Producer Ravindra Gautam has made quite a mark in the industry. His current show Meri Durga has been doing exceedingly well and the producer says that the show has taught him a lot. “I feel elated with such a good response and get huge inspiration to do better stuff with such different storylines. Actually, the success of Meri Durga has inspired me to look into not so regular concepts and the show has also proven that there also is life beyond regular Saas-bahu sagas,” he says.
Having been a director himself, there are times when he feels differently than the person who is directing, says Ravindra. “It happens many times. Creativity is very subjective. A creative POV always changes from person to person. I may have a totally different outlook on a scene and the director may look at it totally differently. So I always make it a point to brief all creatives, directors, on the show so that we all are on the same page and as the channel looks at the show from my perspective, I always tell them how I have conceived a scene and to execute it likewise,” he says.
Ravindra has never minced his words and stood up for things that matter to him. He has often expressed his concern with kids participating in reality shows. However, these still continue. “See they will never stop till the parents understand that a fruit is only plucked when mature. Early ambitions of parents have mostly ruined a child’s childhood and his future. It’s good to promote a child’s talent as it boosts his confidence but a parent must know where to draw a line. For everyone else, it’s a money-spinning business and they won’t shy away from playing with a child’s emotions or showering mindless accolades just to fetch TRPs,” he says.
And what is the secret behind successfully casting children in shows? “First and foremost a child must look and behave like a child which is so hard to find these days. We cast a child to portray childhood and if that only is missing what’s the use. I was really lucky to find Ananya Agarwal as young Durga whose innocence as a child was totally intact. And all credit goes to her parents for keeping her childhood intact,” he says.
TV has changed a lot over the years. While mythological shows often have an extravagant budget, the budgets of regular shows have really been toned down, says Ravindra. “Leave aside some mythological/ historical shows, regular TV shows are seeing a decline in budgets. Also, off late, since some small budget shows are performing well on TRP charts, they have become a new model for broadcasters,” he says.
With so many options in the digital space, the audience has taken to watching their shows online. However, this can never replace TV, says Ravindra. “TV and Netflix have a totally different audience. TV has reached the length and breadth of our country’s interiors and we must cater to their tastes. Netflix and other digital platforms have an urban base even of the youth. Let’s not confuse ourselves when we say youngsters or the youth are moving away from the TV. There is just a small fraction which belongs to the urban category. Youth in the interiors still don’t have access to a high-end data network and still watch TV only. Shows must always be made keeping in mind the television audience,” he says.
In fact, TV producers have a big responsibility on their shoulders. “TV goes inside the homes of people and families, who watch it together. So I feel it has the power to bring about the biggest of change and if we as makers can contribute in making a better society, it’ll be a great way to give back to the society from which we derive all our stories,” he says.
Being a public figure is not easy and Ravindra has had his share of problems in this area. He was confused with someone who tweeted against actor Priyanka Chopra and was ridiculed on social media. “Little is a small word for the harshness public figures receive. It’s so hard for them to maintain and live and enjoy a personal life. There might be many pros of these social networking apps but the ease it has given to anyone and everyone to comment rebuke abuse celebs is the worst disadvantage,” he says.
The producer-director’s journey has been long and he has overcome many obstacles along the way. “Hardships were many, some still continue but it all depends on how you look at those hardships. I have always taken them as challenges and tasks one needs to overcome to reach a summit. Any hardship has the capability to break you or make you stronger, it’s the way you look at it,” he says.