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Small screen director woes

Small screen producers discuss why directors of their shows don’t get as much credit as their film counterparts.

tv Updated: Aug 10, 2013 16:15 IST

On the sets of a film, the director is known as the captain of the ship, and he gets credit if the film is successful. But when it comes to TV, rarely does a director get any acclaim. While there are a few who are revered for bringing their expertise to a show, it takes them years of hard work to get recognised for their talent.

“There is a paucity of directors in the TV industry. And yes, they don’t get the recognition they deserve,” says Rajan Shahi, who has directed shows like Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi, Kareena Kareena and Saat Phere, before turning producer.

While the job profile of a film director is broken into various stages, including scripting, casting, costumes and several other departments, a TV director isn’t typically involved in most of these. Nikhil Sinha, producer of the hit show, Mahadev, says, “In a film, the director is in charge of everything, from story to casting, set-up and production value. It’s his baby. The era of directors on TV was 10-15 years ago, with the likes of Lekh Tandon, Ravi Rai, Raman Kumar and Anand Rai getting credit for their shows. But today that isn’t the case. Now, the director is a mere executor who does what he’s told to.”

It’s the producer who finalises the story, set-up and casting along with the channel that will air the show. It’s only then that they start looking for a director. Shahi says, “Today, given the routine of daily soaps, there’s a lot of pressure to deliver episodes. One has to create separate teams to handle different sections of a show. This is how the concept of a creative director came about.”

Till a few years ago, directors like Ajay Sinha, Ravindra Gautam, Anil V Sharma and Kaushik Ghatak were popular figures in the industry. But of late, very few have made a name for themselves. They include Romesh Kalra, Neeraj Baliyan, Sidharth Sengupta and Nandita Mehra.