Five and a half years have gone by in a wink,” sighs producer-director Sooraj Barjatya whose first ever TV daily soap, Woh Rehnewali Mehlon Ki, wraps up on Sahara One tonight. “The story changed a couple of times, but Rani (leading lady Reena Kapoor) stuck to her core values. That’s what kept the audience with the show all along,” he adds.
The director recalls two reasons that led him to start his TV production company, Rajshri Films. Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon was a mega flop. It was an experiment that had failed miserably. On the other hand, TV was flourishing. My sister Kavita wanted to expand our company's TV production division,” he says, adding, “So, I decided to start off with this show because it was a story that all of us thought had all the core Rajshri values that we've been disseminating through our films over the years. Today, Kavita is independently handling the wing and I think she's doing well.”
The last two years, according to Barjatya, were great for his TV wing because it had three shows on air simultaneously. “Now, that we're left with one, Yahan Main Ghar Ghar Kheli on Zee TV, we plan to go slow with our next set of shows which will start production in the next two months,” he says
Initially, Woh Rehnewali Mehlon Mein delivered consistent ratings between 3 and 4 points, which slipped to 1 and 2 over the years. Would he blame the many storyline changes or the channel’s small viewership numbers for it? “Consistency is the key. Today if you can deliver uniform ratings and sustain, you're good. That's what happened with both our shows,” says Barjatya, who aims to make one more show for Sahara One. “We owe them because they never interfered with our work and gave us a break in TV. So, we will produce a show for them,” he says.
In the meantime, Barjatya gave a break to several first-time directors, including his niece Vidhi Kasliwal, whose Isi Life Mein released last year, but failed at the box office. Isn’t it high time that he returned to direction? “As someone helming the production company, I can't be directing all the films,” asserts Barjatya. “We have two more films in production. Once those wrap up, I have three subjects in mind. I will come back to direction too.”
Barjatya’s favourite moments on the show
Whenever Rani was in dilemma in the show, we showed her opening a page of the Ramayana and reading. That page became her solution to any problem. Over the years, many people have written to me saying that that page worked for them as well. We introduced it because practice it very often.
At Rani’s first wedding on the show, she wasted an entire month's groceries on the first meal she cooked in her new house. And then, when she realised what she had done, she cried. That was a way of telling our audience that girls should be empowered to handle different circumstances.
Over the years, we paid attention to minor details like showing Rani switching off all lights and fans while leaving a room. It was our way of telling our middle class audience to save power.