His creativity is an embodiment of entertainment beyond the times. An echt entertainer who wears more than one hat with quills that acknowledges his artistry as a producer, director and an actor. J.D. Majethia of Sab TV’s popular Khidki talks to Dhrithi Sudhakar Gulvadi about his show, the return of Sarabhai vs Sarabhai and more…
Having produced and being part of daily soaps and full fledged comedy shows, what was your idea behind initiating a short story series like Khidki?
Basically, in the entertainment field or anything which entertains you, the base is always the story. If you have 5 friends but you will always prefer someone’s company because that person always keeps you entertained with interesting stories. So, one has to think what interests viewers, whether it’s a daily soap or a comedy, basically an original story which becomes a base of any content. Even in cinema original story is the base.
Similarly, the comedy content in television has been exhausted. The success ratio is very weak. In comedy, Badi Door Se Aaye Hai and Bhabhiji have done well but there were more than 20 shows which got launched in last 2 years and none of them worked. We knew that doing something different is going to work but it has to be relatable.
Badi Door Se Aaye Hai is an alien comedy but not every body could relate with it. We then realized that there has to be really good and relatable stories which could be brought from the writers but we didn’t want to, because a writer might replace with the same old stories. Umesh Shukla came up with the idea of inviting funny stories from people and hence, we made a show based on funny real life stories.
You played a full fledged character in many television shows including your film Khichdi, what made you to choose a narrative style of a character in Khidki?
(Chuckles) Primarily, the budget issue was really big. We really approached some stars and they had all agreed to work but there were budget issues, so I was destined to play this character because I love doing it. I was not taking up any acting assignments as I was too busy with the productions and it is something which requires time moreover, it is very challenging.
Previously, I didn’t want to act in Khichdi but I had to do it because Deven Bhojani had dropped out of the show. Although I could explore this side of my talent, I knew it that one day I’ll host the show. We knew that it is not just usual hosting but I’ll have to don a different avatar in every episode by trying 5-6 kind of looks and taking up dialect for every story. It is very challenging but yet interesting.
Who gets to do such kind of things on TV? I decided to take it up, no doubt that it has added a lot of load on my work system but it’s ok and I am enjoying it. I had not done anything since last 6 years so there was a hunger to do something really challenging and something really big, hence everything fell in place and I am here.
Why such a long break to come up with Sarabhai vs Sarabhai season 2?
After Sarabhai everybody waited sometime for the channel to revert but it didn’t happen and so they took up other work and then we could never connect together in terms of time. We were busy and the channel was not very keen at that time to do because they thought that the show will not attract masses etc. A couple of times everyone thought that how can there be such an extensive demand for the show? Not all gain fans and demand like these.
So, Aatish and I suggested that our production house and the actors are ready to recreate it. We are not saying that we will bring Sarabhai only but what we said was Sarabhai family should do something together. First thing we should write a Sarabhai series because the connectivity of every character is already established and hence, it becomes simple and easy.
We thought to do it as web series because there is a massive craze for the show in digital platform. But if we are not able to recreate the magic of the show at this point in time then we will not do it. That’s why the decision was to first work on the scripts and if we all are comfortable doing it then we will go ahead with Sarabhai.
If we feel that Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai should not be tampered then we will try to create something else with the Sarabhai family and that’s what we have discussed that we should collectively do something together. Sarabhai family should do something together and that is what the decision is.
How different would be Sarabhai vs Sarabhai season 2 from its season 1?
That can be discussed or shared only once we have done something or decided but obviously a web series will have different drama.
With the augmentation of many web series, do you think web series are more impactful given the fact that general audiences still prefer watching TV?
Yes, on a digital platform usually there are youngsters who have a buying power. They are the ones who spend money. Web series have a different audience and television has a different audience. The common audience is the youth who are moving away from television because of the kind of shows that are made on television, as they don’t like illogical or larger than life situations which are difficult to digest and consume.
As you spoke about web series, many youngsters prefer watching international sitcoms too, consequently where is the Indian comedy leveled in comparison to the international comedy?
We are far away from them for couple of reasons. They cater to sexual overtones and toilet humour. They crack jokes on politicians or religions or anything and no body stops them in doing so. The freedom of expression is present on the larger level and their audience is literate.
Comedy is basically a lot of word play. There are a lot of restrictions here and to be honest we do not have too many talented writers in India. They try to take 5-6 shows and that is why they don’t give the required time for one show, hence the quality is not generated. Also, we do not have the kind of platform that the western countries have.
Which hat would you like to wear the most- of a Producer, of a Director or of an Actor? Why?
(Laughs) Producer, I am a creative producer because I get to do everything. I can sit with the director and talk about the creative direction, I take care of the characters, I get to know the script and I can look at the performances. A creative producer like me takes care of everything and hence, I think that role is more challenging where I can do everything for my product.