Being a creative director is a demanding job : Mushtaq Shiekh
Mushtaq Shiekh, currently the creative director with Sahara One needs no introduction. For someone who has moved from journalism to TV, he has a lot of big projects under his kitty. From being the youngest editor of a magazine to the author of acclaimed books like ‘Still Reading Khan’ and ‘The Making of Om Shanti Om’ to being creatively associated with shows like ‘Kahin To Hoga’ and ‘Kasauti Zindagi Kay’, Sheikh has done it all. TellyChakkar caught up with the man to know more about his future projects and his current role in Sahara One…
How did the idea of Ganga Ki Dheej originate?
Ganga Ki Dheej is a story of Pakhi who is caught in the dangerous web spun by Dada Bhai and Maha Mai. She represents the common man who is used as a pawn by self-proclaimed lords of the land. She stands for purity pitched against the darkness of age-old rituals and traditions merely practiced to oppress the women and the poor. It is Pakhi’s quest to re-align the game, change the rules and play to win! Will she manage it or like the many others find herself ‘drowned’ in the calm waters of Kaliganj, is the seed of Ganga Ki Dheej.
GKD deals with a social issue which is still prevalent in various parts of country, where a woman’s virginity is tested before her marriage. We wanted to reach out to people to not just make people aware of this issue but also to create awareness towards such set rituals in the name of religion.
What is the USP of the show?
The USP of the show lies in the concept and a very strong storyline. We have roped in a stalwart like Kabir Bedi, who will be seen first time on Indian television.
Can we say that with GKD, Sahara One is aiming big?
Yes, it is indeed a very important show for us. We have tried our best to bring a show that explores a different sub culture within the umbrella of the Indian culture.
The show will have stiff competition in the 10pm slot. How do you think it will perform in comparison with the other shows?
There is definitely tough competition in that slot but we are very confident of the product. We have all put in our best. It is up to the audience to give their verdict. I am sure it will make TV viewing even more pleasurable for the discerning viewers of today.
What’s been your input to the show?
A show is like giving birth to a baby. As a creative director from the day I heard the story till the day it comes on air, I am involved completely, from conceptualizing the show to visualization and its execution, be it concept, story, cast, PR, Marketing & Programming strategy. Having said that, I cannot undermine the programming team who works as hard…It’s everyone who contributes in the making of a show.
There were talks the show had been delayed due to some reasons, was budget one of them?
Absolutely untrue. That was mere industry gossip which had no basis whatsoever. Any big show that is being launched needs proper planning. It cannot be rushed. We had never decided a time for its release so for people to assume we delayed it would be jumping the gun a wee bit.
Your take on the cast of the show, most being newcomers and a known face like Kabir Bedi.
We will be introducing Kabir Bedi on Indian Television. We also have great actors like Ashwini Kalsekar and Nandini Singh and also new names like Mohit Raina, Saurabh Pandey and Leena Jumani who are good performers too.
Your thoughts on Shabbir Ahluwalia turning into a producer. Do you think it is a big risk the channel is taking with the new production house?
Why should it be a risk? Every biggie was a newcomer one day. All big producers were not born big. They have worked hard to reach where they are today. They all have travelled the distance to become big names today. And I am sure that’s going to be the future for Baweja films and Flying Turtles too in the television business.
We are glad we have assigned this show to them. They are very passionate about their work. They are quality conscious producers and have delivered as per our expectations.
Sahara One has cut off itself from reality shows for quite some time now. What is the reason?
No specific reason. Each channel has a certain strategy and we have ours. We have focused primarily on our fiction shows so far. There are a lot of exciting and interesting projects, both fiction and non-fiction in the pipeline. You’ll hear about them as and when the time comes.
What are the constraints of being a creative director?
It is a very challenging and demanding job. When you love your job, there are no constraints as one has to look at each constraint positively and find a solution and move on.
Future projects lined up at Sahara One
As mentioned above, there is a great line up of fiction shows and certain other projects. Meanwhile, tune in tonight to Ganga Ki Dheej.