Prateek Sharma might be a new Producer in the Indian Television industry but his creative vision and eagerness to make a mark with his differenciated concepts have struck a warm chord with the viewers already!!
As the creative think-tank in the team of Saath Nibhana Saathiya, Jaana Na Dil Se Door and Beyhadh, Prateek has had an amazing and enriching journey where he has learnt a lot.
But now, as he says, it is time to unleash the creative thoughts and make a mark with his unique presentations as Producer.
His maiden show under the banner LSD Films, Ek Deewana Tha on Sony TV has received great response, and has opened up well on numbers too!!
In an exclusive chit-chat with IndianWikiMedia.com, Prateek talks about his journey of turning Producer and bringing to life his baby, Ek Deewana Tha.
When did the thought of becoming a Producer come to you?
The thought came in the year 2010, when I joined STAR. After seeing the nice way in which Producers were treated, and how important it is for the Producers to deliver a good product, and also on how Producers get the satisfaction of honing up a complete project, the idea cropped up in my mind. Well, if you are not a Producer, you end up limiting yourself to just one aspect of show making; you can either be a writer, or director or actor. But as Producer, you have control over all the things; and you are designing the project. Having said this, I never dreamt of becoming a Producer so soon. All happened quite quickly for me.
Tell us about your forte in terms of genre?
Well, my forte has always been family dramas. Saathiya and Jaana Na Dil Se Door are examples for that. However, Beyhadh was the first time that I tried to do something out of my comfort zone. Yes, you can say that Beyhadh was experimental for me. It was nice of the channel to have placed trust in me. After Beyhadh, I wanted to do something different. Beyhadh was a benchmark. But I did not want to repeat the same formula. I wanted to do a love story; Vyom and Sharanya’s love story was in my mind. But the thought of adding a supernatural element in it happened by chance.
We were in Mauritius, shooting for a schedule of Beyhadh. During one of the conversations there, Danish Khan told me that after working on a show like Beyhadh, it was time for me to don the Producer’s mantle too. He asked me to come up with a concept. That was when the thought started. And during the same trip, when we all sat to discuss on topics, the hot topic always used to be ‘horror’. Horror was something that got all excited. Since I had the love story of Vyom – Sharanya in mind, I decided to put the supernatural angle to it.
So how is it to become a Producer?
It is certainly not easy to become a Producer. It is a damn big responsibility, both financially and creatively. However, I had no worries about the financial aspect as my family is well-to-do and does not need my support. Career wise, I had gained knowledge of about 7 years. So I had to put all the experience in work to become Producer. Since it is my first show, I concentrated on everything; even a kerchief getting used in my scenes needed my approval and I got so obsessive (smiles). Now to see my mother’s name going in credits as Producer is a great feeling. There is nothing greater than this achievement for me.
Take us through the casting of your mighty popular actors?
Vikram (Singh Chauhan) was always supposed to be part of my first show as Producer. Vikram and I share a great rapport from the days of Jaana Na. Donal (Bisht) was in one of my projects and was to play the leading lady there. Since that project got delayed, she was an easy and obvious choice for my show. I bumped into Namik (Paul) at the Sony office. Must say, he’s quite a head-turner and you can never ignore him when you look at him. Since my idea of horror was to make it look good and stylish, who could have been a better looking ghost than Namik? Amarr (Upadhyay) again had commited to me that whenever I work on my first show, he will be part of it. When I gave him the first call, he agreed to play the role. To tell you the fact, none of the actors were auditioned for the roles; I had someone in mind for every role. And few were well-thought about and brought in. We only did look tests with them. Again, Delnaaz was my personal choice for the role of Odhni. I wrote the role keeping her in mind. Also, another fact is that most of the actors started shooting for me even before they signed their contracts. That’s the rapport we have.
What are your thoughts on other genres?
It was very important for me to create something different after Beyhadh, as I told you. Well, by saying so, I am not completely shying away from family dramas and saas-bahus. Whatever I am today is because of these shows. Saath Nibhana Saathiya has been a milestone show in my career. However, a thriller has lesser shelf life and this has to be accepted. So as a Producer, I wanted to sign up for a show which has a finite story. I am very young in age, and beyond a point, I get bored of the things I do. Hence the idea was to kick-start with a finite series. I am also discussing various family dramas and soap operas too, but yes, the ones with a slight twist.
So does it mean that Ek Deewana Tha has the ending fixed?
Yes, I have my ending already fixed. In fact, I have the last episode ready and I usually write it first. Even for Beyhadh, the last episode was written first. We have a very good writing team with Mrinal Jha and Shipa D’Mello. So hats off to them!!
Your opening week rating has been really good (1.1) on Sony setting a new benchmark?
Yes, it has been good. But having said this, I don’t believe in setting benchmarks. Benchmarks are meant to be broken. I am sure that Haasil will break this benchmark this week, and in the following week, Rishta Likhenge Hum Naya will break Haasil’s rating record. Sony has a very good line-up of shows and I am very grateful that we are part of his new-age bunch of shows on Sony. This is indeed good for the industry.
Also, another important factor that helped us was the great visuals that we captured of Mussorie. Since it is a love story, every screen had to look good. I wanted to create two worlds; one of Sharanya and her family which was very real. The other was Vyom and his family which was mysterious, with intertwined relationships and dark.
What is your take on TRPs?
Practically speaking, TRP is very important for a show to survive. I cannot say that it does not hold importance to me. Beyhadh was a niche concept and did decently well on numbers. However, quality is very much important and that is what will convince viewers. I want to make shows that are high on TRP and are also popular with both masses and youth.
Do you think being young in age gives you an advantage to know the pulse of the youth better?
I am now tired of being called young; I have been in this industry for seven years now. Being in the channel gave me lot of exposure about the market requirement. Also, I have a huge friends circle and I live in a joint family. So it is in me to understand what people like and dislike. Yes, you can say that I am most connected with the young thoughts. But I would like it when I am called the youngest Producer who came up with ‘young concepts’ not seen on television.
What are your favourite shows that are on air apart from your show?
I am very happy to see TV evolving. I am very much looking forward to Porus and Prithvi Vallabh. I enjoy watching the roller-coaster of Haasil. Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai has in fact surprised me at the kind of emotions and drama that get portrayed week after week. Yeh Rishta is like a ‘text book’ show for us. I also like Shakti – Astitva Ke Ehsaas Ki. Apart from that, the shows which have been close to my heart are my shows Saathiya and Beyhadh.
What is your take on the digital trend?
It is a very good trend setter. You don’t have to depend on anything else for feedback on the digital medium; you get it then and there. However, if I say honestly, I have not yet understood this medium. So I am not ready to explore it yet. It took me nearly 7 years to explore and understand TV. For the next 3-4 years, I want to concentrate on TV shows and make good shows.
You have faced the first ‘Thursday’ as Producer last week and you have many more to come? How was the feeling when you waited for your first TRP of your first show?
I was very nervous. As I told you, numbers matter a lot. The only thought that kept coming in my mind is that my name should not get spoiled (smiles). I was thinking of the hard work I put in and wanted results for that. I was very confident of my show, but then you just cannot predict anything on TV. According to me, Beyhadh should have been the top-rated show; but it never happened. Yes, I had lot of expectations coming from my family, friends, colleagues and from the industry fraternity. All wished well for my show. Yes, we have managed to get a good opening. I am very happy that we have started on a good note. But there’s no complacency, as we are here to work hard.
Lastly, how much of an importance will you give for ‘experiments’ on TV?
This is a very good question!! Personally speaking, I love to experiment and experiments are very important. However, it is important that you always look at entertainment too when you are experimenting. Beyhadh was an experiment and Maya was entertaining from the very first scene. You need to experiment keeping in mind the entertainment factor. Both need to go hand in hand to attain success.
Prateek, we wish you all the best!!