Ekta Kapoor’s Exclusive Interviewby Opinion Express August 23, 2018 0 comments
Indian Film/TV Producer Ekta Kapoor talks to the reporter Asmita Sarkar about how the web is spanning the spaces of content in TV and films
Control freak or alpha woman? But does the two have to be different at all? Ekta Kapoor is a powerhouse and her success doesn’t stop her from continuing to be restless about trying out new content. There is a schizophrenic break between the three personas as a producer that she dons on for the three different media, web, TV and films, she’s adopted but the result in all of them have either been commercial or critical successes.
You have the pulse of what India wants to watch and have become an industry onto yourself. How do you do it?
Arrey, I’m not. I try to do time management in my life. People ask me ‘how do you go out?’, ‘how do you manage doing so much?’ but I think I enjoy the fact that I’m constantly doing something. I’m more like an alpha female who always needs some kind of high. So, I jump from one high to the another. And the lows scare me.
What was appealing to you about Home?
My dad once told me this story and I did a little bit of research. In India, we have ignored the middle class. It’s not the largest vote bank, they’re also not Twitter-friendly. The influencer crowd doesn’t come out of the middle class. So, their problems get ignored. TV and films don’t have the space for it. The web is where that lacunae can be met. It’s not one type of entertainment. We move towards sex, violence and edginess but it’s been a long time since the struggles of the middle class got space in films or TV. Housing is a huge problem in India.
Is web the right medium for it then?
It’s a new medium with different voices. There’s no one voice. It’s time to explore the different voices and even I don’t know which one will be carried forward. So, I’m actually playing around myself, learning how to promote a show as vanilla as this one. This show doesn’t have youth, doesn’t have a popular cast, and doesn’t have alternative casting for the hip urban crowd. Neither is it like Naagin. But somewhere in between those two spaces, I decided to take a plunge. We’ll only know after we make it.
Do you find a contradiction within yourself as a producer of saas bahu serials and content like Home?
As human beings, we’re all contradictory. Both in plays and ways of our life, we’re different. With your best friend, family, alone or husband, there are different hues in you. I think I live out those contradictions through different stories. If I do TV, I’m living out the over-the-top escapist entertainment that mass India needs.
When I actually go ahead and do something more urban like Veere di Wedding, I’m playing out the feminist side of me. When I make something like Home, I return to my roots, the family. Contradictions make me happy, without them I would be one-dimensional.
Will there be more projects like Romil and Jugal, which were widely appreciated, in ALTBalaji in the future?
I have done a lot of projects that have received appreciation like the Test Case, which is about a utopian setup where a woman is in the army. Then there was a show on the mysteries behind the disappearance of a great visionary leader like Subhash Chandra Bose. Now, I’m doing a project on the Nanavati murder case. So, there’s enough stuff that I try do and Home is one of those projects. Be it movies or TV, you’ll always find me dabbling.
What are the future projects in the pipeline?
I have three different mediums. There is Kasauti Zindagi Kay. On ALT, there’s Home and Triple X, I don’t really shy away from sex. And there’s going to be an interesting take on family with Barun Sobti and Kay Kay called the Great Indian Dysfunctional Family. It’s about Indian families and how we don’t talk to each other, but at each other. In movies, there’s Mental Hai Kya, Jabariya Jodi.
That’s a lot of things you’re working on…
I still feel we can do more.
Do you think there is more freedom in making things for the internet?
There is. More than freedom, we get stuck on the censorship issue. I wouldn’t have been able to make Home into a film or for TV, since it lacks melodrama. It has issues that are real. Nor would movies take a film helmed by this cast. We would have good looking actors who are younger. I don’t know how many people would have promoted a movie that would be a flop. And then the great story would be lost. ALT or any digital platform can tell stories and I don’t need to look for the right window to release it. If there’s a big movie releasing on a particular weekend, the audience wouldn’t go for the small film. But you can at any point of time, watch a digital show. It’s your convenience, which, in turn, is to my convenience. It gives you space to unlock stories that have never been said before because of the commerce attached to the medium.
You cast veteran actors and a known face in the web space for this show. Was it a conscious choice?
Yes, it had to look real and Annu ji, Supriya ji, Amol are perfect for this. The director, Habib Faisal, spent weeks looking for the perfect cast. That kind of dedication is purity. I know it’s an abused word. But purity in this comes from not knowing that the commerce, popularity or age of the actor has taken the front seat. Just the credibility of the actor mattered to him and their body of work.
How was it working with Habib Faisal?
Frankly, I had heard things that he’s very tough to work with but I found him fantastic. He is very accepting. I have also been blamed for being a control freak about my work but that’s the love I have for my work. I want the best and haggle over the small details, and he’s the same. As long as someone adopts the show, I have no problem backing off. I had a great time working with him.
Writer: Asmita Sarkar
Courtesy: The Pioneer