MUMBAI: Some producers are known not only for conjuring great shows but also for who they are. One such producer is Binaifer Kohli, who along with husband Sanjay Kohli heads Edit II, a production house that has offered us path-breaking comedies like Family No. 1, one of the top ranked shows in Asia. Their rib-tickling comedies like FIR and Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai and their latest offering Jijaji Chhat Per Hai have rocked TRP charts. Binaifer is more than just a successful producer.
Read on to know more about the boss lady, who is a stickler for punctuality, a writer, and a philanthropist.
Jab We Met
I was barely 16 when I started my career as a fashion choreographer for the Bombay Dyeing Navy Ball. Not many people know that I was a model too. It was during those days that I met Sanjay Kohli, who was a model with a creative edge. Sanjay has done campaigns for top brands including Palmolive, McDonalds Whisky, Siyaram, Coke, and Pepsi. We got along, and there are many firsts to our credit. We were the first to launch Porsche and the perfume Pleasures by Estée Lauder in Dubai. We got our first crack at production when we took a few of ZEE TV’s shows to Dubai for their launch event. These events helped us garner experience, and we subsequently forayed into production. That’s how Edit II was born.
My team, my hero
God has been very kind; he has rewarded all our hard work. My team is very nice, and the actors are professional, which is the key to success. One person can’t make a show, and I have a brilliant team. It’s all about teamwork. Apart from the cast and story, the technical team members are our heroes; they have stood by us through thick and thin. Some of them have been with us for over 20 years. Come heaven or hell, they keep my show going. Each of my stars is a great actor and a wonderful human being. Their nature is reflected in their conduct with their technical team and how they take care of their parents. My writer Manoj Santosh and my director Shashank Bali started with us 10 years ago, and we are like a family. My cameraman Rajadada has worked with us for the last 25 years. I love my team!
Casting and making comedies
I think both processes are very intuitive. We never go with names; instead, we go with somebody who fits the character. Like when we were casting for FIR, we already had a known name, but we were still auditioning; then, Kavita Kaushik came along. The character was that of a Maharashtrian, and she said, ‘I don’t have that Marathi tone, I can’t do it.’ Sanjay is a master at character casting. He said, ‘Let’s give a shot.’ She tried, and he said, ‘That’s our heroine.’ The show lasted 10 years. She was brilliant in it, and she is a lovely girl. Similarly, Neha Pendse did May I Come in Madam after she had done a child role in Hasratein. Shubhangi Atre, Saumya Tandon, Hiba Nawab, Asifji Rohitashji, and Sandeep Anand are fabulous people; so are Neha and Kavita. I have worked with professional artists. I expect them only to come on time and do good work. Sanjay is not just a producer but also the Creative Producer. He is a part of every episode’s scripting and editing. We have all the editing equipment in our office, because he wants to see each episode’s edit.
Creating a new cult through Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai
I expected it to become a big hit, but this is as if God himself has blessed it. Every character that you add becomes a part of the family, and Jijaji Chhat Par Hai is working in precisely the same way. Penning a comedy is a task. Your focus here is to work on one emotion and repetitively generate humour. And yes, we have done that through Bhabiji.
My family no. 1
We are hands-on parents to two kids. Our mothers are the biggest strengths. They helped us tremendously to achieve everything. Both of our mothers became widows at a very young age. They have been the men in our lives. We don’t want to take on too much work and want to maintain an excellent work–life balance.
Friends form the industry
It’s a very friendly industry. My all-time favourite person is Ekta Kapoor. She is a wizard and a master storyteller, but to me, she is one of the most exceptional human beings. I admire her both professionally and personally. She is always there to help everyone. She is that true 4 AM friend.
Zee is close to my heart. It is like my baby because we did the launch event. And now, we have Bhabiji; they trusted us with it completely and supported all our decisions.
Sanjay prefers to take less and selective work, as he likes to be in control of his projects. He is a wonderful human being, in fact, the best I have encountered.
Did you know?
Edit II rewards hard work by promoting their team members.
It is one of the few production houses that wraps up shoots by 9 PM and believes that there is life beyond work.
They give 8 consecutive days of leave to the entire unit, which is unheard in the industry