Published on Wednesday, 04 July 2012 10:58
Written by Kiran Arora
Creativity has to somewhere be clearly reined in by budgets - Ekta Kapoor Part 2
There is one thing you can’t miss after you’ve left the Balaji premises and start to wonder about Ekta Kapoor. No, I’m not talking about her confidence, I am talking about her values – ‘Keep your word, work hard and treat others with respect’. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that she brings modesty, dedication and reputation for herself and her production house. Ekta is one of the very few people in Bollywood who is thoroughly and immediately adored by almost everyone with whom she comes into contact with. So immediately after the interview got over, I hugged her. What’s more, even though she wasn’t in the best of health, Ekta was in an upbeat mood. The videos of ‘Dil Garden Garden’
and ‘Shirt Ka Button
’ garnered an unprecedented attention on the social networking sites. One of Ekta’s endearing qualities is the sense that, even though she is the busiest woman in Bollywood, there’s part of her that is still a little girl who wished every Sunday is a quick trip to wonderland – her nearby multiplex where she watches movies with her friends. Everytime she watches a movie, it’s a learning experience for her as a producer and as a viewer. No wonder she redefines the rules each time Balaji announces a movie. How Ekta Kapoor does it seems to come down to a combination of organization, boundary-setting, and formidable will. If she sets her mind on it, Ekta could do anything – how about President of India? Ekta Kapoor on the ‘Khans’, Sakshi Tanwar, Riteish and Tusshar, the budgets, the sitcoms and her most ambitious tie up ever – Balaji and Dharma in this Part 2 special!
Let me begin by asking you, will Balaji ever work with any of the ‘Khans’?
Of course (excited). Well, it’s one of those milestones you want to cross at any point of your career. If you have a film production house or a studio and you don’t work with the ‘Khans’, it’s quite embarrassing. We are looking at approaching the ‘Khans’ in the near future. But as I said, no relationship can be built without having something that we can put on the table. We are three years old. We clearly know what they can put on the table. We need to know our strengths and then be able to shake hands with the best.
Do you think most films fail at the BO because they are wrongly budgeted?
As a producer, my first aim is to budget a movie properly. People eat into their own budgets because of their inefficiencies and that causes a film to go downhill. You need to be very good in numbers. Creativity has to somewhere be clearly reined in by the budgets and the business acumen. If not, it will fall short in reaching the end of the race. I should reach the safety line, so should my director. My director should have a hit at the end of the day and if he is working on the creativity aspect, I have to make sure that the budgets are in place.
Creativity has to somewhere be clearly reined in by budgets - Ekta Kapoor Part 2Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum is coming seven years after its predecessor. You wished you had released earlier?
I really don’t know whether I should’ve released Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum
earlier. I was doing other things back then. I know it’s a long time since Kyaa Kool Hain Hum
was released too but I guess it just happened that the right script fell in my lap. I mean, it was definite that when I re-launched our Balaji banner with Alt Entertainment, I never wanted Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum
to be the first three movies to come out of the production house. This is the right time to be honest.
Do you watch sitcoms?
I used to watch a lot of sitcoms. I guess I’ve outgrown them. I don’t watch any of the Family Guy
, etc. I just watch How I Met Your Mother
. I love Californication
. I watch a lot of Mad Men
and Game Of Thrones
. I am now recommended to watch Magic City
by Rajat Arora and Tanveer, the two men who supply me with the daily dose of American sitcoms. But my favourite of all is Dexter
. I love him and he is coming back. I also love Shameless
and sometimes catch Pretty Little Liars
. My favourite show is coming back called True Blood
. I like to finish the entire season of the sitcom and then get into the other. So there’s lots to catch up on you see.
The last time I met you, you told me you were interested in writing scripts too. What’s happening on that front?
At this present moment, I am not interested in writing a script. I enjoy ideating and sitting across the table working on the scripts that my writers are writing.
Tusshar and Riteish – two mad men in one film. It’s like getting a laughter attack. How have you seen their potential in the comic genre?
Tusshar Kapoor and Riteish Deshmukh, they alone have been a part of some 400 to 500 crores as far as comedy films go. They both have done some hit comedies over the last decade. Tusshar with his Golmaal
series and more and Riteish with his Heyy Babyy, Housefull
and more. Now they are known in that genre as ‘comic boys’. I don’t think people realise the potential of bringing both of them in one film. I always tell them that together they are dynamite. Kya Kool Hain Hum
, their first film together created historic numbers that time. It had no publicity back then like how we do now but still it clearly showed the potential of having these two together. We can’t create the same magic just like that. So we created fresher brands and then bring in the old brand and get the recall value.
Creativity has to somewhere be clearly reined in by budgets - Ekta Kapoor Part 2Do you wish to take rights from an American or a British sitcom and turn it into a fully fledged Indian sitcom like Anil Kapoor is doing for the series 24 he starred in?
I don’t want to take rights of any sitcoms from America to make it Indianised on the television. American soaps are too aspirational for an average Indian television viewer with lavish sets and production values. We as Indians actually need certain connect with our stories in India and the characters within. That’s why Indian television is gaining prominence. Connect only comes from identification or aspiration. If you don’t have any one of the two, you are in trouble. As of now, we are not ready.
Sakshi Tanwar is such an amazing actress. Do you think it’s time for her to jump from television to movies?
I am thinking of getting Sakshi Tanwar in movies soon. I want her to do a strong role in any of the ensemble movies that I will be making soon. I think Ram is already doing films with YRF and a brilliant role in Karan Johar’s next. I am going to be doing some super stuff with both of them. They are one of the few actors that connect with the classes and the masses.
With so much being talked about the most ambitious co-production to take place in Bollywood between your company and Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, what’s the latest on the lead pair?
The casting of Dharma Productions and Balaji’s co-production is brilliant. It’s the most unexpected casting. Karan Johar will be taking the final call soon. It’s a fabulous positioning for any boy and any girl. Let me tell you that the heroine is the hero of the film and the hero is the anti-hero of the film. Today if I had to see a Deewar
, instead of seeing it between Shashiji and Amitabh Bachchan, I’d see it between a man and a woman. As of now, we are concentrating on the scripting of the film and Karan will announce the lead actors soon.
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