Mistress of all media

Mistress of all media

ruling the telly Ekta Kapoor

Mistress of all media

Srabanti Chakrabarti speaks to Ekta Kapoor, the woman behind many of the soaps that we’ve learnt to love on our television screen, and who is now eyeing the Indian cinescape to find her niche.

She was, and still is, the czarina of Indian television. The lady with the Midas touch. But for an odd Mahabharat or Kavyanjali, it is difficult to find an Ekta Kapoor serial that did not succeed. Be it Kyun Ki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki or the latest Bade Achche Lagte, Ekta has always had her fingers on the audience pulse.

Ekta Kapoor, the grapevine says, works till the wee hours of the morning and everyone around her follows the same schedule too. Clearly, she is a lady in a hurry; desperate to climb new heights and cement her position even further. That is, perhaps, the reason why her focus has now shifted to films as well.

Call of the cinema

In the last five years, she has transformed Balaji Telefilms from a television powerhouse to an experimental filmmaking angel investor as well. Love Sex Aur Dhokha, Once Upon A Time In Mumbai, The Dirty Picture — it is difficult to believe that these films come from the same producer who made Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki or Kasauti Zindagi Ki.

But, is Kya Super Kool Hai Hum, the sequel of her hugely successful Kya Kool Hai Hum, in the same category as the earlier movies? A Dirty Picture or Love Sex Aur Dhoka received critical and audience acclaim, but Kya Super Kool Hai Hum seems to be made just for the masses. She even got into a controversy after the dog in the film was named Fakiruddin and the family of India’s former president, Fakiruddin Ahmed, objected to it. “It took us seven years to get the guts back to make a sequel. We have done it and we don’t care about anything. Provided I am not jailed! I am very excited, and at the same time, very happy about the way the film has shaped up,” she says.

Rumours have it that this film is India’s response to American Pie. Is it true? “I don’t know about the success of the film. But, let me tell you, this is the most politically incorrect film. There are jokes on everybody, including me, but nothing is cheap. I would say the film is India’s answer to American Pie.”

It is quite a transformation for Team Ekta, whose calendar was busy with 40 television shows at one point of time. Now, it is not just television shows any more. There are a number of other films which Balaji is producing. Ekta also feels that this sequel took time because she, as a maker, wanted to come up with fresh concepts and new ideas, “I wanted to establish a new brand.” But she is aware that not everything will be successful. “I always handle success and failure with the same spirit. I have been working very hard for many years now, but even today, when the ‘exam’ results are announced, I sit at home and wait for it.”

Ekta shares that many years back, when she had produced Kavyanjali, she had expected it to do well but it failed to impress the viewers. “We raised a lot of publicity around it, but it just did not click. On the other hand, when Pavitra Rishta started with zero publicity, it became a rage!”

Same thing happened with Kahani Hamare Mahabharat Ki. Kapoor launched that show with high expectations and promises, but it tanked. “You need to move on, otherwise you just cannot survive in this industry,” she says, implying that there is no time to brood over failure.

Ekta has surely moved on. Not only has she bounced back in television, she is also trying her best to cement her foothold in the film industry. After back-to-back hits like Love Sex Aur Dhoka, The Dirty Picture and Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, she is a force to reckon with in the big screen as well. But, doesn’t she feel Kya Super Kool Hai Hum will dilute her image to an extent? “We wanted to go funny with adult humour. Some portions could probably hurt some sensibilities. But on the whole, the film has tried to keep its humour funny without being offensive,” she says.

While on the topic, Ekta starts talking about her brother — Tusshar Kapoor — who she feels has not got his due in the industry. “People say star kids get an easy entry, but to keep the star status is very tough. Tusshar, in all his films, whether it was Khakhi, Shor In The City, Golmaal or The Dirty Picture, has been extremely good but has never been appreciated."

Recently, Ekta has also been criticised when her successful show Bade Achche Lagte Hai took a leap. “I have got so many hate mails, but I am okay about it. I know how to deal with that and I am hopeful that the new twist in the show will eventually be liked by all,” she says.

That, in a way, sums up Ekta — a lady who is confident about making people like what she does!