Sandiip Sikcand : I Think Everybody Knows That Divyanka Tripathi Was The Inspiration For Sonakshi In Kahaan Hum Kahaan Tum

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Kahaan Hum Kahaan Tum

Kahaan Hum Kahaan Tum has been off to a good start. The chemistry of the lead pair and how the story is unfolding is all being appreciated by the audience. In the era when we have plethora of supernatural shows ruling the charts, this one seems to be like the breath of fresh air. We at Fuze wait with a bucket of popcorn everyday for what is next in the store for the show and thought it would be a good idea to connect with Sandiip Sikcand, the producer of the show for a freewheeling conversation.

Excerpts:

Q: Kahan hum Kahan tum comes across as a breezy feel good kind of show. How did the idea for the same come to you ?

Well, the idea actually came to me from the fact that I wanted to do something new and different. I did not want to do the typical kind of a TV show that one sees on TV. I wanted to do something even more realistic, more real and something that the audiences of today can enjoy.

Q: Rom-com is one of the most sought after genre when it comes to filmmaking. But when it comes to TV, we don’t see to many shows at least in terms of what is currently on air too many shows in this genre. Were you scared to kind of pursue something on those lines?

I am still scared. Because the point is that what everybody tells me is that the people who watch TV are very used to the saas baahu and the kitchen politics and ghar ka drama, which I am completely fine with. I’ve made such shows for the last 16 years and I will continue to make them. Even in this show there is kitchen politics and there is a friction of relationships, but the only thought was to do it in a newer manner and do it in a slightly better fashion or is more relatable to today’s time. So my whole thing is that it’s not that I’m not trying to do some breakthrough by putting an all together different story and as you rightly said, rom com have always been there, love stories have always been there but trying to get a love story which is relatable in today’s time with today’s people. On TV it is something that I want to do and I’m doing that with the show.

Kahaan Hum Kahaan Tum

Q: Right in the very first episode, we saw Divyanka Tripathi make a guest appearance, going forward can we expect any other friends of yours to do the same in this show in the coming times?

Honestly that depends upon the situation. If tomorrow I have any scene of Sonakshi shooting with some celebrity, obviously (that will happen). Because I just feel that you need to do special appearances when your story demand it. It should not be there for just an attraction, it should be important. For the first episode, it was very important because it establishes heroines’ world. People usually have a perception that when two actresses meet there is rivalry between, there is a cold vibe and bitchiness but that is not the case with TV at all. When two actresses meet, there is a lot of friendship, there is a lot of gossiping and catching up and that is what we wanted to show.

Q: When one looks at Sonakshi’s character, there are certain nuances of her profession that are very, very finely showed in the show. Was it from your personal experiences that all these little details that have been brought to the character or the entire team is putting in that kind of an effort to bring out the finer details such as the challenges a TV actress faces, how and what we know or perceive about actors is very different from how they are in the real world.

The point is, I’ve been doing television for the last 16 years. I know this world really well. So what you see on TV is basically a mixture of a lot of what I have seen in my own eyes, a lot from what I’ve heard, on what happens on the set. I have heard actresses say mere saath yeh hua and it is a mixture of all our experiences put together because even my writers have been writing for TV for a very long time. So what you see on the show, is pretty much how they actually do live their lives. Most of the people that I know are very humble. They all have the same insecurities that you and I have. Yeah, they also get subjected to harassment and subjected to traumas and tensions.

Q: Yeah, I was about to get to the point that in  the show this aspect has been very beautifully brought in  on how not just actress but women are subjected to harassment. I think it was the fourth or the fifth episode. I felt that this situation is very akin to any woman in any workplace and how they have to creatively deal with such situations.

I will tell you what happens in the viewers’ mind. They feel that agar kisi ke paisa hai that person is the happiest. Paisa hai toh sab kuch hai. And there is also a perception about how TV and film people lead their life. Oh yeh TV actress hai toh she must be partying everyday. Movie star, for them everything must come for free. The point was to even break this image and make them realise that acting is an art. It is a profession. And TV and film people are as normal as you and I are. The main part was to make the audiences realise that just because they are actors does not mean that they are born with some superpowers or special powers. Most of the times, money is not the only thing that you require in life. You may be having a lot of money but you still may have emotional problems in your life or come with an emotional baggage. So we want to address all this through this show that actors and actresses are as real as everybody is. They’re not somebody special. And they are not somebody arrogant. And they are not somebody who are superheroes.

Q: There is another very interesting facet of a TV actress that I see you addressing through this show. It is the constant comparison with Bollywood. We see in the show how Sonakshi’s mother thinks that TV is a poorer cousin of the films.

True. That is another problem we face. Personally I feel that TV is almost as big as the films.

Q: I think it is even bigger because a TV star gets to interact with their audience or fans on a daily level but in a movie that does not happen.

Yeah but in any TV show, you say that an actor wants to come for a plugin, everybody will bend backwards to make sure that that person is incorporated. A lot of people look down upon TV and then they use the same medium to promote their films or promote their work. I’ve never seen TV being promoted in any other medium or any other platform apart from TV itself. I have never heard of any film person do a plugin of a TV show. Another thing I feel is that it’s time to change the content, it’s time we try and change our storytelling. So that TV stand on par, if not higher with the kind of movie that are being made today and also be at par with world entertainment market. My only problem with television is that it really gets looked down upon and the talent of television is not really looked upon as great talent. When you are making a film or writing a film people always look at talent that has done a film before or written one before. We need to give the same push to television talent as well, because I very strongly feel and I very strongly know that the kind of dedication and the kind of hard work a TV writer, actor, director, or any TV crew puts in is probably far better, far bigger than anybody else.

Q: I read somewhere that you actually did the casting for Rohit’s character in like two minutes, so are you always this clear in your mind that who you are to cast in a certain role?

Honestly, I sometimes read things online where people have listed 10 actresses that were approached for the role before Dipika and there was a list of six heroes that were approached before Karan V Grover. I don’t know from where people bring up this nonsense. Some of the people on these lists are that I have not even dreamt of. For Karan’s character in my head, I was very sure that he is the guy but there were two other actors who very graciously heard the story and did the look test for me. There was Vivan Bhatena and Sid Makkar who besides being very good friends of mine are also somebody I thought that fitted the role. But when we did the look test, we decided that Karan was the best fit. So even Vivan came in for the look test, he also thought that Karan was the best bet for this role and I said ‘yeah even I think so’. So yeah, they were the only two other people whom I approached for this and they very very graciously came in for the look test and did it for me.

And when it comes to the woman for this show, I think everybody knows that Divyanka Tripathi was the inspiration for this character but she could not do this because she is doing Ye Hai Mohabatein and she has also been roped in for a web series. Ye Hai Mohabatien is a show that is very dear to me and priority number one for her and for me. Post that it was Dipika but there was a little stop gap in between as she went in for Big Boss. In between we did speak to 2-3 girls and we’re all really interested. But eventually I think in my head it was either Divyanka or Dipkia.

Q: Coming back to you, from the very show that you produced, Dhai Kilo Prem, to now when you are venturing into a regional show in Telugu, you seem to choose storyline or concepts that are really unique. So is that a conscious choice that you’re making?

Yes, I honestly am doing that. Success is very important, money very important and there is no doubt about it. I just feel that if your idea is good and if your show has its own novelty, eventually it will make money and it will bring you success. Yes, that path is a little slower and it takes a little longer but at the end of the day, I want to be known as a successful producer who dared to venture and dared to do something new rather than just another rich successful producer. I am following my mentor’s footsteps. When Ekta came with Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, it was a completely different concept from whatever was happening in those times. It was a path breaking show. Even Hum Paanch when it first came in on Zee, it was very different. There were five girls, a comical character and then there was Priya Tendulkar talking through the photo frame. So that newness took time but it did completely changed the path of the television. I am not as talented. Neither am I as brilliant as Ekta is. But in my own small way I want to make efforts at trying to do new things, trying to do different things. So that at the end of the day, I want to be known as a successful producer, who definitely dared to do what the world did not. I like being called the black sheep and I want to live up to that.

Q: Personally too you have dabbled many roles. Be it an actor in Bollywood movies, or being the creative director for YHM and now you are doing a lot of production work. What is the one thing that you enjoy doing the most?

You will be surprised to know this, but what I love the most is acting. Because I think acting is something else, the feeling of portraying somebody else is a great feeling, playing another character is fantastic. But sadly, acting is a very insecure line. And I’m inherently a very insecure person. So I need to professionally be very secure and hence the creative head and hence the production. These also are the things that I love and there’s no two ways about it. But if you were to ask me a very honestly, that what I would loved the most, to make millions and millions and millions and again, even if I was a very successful actor, I would like to be known as an actor who does roles that nobody else does. If you see the kind of roles that I have done in Murder 2 or Raakh 2, I have not done the conventional kind of roles.

Q: So coming back to Kahaan Hum Kahaan Tum, how satisfied are you with the rating because you said that the financial aspect and the rating also matter to you. The show opened really well and has been sustaining but as a producer how do you feel about the performance aspect?

You know, we’ve got our fifth rating today and the best part about the show is that it has sustained. I started with a 1.7, it went to 1.5 and it came to a 1.61 point and then 1.7 and even today it at 1.7. I’ve seen in today’s time it is difficult for shows to sustain their rating. They open really big and then they fall and then there are various dramatic thing but I’m very happy that we sustained which clearly shows that the audience is warming up to the show. The effort will always be to take it higher and higher. But yeah I am fine with slow and steady. I have all the patience in this world.

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