Sony TV top boss gets into an absorbing chat with IndianWikiMedia…

The Danish Khan Interview

Nostalgia finds a new meaning every time Kaun Banega Crorepati hits TV screens. Its season 9 will roll out from 28 August on Sony TV, again embarking on a euphoric journey replete with aspiration, palette of emotions and of course, the dream to win and make it big.

The stage was set and excitement was brimming as journos from different publications took a seat under one roof during KBC 9 press launch. KBC episode one opener scene nips at your heart & mind, tugs at your emotions and also makes you think on certain pertinent societal notional, conventional blots.

Bachchan saab and top bosses of Sony namely NP Singh, Ashish Golwalkar, Danish Khan and producer Siddharth Basu set the tone rather impressively, engaging with the present scribes, answering queries with creative might and wit, exuding sense of confidence and restrained excitement for a project which the entire nation is proud of.

Post the conference, when the media frenzy relaxed to catch a breath, we met up with Danish Khan. After a flurry of interview sessions, taking a volley of questions, Danish seemed more thrilled than tired. And why not? Since his advent in Sony, the channel has seen a definite pep up in spirit and popularity.

“Yaar, thora bahar jaake baat kar lete hai…(let’s take a walk and talk)…Danish told IndianWikiMedia after exchange of business cards. He wanted to relax and continue the conversation.

Solemn in demeanour, Danish, a self made man, is a doyen in the space of Indian television. Having shaped the content core of leading channels over the years, he is on a mission to revolutionize programming philosophy in Sony. He is someone who knows the weight of the last words, and his last words to us, “If you have a vision, come to us, Sony TV will back you.” A clear communicator, Danish reflects a sense of purpose. Here’s the excerpt from the conversation we had with Executive Vice President & Business Head, Sony Entertainment Television. Mr Danish Khan. A must read…

IndianWikiMedia: We understand it’s a KBC press conference. But we have to begin by asking about the ongoing Pehredaar Piya Ki controversy. What went wrong with the show?

Danish: (thinks a bit) Nothing went wrong really. It takes time for television soaps to open up in terms of its core plot. Pehredaar’s real story would have eventually shaped up. However, there were reactions to the promo, which we are aware of. We respect and abide by the decision of Broadcast Content Complaints Council (BCCC) and have changed the time slot. I would like to say that our intentions have been and always will be right, pure and in interest of the society.

IndianWikiMedia: The story is supposed to take a premature leap…

Danish: It will take a leap but certainly not a premature one. As per the script and timelines, the story will progress.

IndianWikiMedia: Point taken…talking about KBC, you mentioned about the show finding its roots in the society. Can you elaborate a bit?

Danish: This season we are celebrating the heroes of the society, people who have made a difference via their valour and hardwork. This time the span is of 30 episodes and we will not have film promotions. Tapping on rapid technological advancements in digital age, we have also imbibed some interesting features. Mr Bachchan, as usual, is phenomenal in his craft. KBC shares a strong bond with the masses and the society and the show is a reflection of Indian aspiration. Season 9 will be entertaining and engaging.

(PS: Some of the new features in the show are:

New lifeline: A new lifeline Jodidaar has been introduced this year wherein the participant can bring along a partner to join them on the hot seat.

 Video-a-Friend: The famous Phone-a-Friend lifeline has been replaced by Video-a-Friend. Now, the contestants on the hot seat will not just be able to talk to their friend but will also be able to see them through video call.

Digital transfer of prize money: Earlier winners were given life-size cheques, which will now be replaced with digital currency transferred directly into winner’s account.

Limited episodes: KBC 9 will have limited number of episodes, which will consist of 30 to 35 episodes. The makers want the show to be crisp as they want KBC to be an annual show.

Play along feature: KBC 9 viewers will have the chance to play along with the contestants on the hot seat through Jio TV’s Play Along feature. The Jio TV subscribers will be able to see the question along with its four options, as it is asked to the contestant on the show. With this feature the show will become more inclusive and will increase viewer engagement (courtesy: India Today)

IndianWikiMedia: From the time you started leading Sony, there seems to be a new exuberance amidst all?

Danish (laughs): Thank you…let me explain. I have always believed in building the right team. End of the day we all are humans and we all are working with people. An ambience must be created where people can express freely and ideas can be shared without fear. You must be bold enough to think big and act accordingly. At Sony, we are an ambitious, enthusiastic, motivated, committed team.

IndianWikiMedia: Indeed inspiring words… but what about the fiction show Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi. It’s off air news has created a social media uproar?

Danish: I am aware of it. It was a finite series and was meant to end in July. KBC plans got a bit pushed hence it got extended a bit. Having said that, we are proud of the project.

IndianWikiMedia: Fair enough…KBC is a licensed format. We would like to know from you, why don’t Indian creators come up with more indigenous non-fiction formats?

Danish: We did Super Dancer, which opened to a huge response. It is an indigenous format and is set to travel the world. Yes, there is a room for lot many and I am sure more such shows will be made in near future.

IndianWikiMedia: There is always an ongoing debate and discussion on digital vs television content and what will eventually last in the long run. Your expert comment would help us understand the scenario better…

Danish: Tell me what is one of the most watched shows on web? You would be surprised it’s The Kapil Sharma Show. See, technology is evolving and we are keeping a tab of it. On the web the content which gets maximum consumed is created by the Indian television industry. Yes, apart from television now people watch on digital as well, but we are content creators and irrespective of the platform, our content is getting watched, which is what matters. In KBC 9 too, to ensure more engagement we have imbibed features like Play along, Video a friend…so we are finding a synergy between the traditional and digital medium.

(Gets a got-to-rush call…)

IndianWikiMedia: Before summing up, there is palpable excitement regarding Sony TV’s most ambitious show Porus. There is a buzz that its budget is as high as Rs 1 crore per episode. It’s set to redefine the skyline of Indian television…

 Danish: Well, we definitely hope so. Sid (Siddharth Tewary of Swastik) is a visionary and a hardworking person. When he narrated the story to us, we knew it would need solid backing. I knew he could deliver in terms of scale as we had worked together for the show Mahabharat. He has been working on Porus since the last one and a half year and it’s shaping well. It is expected to hit screens in November this year. As I say, if you have a vision, come to us, Sony TV will back it.

With this epiphanic final words, Danish bid us adieu, mingling and chatting with his fellow colleagues, gearing up for the challenges ahead. We wish the master maverick a great run ahead. Do tune in to KBC and other shows on Sony Entertainment Television.

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