Kannadada Kotyadhipati is all set to return for a new season on Colors Kannada. Parameshwar Bhat, Business Head of the channel, is heading the production of the game show with a new approach. He wants to double down on the feel-good element of the show and make it more human and inspiring by bringing in contestants from working-class communities.
In an exclusive chat with Indianexpress.com, Bhat opens up about the challenges that he faces while making every episode of the game show and the vast experience he has gained directing Bigg Boss Kannada.
Below are excerpts from the conversation:
Is there any specific reason as to why you have selected the majority of the contestants from economically weaker sections?
I have a selfish reason for that. I want this show to appeal to every common man. I have great regards for knowledgeable people. I believe that education can change people’s life. I have directed many TV shows, like Super Minute, Bigg Boss and others, but this show is my personal favourite. Because this show provides both education and entertainment. This time, we have nearly 70 per cent of participants from working-class families. For such people, even a mere Rs 10,000 can make a lot of difference. And when these contestants win more money, they bring a lot of happiness and energy to the show. Either they will win money or learn the right answer. Kannadada Kotyadhipati is the only show in Kannada that offers nothing but good things.
How did you select the contestants from economically weaker class?
We used a randomizer software provided by Studio Next for that. We gave our preferences like the number of contestants that we want from backward class, rural areas, males and females. And later, we go and meet the potential contestants personally before the selection.
Did you take into consideration the socio-economic background of the majority of the contestants while deciding the difficulty level of the game?
For this, I relied on the experience of Studio Next. I was a journalist before. I read newspapers and I have a decent level of general knowledge. Even I tried the questionnaire of 20 questions and I scored 15. And a porter managed to score 19. We haven’t intentionally reduced the difficulty level of the game. I think compared to the last three seasons, we have selected questions for this season after a lot of thinking. You will find the difference when you watch the show.
What was your experience putting together Kannadada Kotyadhipati show for the first time?
It may look like a simple show on the surface. But, actually, it is not. I was surprised on day one on the sets. For example, I have been slogging on this set since last week. When I came here last Saturday, I was quite confident as I have done about 25 shows in the past. Sunday, I came back with the same arrogance but by that evening I was really troubled. There were so many things I was not able to understand. By that night, we knew we weren’t getting things right. The light and music were not in sync. A small choreography involving selected contestants were also going wrong. I began doubting and second-guessing everything. The next day, we shot a mock show with members from our crew and Puneeth Rajkumar. I called my production guy and told him that I was not getting things in control and cancelled the shoot that day. We couldn’t sleep that night as we wanted to get this right because it is a huge show. And at this point in time, we also needed a hit show. The following day, everyone came to sets with a lot of nervousness. But we started feeling some kind of energy on the sets because of preparation. And things began to fall in place. I can say that I have directed it but it is not mine alone. The female contestant in the episode played the game very well. And those emotions were beautiful. It is like wildlife photography, you just have to capture beautiful things. I came here with a lot of arrogance and was humbled by its challenges.
Is it right to assume that because of your successful past track record, the showrunners brought you in to reboot the show?
Not like that. Colors Kannada needs Kannadada Kotyadhipati as much as Kannadada Kotyadhipati needs Colors Kannada. I wanted to work on this show for a long time and we grabbed it when we got the opportunity. We wanted an exciting show for the weekend and we felt this show was just right. Actually, I got rebooted working on this show.
How far along have you planned this show?
At present, we have planned 40 episodes and one finale. If it is just a hit, we will not extend. But if it is a massive hit, we may continue the show.
What do you learn overseeing a massive show like Bigg Boss Kannada?
Bigg Boss will teach you everything. It will teach you last minute preparations. If you’re shooting your launch episode today, the show will go on air tomorrow evening. So usually the shoot will be a whole night affair and it will go on up to 4 am. And you can’t go and sleep after that. You will have to sit for editing. Bigg Boss will teach you to be always prepared. Since the show is sensational and it will draw a lot of criticism. I get a lot of flak from families when their members on the show say something controversial. So, I also double up as a counsellor for concerned families. It is a reality show in the purest form. You will learn, time, money and crisis management. You will learn to be patient. You learn about people and their characters.