Doris Dey Producer of Coldd Lassi aur Chicken Masala has had a successful reign as the Creative Director behind many successful Balaji Telefilms shows. Doris later went on to successfully launch the channel &TV and tasted success being part of the broadcaster’s team.
Now Doris Dey has come up with her first work as Producer with the ALTBalaji series, Coldd Lassi aur Chicken Masala.
In an exclusive conversation with IWMBuzz.com Doris talks about her journey in the entertainment industry and her vision as Producer.
From being the setup creative person for successful daily to launching a GEC to turning Producer, how has your journey been in this industry?
It has been very smooth, fulfilling and very enriching… every time I start something new, I feel like a newcomer, that there is so much to learn and so much left to do and so many talented people out there to work with. One life is too short for all this, but we do try to make maximum of it.
Every time I have approached a love story, I have tried to find a new angle or dimension or perspective to it.
You are known to have specialized in creating love stories. And Coldd Lassi is not different. Take us through the experience you have had with the romantic genre?
I think love stories are the staple diet of every human being, especially us women. The real life doesn’t nourish our heart enough, so we depend upon books and reel life. Every time I have approached a love story, I have tried to find a new angle or dimension or perspective to it. just for example… In Bade Acche Lagte Hain, it was about two independent middle aged people from very different world, but having a vacuum inside them. Not everyone is lucky enough to find love in their prime years, and accepting and adjusting to a new person becomes more and more difficult with age. In Pavitra Rishta, it was about coming together of two innocent and very good hearted people. Two people who dedicated their life to make others happy but longed for that one person who would love them unconditionally .If one is from lower middle class, life is occupied by abundance of struggle and problems, and one doesn’t have lot of resources and time to express love. But for a fairy tale romance, you don’t need palace and stars, you just need two loving hearts who are willing to do what is necessary for one another. Similarly in every creation of mine, I have always tried to find possibility of a love story in new places, newer people, varied situations. Love is possible anywhere, what is needed is a deep desire for it.
You have had a long career. Why did you becoming Producer not come earlier?
I have always had offers to turn into a producer. But to be frank I was always scared of it because being a Producer brings lot of added responsibility viz. managing finance, people management, production. I feared that those responsibilities would take me far away from doing my creative work which is something I love .However now that I have finished making Coldd Lassi aur Chicken Masala, I am glad I finally took up the mantle.
If along with tears we could bring smile and laughter to people with Coldd Lassi aur Chicken Masala, I think we have achieved what we had set out to do.
How about showcasing your magic on TV again, this time as Producer?
TV screen is now just a delivery medium. But I am guessing you meant a ‘daily format’. I personally love the daily format, because it gives you more hours to tell the same story. It helps us in deep diving and exploring every nuance and layering of the characters, story and the world. Its more exhaustive, its more laborious and its not easy. And I love it. I can never be far from it. Hopefully will share some good news very soon.
Tell us about the work involved in creating a series like Coldd Lassi aur Chicken Masala?
We started with the one line idea of ‘a man cheating on his wife and then meeting each other after a gap of years’. The genesis of the story has a lot of sadness in it, but we asked ourselves that ‘why can’t it be fun and entertaining rather than being typically morose’. We wanted people to feel good and positive while watching the series. With this mindset we approached creating the characters, scenes, visuals, backdrop. We also wanted the series to be beautiful in every aspect of it, in complete contrast to the inner world of our protagonists. And it wasn’t easy at all, but we were able to create a team which believed in this approach. If along with tears we could bring smile and laughter to people, I think we have achieved what we had set out to do.
Food is not just limited to satisfy our taste buds, but it also brings along lots of memories.
Why did you choose a culinary setup as your basic premise?
Me and Ekta, we both love romance and food. The series needed to showcase two people who are independent and successful in their career. But we also wanted a strong connect between their professional life and their romantic life. And the magic of good food and true love, can only be created from our hearts. And food is not just limited to satisfy our taste buds, but it also brings along lots of memories. This show needed a device which could help us seamlessly go into the memories that our protagonists once shared. So that’s how romance and food came together, and we had never done it before, so it was exciting and very challenging. Bring this magic alive on screen was a huge challenge. We didn’t have budgets of a movie, yet we didn’t want to compromise on it anyway. We went all out from roping in chefs during the scripting process, to training our main leads. I was lucky to get Nitin as the food stylist, he had earlier worked on the movie “cheeni kum’. And then we couldn’t find any live location that matched my vision and requirements, so we constructed set for everything. Together with Pradeep dada I am glad we could create this world.
How was it to be associated with Rajeev and Divyanka. How did you choose them to be your leads?
It was an amazing experience working with both of them. They both are powerhouse of talent and thorough professionals. Apart from being good looking, the characters required a certain age, grace, maturity, dignity and intensity. Me and Ekta have always preferred to create a new pairing, and luckily Rajeev and Divyanka were our first options and we were lucky to be able to bring them together. I wrote the characters keeping them in mind ,its a added advantage for any creator because then we can add more layers and nuances to the script, keeping in mind their personalities and their strengths. And my conviction in them as an on-screen couple became stronger with each passing day, as we rehearsed scenes with them, worked on their nuances and looks. Even before we had started shooting with them, I was sure that they would be brilliant together. As a writer we have a certain vision, and the characters that we wrote for this show were very complex. And Rajeev and Divyanka have beautifully portrayed them . They also worked very hard on their looks , we had to achieve two distinct looks showing them at different stages in their life, I am very thankful to them for that .Casting is the key for any show, especially romantic genre as chemistry between the lead pair is the driving factor. One thing I can say on record, that there is no one better than Ekta when it comes to get the casting right.
Every time I have worked with her, she has always trusted me and given me complete freedom, which makes this association enjoyable and satisfying.
Ekta and Balaji and you have had a long journey together. How was it to team up with Ekta again?
It’s always a delight and privilege to work with Ekta. She is a powerhouse of creativity, always full of ideas. She understands masses like very few. You always learn something new from her. Every time I have worked with her, she has always trusted me and given me complete freedom, which makes this association enjoyable and satisfying.
Your every character in Coldd Lassi is enduring. Tell us about that?
Don’t we all love a good platter! It’s always been my belief that entertainment needs to be wholesome. Even though our stories focus on main leads, but if we don’t support it with the right surrounding, it will always be incomplete. And everything and everyone on screen needs to have a defined purpose, and they should complement one another. Even though the show’s genesis was about a man cheating on his wife, we didn’t want the sadness to cast a dark shadow on the show. We wanted the show to have a lot of positivity and vibrancy. We wanted to show different shades of love and relationships. With Tanvi [Madhu Sneha] and Kyzad [Mrinal Dutt], I wanted audience to enjoy a young, quirky, yet real romance, something diametrically different to Vikram-Nitya’s mature romance. Similarly with Manira [Saloni Khanna] we wanted to address impatient and headstrong couples who get separated over small disagreements; while Revati [Manini Mishra] represents the happily married woman running a business and being able to balance the both. Karan [Priyanshu Chatterjee] is happily divorced and a single father, who is silently in love with Nitya and is someone who keeps her sanity alive; and with Seema [Barkha Bisht] we wanted to explore that love and morality have no connection with one another. Seema’s role was even tougher because I strongly felt even if she was the woman with whom Vikram had cheated on ,she is not a negative or bad person, she is very human as per me . I wanted someone with beauty & grace to play the character and Barkha has done a wonderful job .The characters have short presence because of limited screen time in the first season, but they have to be conceived well, so that we can explore them in later seasons. And if one doesn’t write these characters well, how do you convince such amazing actors to play them. And I am very thankful to each and every one of the actors to grace this show. We worked very hard in achieving distinct look , mannerisms for each character . Each actor has portrayed their character to the ‘T’ in this show . I feel blessed about that .And we will create more magic together in later seasons.
What do you think is the perfect formula for success in making a show?
Hard work and conviction in your vision .Don’t let anyone change it or let you think otherwise.
How does it feel to become a Producer after all the hard work you have put in?
It was a tough journey. There were many hurdles on the way, some I expected, some caught me by surprise. But I think all’s well that ends well … So yes right now I feel like a proud mother of her baby.
Our Mantra is great characters, relevant stories, engaging storytelling and superior production quality.
What are the genres you will like to work on in the near future?
Crime, Historical dramas, Sitcom are something that I am already working towards…. The idea is to bring a new perspective and redefine the existing storytelling…
What can we expect next from Linga Bhairavi Devi Productions?
Our Mantra is great characters, relevant stories, engaging storytelling and superior production quality. To bring our vision alive, we are collaborating with talents from across the mediums, be it TV, Films or advertising; so that we use our collective experience and expertise to create great content. The future is filled with opportunities and challenges, and we want to offer something new with every content that we produce.