Let’s start with Prachi Desai. She is quitting Kasamh Seâ€¦
Yeah. Prachi is shooting with us till April 3. The hunt for the new Bani is on.
We all know how television works. There surely must be a window left open for her to come back.
No. Prachi won’t come back in Kasamh Se. The show is undergoing a generation leap. She will have to play a 40-year-old woman if she returns and she wonâ€™t even look 35!
Will you take her in some other Balaji show later?
I don’t know. It depends on whether she will fit the role.
You leave no stone unturned to promote your actors and then they leave you…
My relationship with every actor- be it Prachi Desai or Pulkit Samrat or Smriti Irani- is purely professional. It’s their loss if they don’t understand the power of Balaji Telefilms. Some of them part amicably while some insist on making an ugly situation. Balaji’s doors are closed for those who prefer to leave on a bad note. Take the case of Pulkit. I had no problem with him till he started speaking negatively about us in interviews.
Should you have taken Pulkit’s case so far?
Is it wrong that an employer has an exclusive contract with its employees? Every professional company asks its employees to serve a certain amount of notice period before quitting or else pay up. So why is so much noise made if and when Balaji Telefilms insists on exclusivity? An actor can’t get up one day and just leave a show. It’s unethical and unprofessional. I am not dealing with one actor. There are almost 250 actors who work in Balaji shows. If breaking the contract was so easy, tomorrow everybody will break his or her contract. (Pauses)
It’s just that we have certain stringent policies so that the company runs smoothly. There are 20 actors who have been loyal to us for almost eight years. How will they feel if somebody just waltzes in and out at his own will? Walking into any company should be tough and returning all over again should be tougher- that’s Balaji’s thought process. Our staff shouldn’t take us for granted. Let’s talk something else now. I don’t want to talk anymore on Pulkit. He is too small a fry. For me, he doesn’t even exist. In my personal periphery, I won’t even notice him; he is so short.
But Smriti Irani is coming back to Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi?
No, Smriti is not coming back to Kyunki… For now, I have dropped the idea of getting her back in the show.
You were supposed to make Mahabharat for Star. Now we hear that you will now make the same for some other channel?
I don’t think that I will be making Mahabharat. Yes, I was supposed to make it for Star. But they have now hired some big names like Chandraprakash Dwivedi and Bobby Bedi for Mahabharat,so I changed my plan.
There are reports that there are problems between Balaji and Star?
Balaji and Star have had a very good relationship since the past seven years. We constantly work on it. Of course, a change in management has been a small bump, but it’s not a roadblock that we can’t cross. It took us some time to know the new people at Star but they also are an efficient lot. In fact, Balaji Events will be conducting the channel’s awards this year.
You patched up with Nausheen Ali Sardar, who had left Balaji on a bad note when she refused to age in Kkusum and walked out of the show.
Yeah (smiles). We were planning a special episode of Kuch Is Tarah and everyone said that we must get Nausheen back.
How did that happen? You generally don’t forget and forgive…
Well, Nausheen did that special episode and refused to take any money. So, we sent her a gift and that broke the ice. When you say that I don’t forget and forgive, you make me sound like Saturn’s one and only reincarnation.
What kind of TRPs do Kyunki… and Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii enjoy today?
Last week itself, Kyunki… was the No 1 show on Indian television and this has been the case every week. One needs to understand that there is too much of fragmentation in viewership today. Currently, Kyunkiâ€¦ enjoys a TRP of 6+. Honestly speaking, that’s tougher to get than the 12 which we had two years ago.
How much longer will Kyunkiâ€¦ and Kahaaniâ€¦ go on?
I don’t run shows, the audience does. I will stop these shows the day they stop watching them.
Are you telling me that the audience stopped watching Kasautii Zindagi Kay and that’s why you pulled it off air?
I won’t deny that the TRPs of Kasautiiâ€¦ had gone down quite a bit and moreover, I didn’t have a story to tell.
What are you making for television and films this year?
I am doing a new show for Sony and I am also getting into reality shows in a big way. As for films, we have four films this year- EMI, C-Company, Mission Istanbul, Once Upon a Time and we have also bought the worldwide rights of Sarkar Raj.
Before I forget, Rajeev Khandelwal (who also quit Balaji) said in an interview that if you were to offer him a film, he would say, ‘Thank you, but sorry, I am not interestedâ€¦’
I am terribly depressed. I think that I’ll start crying (laughs).
Report By:Vickey Lalwani