Sheetal Patel - Televisionpoint.com | Mumbai Sunjoy Wadhwa of Sphere Productions, took over the production of Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chaand in 2006 and did some other serials like Saathi Re before he hit the jackpot with Zee TV's Saat Phere-Saloni Ka Safar.
"The idea was to get a story line that was issue-based. An issue with a stigma attached to it. And the story of a dark-skinned girl was just right. It was different. In a world dominated by glamour and good looks, it was a big deal." says Wadhwa.
Is it really a big deal? Who really cares about fair and dark skin today? Let's be honest. Everybody does. A fair skin is one of the first essentials if you want to be considered good looking. If that wasn't so. Why would so many fairness cream companies thrive? Aren't we still living in a world where every matrimonial ad seeks a good looking, fair girl?
What did the serial want to prove? It didn't want to prove anything. It was just a story about a dark skinned girl and how it troubled her parents and how her life changed once someone agreed to marry her.
But isn't it regressive to show something like that on TV? Isn't there a better underdog story to do? Look at Jassi for instance, that worked. Can't we have a story based on professional aspirations? Yes, but ultimately Jassi too had a makeover. From an ugly duckling, she turned into a swan. But this wasn't the same thing. You see, if you are dark, you don't find it difficult to find a job. You find it difficult to find a groom. Moreover, the audience we cater to believes in marriage, home and hearth.
Your serial digressed. Now you have sub-plots and tracks that have Saloni doing the usual rona-dhona. I cannot disagree entirely. But it was necessary. Speaking for myself, I believe that if a show has said what it set out to say, it must end gracefully. But if a show does well, the channel wants it to go on. And for the show to go on, it becomes necessary to introduce new tracks and plots. That is what has happened.
Why make a powerful character do inane things? Why turn her into a sacrifice? We could have done a generation leap but that's the easy way out. I wanted to keep Saloni central to the show, and that's why we introduced new characters who would create problems for her. Viewers now love Saloni so much that they want to see how she confronts every situation.
The serial doesn't seem to be as popular now as it as when it began. Yes, but that isn't because the serial has changed. It is because new serials and fresh faces are on air on every channel. That was bound to happen. For how long can one person rule the roost? It may not be number one, but it is still popular.
Is a generation leap on the cards? We still have plenty of tracks left. A generation leap will not be necessary for at least 200 episodes.
Hey, Yehi toh hai Woh on Star One also didn't take off. Hey... was inspired by a foreign show. We had to make a lot of changes and it lost its essence. Also, at that time, the channel was brand new.
What went wrong with Betiyaan… Apni ya Paraya Dhan and Saathi Re? There was plenty of confusion when they moved Paraya Dhan from Star One to Star Plus. Saathi Re was on air for about 180 episodes. It could have done better.
How much of the creative input is given by the channel? It's always 50-50. Any show for Zee Next? No, we are not doing anything for Zee Next, but we're working on something for Zee TV.
What about NDTV Imagine? We're shooting a fantasy show called Rajkumar Aryan in Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Why is everything in every serial so over the top? It's a visual medium, so it must be opulent. Things can't be ordinary or else they wouldn't grab attention.
Even the camera movements - of going to and for from one character to the other when you wish to emphasise a point - are repeated in every serial. Can't that be changed? You are right when you say that these camera movements are repeated in every serial. And yes, very often they get tiresome. When it started, the game plan was to attract attention. Women generally tend to see serials while doing other household chores. It was done so that the minute there's a twist in the story they don't miss it.
Jarring Camera movements and zooming in on particular characters emphasised the situation. Unfortunately, now everything has fallen into a rut. These kind of effects worked and everybody followed. So till someone comes up with some other style which is successful, this too is bound to continue.
Ardhangini on Zee TV is diametrically opposite to Saat Phere.. what's your take on this? In our serial, dark skin is the problem for them, fairness is the issue.
You started out with Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chand which you took over from Aroona Irani. The soap took a generation leap and lost its track. The generation leap had already happened by the time I took over. Des Mein... fizzled out because the novelty of a one-hour soap had faded by then.
There's a show slated for Star Plus as well. Right? Yeah. It's about a father and his three daughters. Kiran Kumar and Vaidehi will be in it.
What about film production? We're working on two scripts, maybe we will get into a co-production soon.
You and Comell work together, what's it like being in the same office all day and then going home with the same person? We don't step into each other's territory if that's what you're implying. At the end of the day I'd better go home with the same person.
Why did you had to change the title of Salaam Zindgi to Tujhko Hai Salaam Zindgi NDTV's show with the same name went on air before ours. But we had registered the name first with the authorised body. It's just not fair.
Copyright 2005 - 2009 Televisionpoint.com. All rights reserved. A Bhash Media Private Limited Company. This site is best viewed in Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher versions, at a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels.