Esteemed Writer and Producer Sonali Jaffar has had an illustrious career, having penned for many successful TV shows like Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii, Phulwa, Pyaar Ka Dard Hai Meetha Meetha Pyaara Pyaara, Krishnadaasi, Tashan-E-Ishq etc. Known for a different style of writing, Sonali and her husband Aamir Jaffar’s journey as Producers (Full House Media) started with Bahu Humari Rajni_Kant, the show that gave Indian TV its first robotic bahu.
The Producer recently launched two shows, Papa By Chance on Star Bharat and Tujhse Hai Raabta on Zee TV.
In an exclusive chit-chat with IWMBuzz.com, Producer Sonali Jaffar talks about her two new launches, its USP and her expectations.
Says Sonali Jaffar, “The two shows Tujhse Hai Raabta and Papa By Chance are set in two different worlds. However, both the shows have an underlying connect with ‘parenting’. I like it when it is a challenge for the writer in me. I don’t think I will ever be happy doing a regular show. Even as a Producer or Writer, I feel good when I am challenged.”
Papa By Chance which features Zebby Singh as lead has received constant comparisons as its concept is similar to the Aamir Khan movie, Hum Hai Raahi Pyaar Ke. Ask Sonali whether this bothers her and she quickly states, “Papa By Chance is definitely not Hum Hai Raahi Pyaar Ke. Everybody feels so, but it is not at all similar. The concept actually brings a smile on a viewer’s face. Nobody can imagine a father or male member being in charge of kids. It is always the women who are the nurturers; they might not have the experience, but nurturing comes naturally to women. It is not the same for men. So we can only think of mayhem when a father is given a chance to take care of children. Also in India, we are looking at a new-age family. The definition of family is changing as we are spreading our wings. Family can be a room mate. Family can be a person who is a close friend. So a family is not necessarily a conventional unit. The telling of the show is also light, and not a life lesson. I think it will resonate with the audience. Also, it does not hurt to see a good looking man at the helm of things (smiles).”
Talking about Zebby’s roping in, Sonali narrates an interesting tale, “I was honestly of the idea of taking in a known name for Yuvaan. It was my dialogue writer who suggested me of Zebby. And when Zebby auditioned, it was a unanimous call to get him on board. He was liked, for he had the needed Delhi accent, general body language etc. But casting for Yuvaan was an uphill task. Every actor in the age group was auditioned. We are glad that the role got offered to Zebby. He is doing a good job. There is no baggage on Zebby and this makes it easier to him.”
Ask her about the average opening of Papa By Chance and she states, “Papa By Chance is a show that will take time to catch up. Having said this, it has doubled the existing ratings of that particular slot. But I am amazed that many kids have come and told me that they love to watch the show. I had not expected children to like the show. The same happened with Bahu Humari Rajni_Kant. Actually I am taken aback to know that Papa is being liked by kids. My shows have never catered to children. So I can say Papa By Chance is ‘audience by chance’ with respect to kids liking it.”
Moving on to Tujhse Hai Raabta, Sonali credits Zee TV for all the freedom given to her to handle the subject. “They have really let me have a lot of freedom on the show. I can say that it is the unpainted version of what I had envisioned. Frankly, channel knows its audience better. Having said this, they have encouraged me to come up with the story I have wanted to tell.”
We were really curious to know why Kalyani, the protagonist of Tujhse Hai Raabta (Reem Shaikh) addressed her mother by name. And this is what Sonali had to say, “One of my sons for the longest time, called me by my name and not as mom. That was because we have been in a nuclear family, with me, my husband and kids. And my son learnt it as a reflex when he saw my husband calling me by my name. So this thought actually remained with me. And when I was developing Kalyani, I thought that when a family does not have the elders like grandparents, children learn what they see. They are like sponges; tend to absorb what they see. In the same way, I wanted to give this approach to Kalyani. And as she has said in a sequence, ‘Madhuri main Maa hai’. So we wanted to show how liberal a family she comes from. She comes from a new-age family, who did not want to bind her within rules.”
Kalyani, the protagonist of Sonali’s Zee TV show does not come across as the usual heroine. Reem is doing a great job in the character. “Kalyani is my heroine. She might be a brat, spoilt, but she is lovable. She might not have the nuances of a heroine, but her heart is in the right place. As a character, I really love her. Reem has given life to the character very nicely. Today’s youngsters are very confused, having been given all kinds of facilities in life. There are all kinds of distractions. The value system inside a house is different, while the world outside is different. And Reem portrays it very aptly.”
Sonali also goes on to narrate a very interesting story about Reem. “When Reem initially came for audition, she had a lot of chubbiness on her face. She was not selected. She immediately knew that her weight came in the way of her getting the role. She went back and worked on her body. She lost a lot of weight. Meanwhile, we had been auditioning for Kalyani for nearly two months and were still not successful. At this time, Reem came back again and when she came, within a matter of a nano-second, we knew we had our Kalyani in her.”
“For Anupriya, we needed someone who will be the apt foil to her. We were looking for the right person. We had almost zeroed in on another actor, but then all of a sudden Poorva Gokhale came into the picture. Actually, Poorva had been out of sight. We were keen on getting a person like her. The character has a weird combination; it has to be strong as well as meek. She had to tell this child off and also let the child have the final word. She had to be the best of both worlds. Also Poorva has a great voice quality and she had to be our Anupriya,” Sonali adds.
Looking forward, Sonali says, “I am glad that audience has appreciated both the shows. I hope we sustain and grow in ratings. We are sure to put in our best.”
Ask Sonali whether she will venture into the web platform to create something different and she is quick to say, “I have always got my opportunities to do something different on TV. It is not that TV has not given me that liberty to work on varied concepts. So I need not look for a new medium to get my freedom. Having said this, if at all I need to venture into the digital world, we will prefer to join hands with Ekta Kapoor’s ALTBalaji. Ekta provides a great training ground, and whatever I have learnt in my career has been from that space. So I will want to learn the art of making content for the web from her again.”
Wish you and your team all the luck, Producer!!