Rahul Kumar Tewary, known to be one of the strong pillars of Swastik Pictures along with brother Siddharth Kumar Tewary, has now associated with good friend Saba Mumtaz to give the audience an exciting saas-bahusaga in Meri Saasu Maa for Zee TV.
Here is the talented man in conversation with wherein he talks about his new show, his association with Saba, on the trends seen in TV and much more…
Tell us about the diversification route that Swastik Pictures has taken with this new association.
Well, this is not a diversification, as we all still belong to the same industry. Saba has been a very good friend, and is like family. We have known each other for a good 7-8 years. She’s been the writer for many of the Swastik Pictures shows, the recent ones being Razia Sultan and Manmarziyaan at some point of time.
How different is this setup when compared to Swastik Pictures.
Obviously, this is a completely different setup. Siddharth is not involved in this association, and that is how it was planned. I completely believe in Saba’s credentials. Every writer has got a comfort factor, and Saba is great in whatever she does. This is certainly an added bonus to bring in variety.
So does Saba hold onus to all the creative calls?
Yes, Saba is the Creative Producer / Director. We do things together of course, but I would personally want the onus to be on Saba.
What are the kind of genres that you as a team will want to try?
Actually, it is a open counter for us, and we will do any kind of genre that will suit us. Creatively, every person has his / her own individuality. So whatever Saba is comfortable in, we will take it up.
What according to you is the USP of Meri Saasu Maa?
The concept in itself, is the USP. If you understand the story, you will see that it is all about a girl who longs to get motherly love, and how she wishes to get a mother in her mother-in-law. Usually, a mother-in-law is seen in a kind of a negative fashion, and the story proves how a girl aspires to have a beautiful mother in her mother-in-law.
Everything in life does not come to us easily. So when this girl will eventually get married and come to the household, she will realize that her mother-in-law is strict and not as per her dreams. The manner in which she will come to terms with reality, and then go on to strike a fruitful relationship with her mother-in-law will form the crux of the story. Our show is a complete package, with lot of elements like high-pitched drama, comedy etc.
Talk us about your lead character, Pari?
Pari if you see, is a nice strong and confident girl who has her own ambitions and goals set for life. The best part about her is that she has her own strict point of view to everything. So once the clash inside the house starts, and she comes face to face with her strict mother-in-law, she will of course hold to her own decisions. The show will have its own ups and downs, thus proving to be a package.
Are you happy with the time slot of 7.30 PM?
In today’s time, every time slot is competitive. Yes, it is a challenge for me as well, to make a given slot the perfect slot. Having said this, I believe that there is nothing called a perfect time slot. When you make a show, you need to be ready for all sort of challenges, and that includes the given time slot as well.
The recent trend in the TV industry is all about super naturals, daayans and naagins. What is your take on it.
See, the acceptance for a saas-bahu saga will never fade. This present trend is a fag. Yes, shows with supernatural elements, naagin and what not is doing well today. I believe this is just a phase, which will come and go. This will be followed by something else that will start doing well. All depends on the way in which we tell our story. As makers, we have to live up to what we have worked on, do our best, say the best story and move on.
You have had a vast career in the industry. What are the aspects that you look into when you work on a new show?
TV is getting competitive by the day. There have been lot of changes in the kind of programming that people preferred to see now when compared to few years back. The motivating aspect is that broadcasters are today ready to experiment on something new. They are happy to invest their time, money and energies on newer experiments. See for example, Ashoka which is a historical is doing well, so is a Hanuman and Karn which are mythologicals, and at the same time, shows like Saathiya, Meri Saasu Maa are also there. Earlier, there was little scope for trial and error, as broadcasters would not see beyond a saas bahu saga. Now, they are open to differentiated content, and the situation will only get better with time.
Agreed, but there is always a risk of producers being at a loss if the show wraps up within few months.
Yes, it is getting very difficult as well. I believe that the broadcasters need to be more patient, after the production works on a particular project for nearly 8-10 months to bring a show on air. It is not only the monetary loss, but also the loss of so much of effort put in to construct the show. In such cases, if a show wraps up within few months, justice is certainly not made. Also TV is an evolving business and we cannot make the same shows that worked 10 years back. Everything has seen a change starting from the content, to the work pattern to the costumes. Producers need to be at the top of their game to understand the nerve and pulse of the customers. After all, a show comes on air after a lot of research. So broadcasters need to put on with it, have a lot of patience to see results. Having said this, all this is business, and everything works as per the TRP game.
TRP… So what do you think about today’s rating system?
The fact is that the current BARC system is evolving itself. Lot of changes will happen in the near future, and the first effort for the betterment has happened with TAM joining BARC. We have not got complete clarity of the ratings system yet. It will take 8 months to 1 year for us to get a clear picture. But yes, with TAM joining hands with BARC, things look bright. After all, TAM has been in the market for long, and in the near future, we will get a better sample of data.
Your fresh find on the show, Meri Saasu Maa, Anindita Kapileshwari as Maa Sahab is the best part of your show.
(smiles) Yes, she is a new find. But lets accept it, she comes with a lot of experience in the Bengali circuit. When we approached her for the show, she was busy working in three shows in Kolkata. And when she decided to get on board, she quit the shows and came to Mumbai. The casting for this character did not come in easily. We held auditions all over India, and found Anindita in Kolkata. Though we liked her, the show went into a gestation phase, wherein we had to wait. However, we kept in touch with her, and when we got a green signal for the show, we touched base with her again and got her on board.
So being part of both Swastik and Mumtaz Saba, how are you managing to juggle between all shows?
It is hectic, but such is life, isn’t it? That is exactly what I had decided to go through. It is taxing for sure, as we can work only for a X amount of time in a day. With more work comes in lot of responsibilities. This is what I like to do. I want to create more content, and the pressure is acceptable.
What are the immediate goals of Mumtaz Saba Productions?
Well, the first thing is to wait patiently to know the outcome of the first week this Thursday (smiles). We want to ensure we have made the right start. As an entity, our goal will be to get more work and make more content, approach various other broadcasters, and have more shows on air.