Rajan Shahi: Negativity did not work in Bidaai

Rajan Shahi, Producer of Sapna Babul Ka.. Bidaai and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai in a frank tete-tete with Telly Buzz, addresses the queries put forward by the loyal fans of India-Forums on his shows.

Over to Rajan Shahi..

Viewers are pretty annoyed that the beautiful bond between the sisters in Bidaai is broken. Your thoughts on this.
See, this particular track of the rift between sisters was decided on the first day of the show itself. We have not changed the track all of a sudden to bring in the drama quotient. But I hope that the audience sees the larger picture that will come out of this rift. Basically, where there is lot of love, there is room for some sort of friction. They will now see how love between them grows bigger. In reality too, there arise certain situations where real love comes to the fore after facing testing times, and this love is stronger and gets cemented for life.

The USP of your shows has been that there is literally no ‘Negativity’ in them. But with the sisters’ rift, you have shown exactly that.
Yes, I have to admit that viewers like to see positivity in both my shows, Bidaai and Yeh Rishta. I am happy that audience understands it and rejects negativity. But this negativity factor in Bidaai was not intended, as I said before. We tried to show that even the best of relationships have to go thro’ the worst of misunderstandings. In case of Ragini, where there is so much of love, there comes lot of anger and she is the one who feels the hurt more. Having said this, I have to accept that this track between the sisters has not worked for us; this has been a lesson to me and my creative team and I can say that we have emerged stronger with this learning curve.

Viewers feel that while Sadhana has always been shown as the sacrificing one, Ragini’s character has been sidelined, and in fact ruined to suit the present track.
See, the intention has always been to show the stories of both the sisters. But I agree that we have shown many tracks wherein Sadhana is the driving force in the story while Ragini is shown just reacting to situations. But I would want to tell the loyal viewers that this has been the story of two sisters ever since its launch and it continues to be the same even now. The current episodes of the Nrity Natray Mahotsav is very important to the story line. They work as a catalyst in bringing the sisters together again.

So can we understand that the sisters will reunite soon.
Yes, the process towards their reunion has surely begun. How it happens will be very interesting.

We have heard that you have a new creative team in place for Bidaai. Why was the decision to dump the old team taken?
See, the creatives from the production house always work in collaboration with the channel creatives on shows. So it’s always a combined decision when it comes to the story, screenplay, look and costume. In between, I was not happy with the creative team of my company, and decided to remove them overnight. I was not happy with their performance, and with the entry of our new creative team, the presentation has already seen a difference, which viewers might have observed.

Take us thro’ your new creative team.
We now have Ritu Goel who was earlier part of BAG Films as the Script Supervisor for our Company. She takes all major decisions in Bidaai from the Company side, while Garima Dingri is our other Creative who works along with the channel on story tracks. Garima manages Yeh Rishta too. I am happy with the team right now, and the channel is giving us all the support that is possible.

There is a buzz that Bidaai might end very soon, and your new show might take up the slot of Bidaai on star Plus.
We really hope that Bidaai goes for long. It is an important show for Star Plus, and it is our flagship show too. It was with Bidaai that the foundation to our company was laid. As of now, the channel has no plans to shut the show. And as you already know, we had got an extension of a year which will run till the end of this year.

What is the message Bidaai is trying to show? Is it that beautiful people often face more hurdles, or that dark people are not rational enough, or it is a curse to be an orphan?
When we started the show, we wanted to show that beauty in fact becomes a curse, and also how the dark complexion can mar the inner good qualities of a person. But we have progressed much more beyond this concept, and the focus now is on the two sisters and their families, their journies together and the bond they share. Also , the focus will be on how their love helps them and their family.

We have heard that there are two of your shows coming, one on Star Plus and the other on Sony.
Things are still being worked out, and are at a very premature stage. But yes, I am again on a lookout for fresh faces.

Is it true that Kunal Verma has been selected for one of your shows?
Kunal is one of the few actors I have interacted with for roles in future. He is very enterprising and a nice actor too. He is one of the few actors who in spite of doing a show looks really fresh. We have spoken to him, but nothing is concrete as of now.

Your fans want you to direct a light hearted romantic story, something like Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahi.
I would love to do something like this. But the swing these days is going towards over-the-top drama. To tell you, I myself get bogged down when I see negativity around, so if I get a chance with any channel to show something light, I will surely take it up.

When are you planning to start the shoot for the movie with Parul Chauhan and Kinshuk Mahajan?
For us, our first priority will always be Bidaai. Having said this, our Company has been working on scripts for films, but nothing has been officially decided till now. It will surely take its course of time, and we will see how it develops.

What are the future plans of Directors Kut?
We are planning on expanding our company. I have always been interested in handling events, so aim to start with event management. Over the years, my company has gathered quite a lot of good will, and I think this will provide a good platform for us, when we start concentrating on events.

Your biggest distinction and USP has been that you DO NOT indulge in the typical saas-bahu storylines, where we see innumerable marriages, dozens of affairs introduced to destroy the love life of the main characters. So why did you bring in a Mallika angle to Alekh and Sadhana story?
Mallika has not been shown to be a negative or a one dimensional character at all. She is realistic from her own angle. She sees Alekh to be a bright, good looking guy. She comes from a different back ground, and has the arrogant behaviour which changed after she got in touch with Alekh. She does not have over-the-top reactions; she is not a black character and this is how we have presented her. Looking from her perspective, she is also bright and is enterpirising, so it is very realistic if she falls for a person like Alekh. In fact, if you see it from her angle, you will really sympathize with her.

Viewers feel that after all that she has faced, Sadhana needs to be shown as a stronger woman. Your take on this?
You are right, and this is a very nice observation indeed. The character of Sadhana has surely seen a growth in the last few years. If you take the last few episodes, she has taken few stands whether it is with Mamaji or with Alekh. But the growth has been shown keeping in mind her vulnerability to certain issues.

Ragini has done and said so many things in this track which are so unlike her. So will you be justifying her acts with a strong script so that her character remains strong enough?
We tried to show Ragini abit different, but it did not work. Perhaps, her fans want to see her in the same way. So yes, we will justify Ragini’s acts in the best way possible, and I will have a word with my creative team on this.

Coming to Ranveer, he looks like that weak and tame married man. Will we see him being more practical towards life?
Ranveer is one character who has in fact shown a positive attitude to whatever he does. Yes, his approach has been very subtle, when it comes to supporting Sadhana and at the same time, being by the side of Ragini. He has been the most proactive character in the serial in the past few months. He has always done something to keep the family united, his actions have made others react. He has shown good maturity in handling all his relationships. If he had handled Sadhana and Ragini’s problems aggressively, it would have lead to more complications.

The same goes with Alekh, who looks very confused.
See for Alekh, the going has been really tough. Soon after he recovered, he has faced so many complex situations that have never allowed him to think on his own. But if you read between the lines, you will understand that we are putting him thro’ a learning process, after which he will get more mature. This journey is very important for him, and it will make him understand himself better, and he will learn a lesson for life.

There are lot of questions left open regarding the Choti Ma track. A proper reasoning has not been given to the frustrations that Choti Maa faced and how Vasu in fact ruined her life. Will you be concentrating on it any time?
When we deal with many tracks at the same time, few tracks lose relevance. But I will surely take this point to my creative team.

We see a change in the manner in which Sadhana dresses these days. Was this an intended change?
Yes, it was a conscious effort by the team in order to give some freshness to the show. It’s not just this, we are also working on the revamp of our sets which will be ready in a month’s time or so. Guess this should put an end to the speculation that Bidaai is going off air.

So asking you again, when will Ragini and Sadhana unite?
As I told you, the Natraj Mahotsav will be the starting point to this particular track. We will surely see a conclusion to this track soon, and it will be approached in a straight forward manner. They will either part for life or unite for life (smiles).

What’s going on in Yeh Rishta? What is the message spread by the recent problems in Akshara and Naitik’s lives?
The fact is that Akshara has not seen lot of positivity after her marriage. When a young boy and a girl get married, they usually expect a Mills and Boons story in their life, but that hardly happens. There are chances for misunderstandings to creep in, and there will be unpleasant happenings too. This is why our main concept deals with love after marriage. It is the journey of two people who get together after facing hurdles in life.

So when will we see Naitik and Akshara resolving all their problems?
Holi episodes are going to be big in Yeh Rishta. The channel has planned a major episode where the entire Star Parivaar will get together to unite Naitik and Akshara.

Report By: Srividya Rajesh

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