She shot to fame with K serials. Today, Ekta Kapoor also has films to her credit. She tells Sudhish Kamath she follows her heart in whatever she does
Ekta Kapoor is on a roll with back to back releases and much acclaim with “Shor In The City” two weeks ago and “Ragini MMS” opening reasonably well. She speaks to us about her tryst with the motion picture business, her relationship with the television and the letter K.
What kind of cinema is Balaji planning to be associated with? Any ingredients that will be common?
What I want to do with cinema is keep it as universal as possible. And, if it has to do with different niches, give them what you promised. There's no certain type of cinema, but there's a certain type of promise every film comes with. The agenda is to keep an eye on quality and live up to that promise.
Why is your fare on the big screen and TV so different?
TV is more mass-oriented. It allows and explores unity in diversity. It's all about going into various homes… you got to go into a conservative home and a modern home with the same drawing room entertainment. You need to get one interesting idea that connects with a much larger number of people than films can.
How much control or regulation do you personally exercise over themes shown on your TV fare?
I have no interest in working against the sensibilities of all the mothers and family members who sit together. They know that if they watch a Balaji show, they will get a certain kind of entertainment. I do not want to break that connection ever.
What's your take on reality shows and society?
Anything we watch is a taste being catered to. You cannot ignore the fact that there is a taste. Somewhere we have to remember we are a voyeuristic society, we like shock value. But reality shows don't get the numbers that fiction gets. The staple diet of TV is family entertainment.
First “Love Sex Aur Dhokha” and now “Ragini MMS”, which from trailers, seems to be quite bold for Indian audiences.
We are catering to an existing audience. We are not creating the audience. Youngsters talk like that. They do talk about going away for a dirty weekend. The film does not to try and shock you, it's just accepting it. It shows a young couple who are comfortable with each other physically as they are mentally. Their conversations are real. They are not selling crass sexuality under the garb of being coy.
It was quite surprising to see a film such as “Shor In The City” from your banner.
“Shor In The City” may not have a high level of sexuality, but it has a level of humour that working professionals will enjoy. I think any kind of film that any audience would enjoy should be made by Balaji.
Are you enjoying the critical acclaim and going to festivals?
I am not going to become a critical-acclaim-junkie at all. I will not start falling for the bait of wanting to please people ever. I will do it the way I always do, with my gut. I cater to a viewer because that viewer's taste matters more than anyone else's and I will keep him first in mind and then, if it also appeals to the critics, so be it. On the other hand, it's a great feeling to be accepted by audiences that have never accepted you.
You have this larger-than-life image of a head-strong, highly-opinionated and even arrogant businesswoman. Is that the right perception?
I think I am a bit too individualistic. I try to lead. I do not follow. Even if I don't lead, I would follow my own path. If that works for people, great. If it doesn't, great. I'd rather make my own mistakes and pay for them rather than pay for mistakes that are formulistic.
You have come a long way from being associated with the K-brand of TV shows.
I have just diversified. I don't think I have come a long way from it. I'd always go back to it when I feel the need to creatively do more shows. We underestimate the power of entertaining the country. Catering to India was far more challenging. I diversify just to explore my creativity. I believe that TV is a much bigger medium than films and I will always respect TV more.
Finally, what's with the K-serial brand? Are you done with it? Do you believe in the superstition?
I love the letter K. I am a K-addict. (laughs) But, I have taken a sabbatical.