‘The biggest risk is not taking any’

Ekta Kapoor, one of the most successful producers in Indian film and television

Update: 2015-05-03 05:53 GMT
Ekta Kapoor

In a chat with DC at the posh Balaji office in Andheri, Mumbai, Ekta tells us that she loves to take risks — even if a large amount of money is involved.
“It’s like jumping into a running train without a destination plan — if you don’t take that risk you will never reach anywhere. Like I have been experimenting with a lot of new writers of late, some of them have no idea what works on TV but I want to take that risk and experiment. At one point, even I was 18 and clueless, I had to learn life’s lessons, so I have to give others a chance. Among my big mistakes, I had made Mahabharat some time ago and it was a big disaster. I lost a lot of money but I came back to make a Jodha-Akbar. That was a huge risk.”

On the personal front, Ekta is looking fitter than ever. She confesses, “I have been working out a lot and doing a little work in between. My days now involve drinking a lot of hot water.” And with her super-svelte avatar, has she considered facing the camera? “No, but a lot of other people have suggested that. I just laugh it off. Who wants to see me on TV?”

So what is it like, being one of the biggest honchos in the country? “Sometimes, the pressure gets to me. (She checks her phone and sighs seeing the number of missed calls and messages) but I’ve worked to reach here so it’s a part of my life.

Besides TV, Ekta is also focusing on her fashion label EK. “Women love the outfits popular actresses wear on our shows and I thought this would be a good way to make popular fashion accessible to viewers. The response has been encouraging but this venture involved a lot of planning, we need to be prepared to meet the demand that we are expecting. I can’t cheat my audience, and damage my brand’s reputation that they trust.”

And despite her tough taskmaster image, Ekta seems like a romantic at heart. “The other day, a couple (from her show Nach Baliye) was telling me about their love story and what they faced, and I began to cry. The kind of things people face in love is so touching. I can’t name them because I would seem biased but I do hope they make it to the finale.”

Ekta has entered the reality space with Nach Baliye 7. She says, “The actual Indian audience, is very different from what we see on social media. To get to see celebs living together, like in a hotel, with small shocks in between. Not many shows have dared to tap the reality of relationships. I’m hitting in the dark (with this show) and I may fail, but as I said, the biggest risk is not taking a risk. If I don’t do this, I would stagnate.”

Telling us about roping in contestants who were willing to spend three months in the Nach house, Ekta reveals it was a tough task. “We had people who didn’t want to compromise on their personal lives so we had to let go of a lot of big names. Then I had to speak to channels to let go of their actors, to participate in the show. It was tough.”

But doesn’t the format sound a lot like Bigg Boss? “It’s not similar, we are not keeping the celebs hungry and they are allowed to access their phones for half-an-hour a day.” The biggest surprise though has been roping in Chetan Bhagat as judge. “Chetan is the big twist. People know him as the writer of 3 Idiots, Kick and 2 States but don’t know the person. We wanted somebody without a fixed image and there are very few writers who are this popular.”

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