It might have come as a shock to many that Sanjay Leela Bhansali will no longer be producing Saraswatichandra, a show he launched with much fanfare six months ago. The reasons cited, according to many reports, ranged from issues relating to production, finances and actors’ tantrums. Apparently, the period drama didn’t get high ratings as expected. The bottom-line is that the channel intervened to set things straight and handed over the reins to another maker.
When a producer approaches the channel with a show, the latter owns the final product. It has the right to air the show anywhere in the world in its original or dubbed versions. Unlike the west, in India, the cast and the crew rarely get any royalty or fee for the re-runs. The channel also enjoys the right to replace a producer if things don’t work out between them.
The most frequently cited reason for conflict is creative differences. These may include everything — from the issue of cost per episode to the producer’s inability to deliver ratings. Baba Aiso Var Dhoondo and Mata Ki Chowki are some shows whose producers were replaced while they were still on air.
But switching to a new producer mid-way brings with it more challenges too, such as negative publicity for the channel and the task of getting actor accustomed to a new set-up. A few years ago, child actor Aayesha Kaduskar was signed on to play the young Jhansi Ki Rani. But after four months of training, she was replaced by Ulka Gupta because reportedly, the production house changed and they brought in their changes.
There have also been many instances when a producer, who was brought on board during the planning stage of a show, was replaced just before the show went on air. Cases in point include Bidaai, Mahadev and Savitri. In these rapidly transforming times in the world of television, all we can say is that the only thing constant is change.