Sunil Agnihotri’s supernatural thriller, Black, hit the tubes on Monday night...Rachana Dubey shivers...
How old do you feel today?
And how many years have you been in the industry?
Twenty.. that means I’ve grown younger every year.
Okay, so what has changed in the last 20 years?
The audience has changed. Twenty years ago, they didn’t have too many choices. They watched whatever was on air. Sunday mornings were dedicated to Rangoli and Ramayan. The TRPs for shows were often as high as 47 points and sometimes even beyond. Today, Ramayan is struggling with barely five or seven points. People watch the same news on different news channels. There’s too much to see and too little time. So many channels.. so many shows.
When there are so many channels, why give your show to a lesser known channel like 9X?
I chose 9X because they promised me space. Executive producers from the channel will not be hanging around on my sets all the time, telling me what to do and what not to. I got what was promised. As far as success is concerned, I think every channel goes through its ups and downs. Star, Sony, Zee.. all of them went through their low phases. Why then does one channel’s plight have to be highlighted?
The show’s paranormal theme reminds one of X-Files.
Yeah, the show is loosely based on X-Files. But the stories, the twists and the treatment are all very Indian. They will appeal to our sensibilities.
Why did you sign Mamik with newcomer Aaliya when you could afford bigger stars?
When I wrote the show, I wrote it with Mamik in mind. Aaliya is my Dana Scully. I could have approached bigger stars but that wasn’t the idea. I wanted someone like Mamik who has a certain style of his own. If you look at him, he has the body language of an officer. He brings the character to life. Ditto for Aaliya. I’ve never regretted my decision.
Why attempt a paranormal show when saas-bahu shows dominate the prime time slot on most channels?
Because I can’t think of making a saas-bahu show ever. That was and remains Ekta Kapoor’s domain.
Your fantasy show, Chandramukhi, airs on Doordarshan.. wasn’t it made for a mainstream satellite channel? It was meant for Sahara One. But the deal fell through. So, I gave the show to DD. And thankfully, it’s working very well on the national channel. Buzz is that that you’re making a movie too. I am planning a comedy. I can’t disclose the concept or the star cast till its finalised. I would ideally want the movie to go on the floors sometime this year.
What happens to your shows then?
I will pass them on to one of my assistants who will handle my babies when I’m away.
It has been reported that actors and directors have been asked to take pay cuts. Has the economic slowdown affected the TV industry too?
I don’t think the slowdown has had a negative impact in the telly world. In fact, all through the last three years, prices had been going up consistently. Everyone was charging more than what they deserved. The meltdown has only brought about a correction in prices. I see it as a blessing in disguise.