I wanted for the show but her casting took a long time. Pratyusha Banerjee came in between but then she went for Bigg Boss. For me, there was only one heroine — Sheikh with whom I had earlier worked in Jaane Pehchaane Se… Ye Ajnabee. She is a thorough professional and never complains. When I asked Vatsal Seth if he would play a grey role, which is completely opposite to his chocolate boy looks, he readily agreed. He was also offered Bigg Boss and he let go of 12 to 15 shows because of this show.
We have never made such an edgy and commercial show for television. It is high voltage, high on energy and not over the top. But the greatest challenge would be the 8 pm slot we have been given, which is a huge headache. There are competitive shows across channels at the same time. My family watches Jodha Akbar (Zee TV) while Balika Vadhu (Colors) also has its own set of loyal followers. But Jodha Akbar is an amazing show and Ekta (Kapoor) is a good friend whom I talk to everyday. I look up to her for vision and creativity. The challenge would be to provide good content, from one episode to the next.