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Never say never!

TV Producer Rajan Shahi tells Prema K about the lessons he’s learned from the break up of his marriage.

tv Updated: Apr 30, 2009 17:14 IST

He is television’s hottest producer with two tops shows, Sapna Babul Ka.. Bidaai and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hain. Starting his career as an associate director and production designer on popular shows, he became an independent director and then launched his own production house, ‘Director’s Cut’.

But there’s been a setback in his personal life. He has separated from his wife after seven years. He says, “I don’t see the break-up of my marriage as negative. It was a painful experience but looking back, I feels it’s the best thing that could have happened to me.” He considers it an eye-opener.. as growth.

He continues, “Two people met, fell in love, got married and then reached a stage where they
couldn’t live together any more. It was beautiful while it lasted. We have a lovely child, Ishika, as proof of those happy times.”

The split has taught him a few lessons too. He reels off some: “There’s no balance sheet in marriage.. one should never be judgmental and it’s better to move on when it brings forth negative emotions.”

Blame game
Before I assume that he’s trying hard to come across as Mr Goody Two-shoes, he admits it wasn’t easy to think this way in the initial stages: “I’m not being a hypocrite when I say that my marriage was great. It was, for seven years, till problems cropped up. The usual blame-game and ‘I’m right’ phase followed. We separated before things took an ugly turn.”

His marriage is a closed chapter but his ex-wife and he are friends now. He explains, “I know that sounds clichéd but it doesn’t mean that we pick up the phone and chat for hours together. But we separated amicably and don’t hesitate to call each other if we have to discuss something regarding Ishika.”

Key to success
They have mutually agreed that if one is tied up at work the other will spend time with Ishika, to make sure that she doesn’t feel neglected.

He recollects when he had strongly vetoed the statement, “The key to success in one’s profession is an unsuccessful marriage,” made by one of his senior colleagues on the sets.

Shahi says, “That was during the happy phase of my marriage. I argued that the statement wasn’t true. I still don’t believe it.” No wonder his shows reflect marital bliss!

He attributes his rocking professional life to his team. But he does not deny the fact that when his marriage was crumbling, he had focussed all his energies on his show, Bidaai and was rewarded when it made it to the No. 1 slot.

Moving on
He continues, “During the phase when I was upset, and kept clearing myself of the blame, one night I was thinking things over. It almost felt like I was having a conversation with God. I told him, ‘If I have done something right, somewhere, then please show it in my work.’”

And Bidaai became a top-grosser. He adds, “I wanted to pick up the pieces of my life and move on. I needed a direction. That’s the reason Bidaai is special to me. It stood by me during my bad times. Now I’m very involved with my work. I’m a hands-on producer and oversee my shows, right from the inception stage. I’m at peace now and enjoy being on my own.”

Does that rule out another marriage or relationship? He replies, “I have nothing against them. I believe relationships fail, not marriages. But I don’t want to invest my emotions in another marriage. I don’t want to say anything more now because I believe in the saying — ‘Never say never!’”