Saira Banu, Hindi cinema’s beauty from another time, went on to produce TV shows like Zara Dekho To Inka Kamaal and Is Duniya Ke Sitare. Now she’s readying a woman-oriented daily show called Stree to premiere on DD on August 21.
Based on real life stories “I’d call it inspired by and not really an authentic documentary,” is how Banu puts it. She says, “I’ve always been interested in stories of real women and this subject is close to my heart. Here, the basic story idea, the concept and the title song has been done by my niece Shaheen.”
Banu, who’s also made shows for Star TV and Sahara says, “Working with satellite channels has become extremely difficult, especially in the daily soap scenario. It’s very easy and more creatively satisfying with Doordarshan.” Stree is directed by Sunil Prasad who was earlier associated with serials like Shagun and Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin.
Banu says she would love to have directed it, “considering I have done it in the past with Is Duniya Ke Sitare."
Saira Banu's new serial Stree - Teri Kahani starts August 21 on DD and will air from Monday to Friday.
The story revolves around a woman’s need to be self-dependent and her right to earn her self-respect.
The concept of the story, written by Banu's niece Shaheen, focuses on women in India today
"But I just couldn’t do it this time round because direction is a huge responsibility and that would have meant compromising on my family responsibilities.” Banu says she can’t afford to neglect her family duties because “I’ve always been fortunate to have my mother and grandmother around me."
"I can’t spend too much of my time being either in front of the camera or behind it because that will mean I have to be physically present there and that’s the reason I have chosen to distance myself from those things.”
Speaking of being in front of the camera, has she been getting any attractive offers? She smiles, “Well, acting has always been an attractive thing for me because frankly, it’s all I know. From school to films, that was my journey and so I don’t know anything else.”
The veteran actor recently ventured into production of Bhojpuri films. “Yes, and a film with actors Ravi Kisshen and Nagma is ready for release. I have always been fond of the Bhojpuri dialect ever since I watched Ganga Jumna years ago. There were offers too, to act in Marathi and Bhojpuri cinema."
"I quite love Marathi films especially the comedies and I like the flavour of the Bhojpuri dialect, and so I decided to produce a Bhojpuri film.” She says she has lots of ideas “for TV and three scripts for films, in fact even Dilipsaab (Kumar) is keen we make a film on one of those subjects."
"God willing, we just might.” Banu says she does watch TV “especially when you are a producer and don’t want to repeat things that are already being shown on television. I don’t stay on a show though — I flip channels a lot.” As for films, she says the last she watched were Nagesh Kukunoor’s Iqbal “because Subhashji (Ghai) had invited us and Phir Hera Pheri, because Gaffarbhai Nadiadwala is like a brother to me.”