THE masterminds behind popular Indian television shows are big thinking producers such as Deepak Dhar. A remarkable journey has seen him rise up through the ranks to deliver hugely popular shows, including ARRived, Hostages, Bombers, Nach Baliye 9, The Kapil Sharma Show, Khatron Ke Khiladi, MasterChef India and Bigg Boss. He recently set up Banijay Asia and aims to create premium content for TV, films and OTT platforms.
Eastern Eye caught up with Deepak Dhar to discuss all things television.
What first connected you to wanting to work in television?
I was never interested in the road usually taken – doctor, engineer, architect, etc. and always wanted to be a storyteller. The most obvious choice those days was to be in the TV industry.
Which of your many projects has given you the greatest joy?
Popstars on Channel V was my first ever show I bagged and working on it was the greatest joy. Popstars was known for its emotions, along with its music, and went on to become a cult series. This show gave birth to reality television in the country.
Why do you think reality TV shows like Bigg Boss and Khatron Ke Khiladi are so popular?
We only take those formats that we are certain will work in the Indian context. Formats like Big Brother, Fear Factor, etc. have worked across cultures and continents. So we knew these were safe bets. What also worked is the growth and opportunity lying with the regional franchises. Even in a reality show, there has to be an emotional narrative. It’s an important aspect of creating content.
What’s the secret to producing a great TV series?
To me, it’s about having the right team, captain and coach. These things have to work in sync. It’s about creating an ecosystem of great people and good content and because of that, good projects are bound to happen. A great example of that is Roar Of The Lion with MS Dhoni.
What are you working on at the moment?
We recently produced the critically acclaimed show Myntra Fashion Superstar and we have a range of shows lined up, which will be announced soon. We have The Kapil Sharma Show going on, which achieved the highest rating so far. Nach Baliye 9 is a very successful legacy show being produced by us. In addition to this, we are prepping for the second season of Hostages, after the first season is such a huge success!
What are your future predictions for India TV and beyond?
I think that it will remain a market for a long, long time. India is like the European market, six countries in one, so the potential for growth is sixfold!
What kind of content do you enjoy watching?
I enjoy all kind of content that is intriguing, captivating and exciting. I’ve always been a big believer in differentiated content. Mind Hunters, Breaking Bad, Narcos and The Family Man are shows I have binged watched.
What inspires you?
I take inspiration from the ecosystem. My daughter is a big influencer because she gives me a new set of content vocabulary.
Why do you love working in a creative field?
New narratives, new talent, new viewing patterns, new technology – content creation and consumption has turned around on its head and the content creator in me feels so alive. For me there is a story everywhere; one needs to have the lens to find it.