Mohi makers deviated from the essence of Ishti Kutum: Leena Gangopadhyay

When it comes to script writing, Leena Gangopadhyay is a notable name in the Bengali TV industry. She has penned the script for mega hits like Ishti Kutum, Jol Nupur, Binni Dhaner Khoi, Keya Patar Nouko, and Kojagori to name a few. In a conversation with, she talks about her writing journey, her inspiration and more. Excerpts:

When did you start writing? Is there any story behind your writing stories?

It all started with me writing a love fiction when I was in the 6th standard. I was attending a wedding ceremony, when I noticed a guy. He was elder to me. It was falling in love at the first sight. He left after the event and we never met. I felt terrible. It was then that I penned down the incident to reduce my grief. I named it, 'Shotti Premer Golpo' (The true love story). It never got published and I have also lost it. During our younger days we used to have a programme on TV called, Golpo Dadur Ashor. I went on to read stories for the first time in the programme. I started writing for magazines of schools and colleges. I started my career as a journalist. Due to my profession, I had written articles on diverse issues. That work gave me immense pleasure. My first novel, 'Moonlight Sonata', was published episode wise on every Saturdays in one of the leading Bengali newspapers. I also taught in a college. I started to write for tele serials way back in 1996.  

So how did you start writing for mega serials?

I have a novel called, Aguner Dalpala, which got applauded and was much successful. Vidya Balan's first Bengali movie 'Bhalo Theko' was based on my novel, 'Jonmodin'. The interesting part is that the movie was released prior to the publication of the novel. The movie gave me a platform and I joined the media. I got a request to write for a mega serial. However, I was not much aware of how to write for tele serials at that time. I wrote, 'Shonar Harin', which was a mega hit as a serial. When one becomes successful it is difficult to get out of that sphere. Everything else fell in place thereafter. It has been 12 years that I am writing for megas, and this serial (Ei Cheleta Bhelbheleta) is my 16th one.

Among all, which one is the closest to your heart?

Ishti Kutum

What are the differences between writing a novel and penning a script for a serial?

When I write a novel, I write whatever I feel like writing. My readers are always important, but they do not put pressure on me by demanding sequence of events according to their wishes. I can write whatever I feel to write. They read only if they want to. But when I write for megas I have to keep in mind what the audience might want to watch. I also have to keep in mind the financial stake that the producer has in these daily soaps.

We often hear that while writing for megas the script writers have to change the plot due to sudden changes of events. It might be due to the unavailability of the hero or to pull up the dipping TRPs. So in such situations, do you have to compromise with your creativity?

Fortunately, till date no one has pressurized me to change the sequence or write according to their wishes. In certain situations, I had decided on my own on how to proceed and how to increase the TRP. However, it’s not that I have been desperate to do that. I have always kept faith on myself and proceeded in the path which I believe.  

What inspires you to write?

I love to travel and am always fascinated by travelling to new places. Also human relationships continue to enthrall me. If you go through my works you will find that most of them are relationship tales. I believe that being a lady I do understand women better. Ishti kutum is based on a real life incident. In fact, I am in constant touch with the lady on whom the story is based.

What was her reaction when she saw the serial?

She was all happy with it.

Ishti Kutum was a mega hit amongst the Bengali audience. However, when the same was remade in Hindi (Mohi), it flopped. Why is it so? What are your opinions about this?

I had a word with them. I feel that they had deviated from the essence of the story. In fact, I had heard it somewhere that the channel officials had asked the makers to copy paste the Bengali script. But, naturally it had hurt their egos. It is definite to hurt the ego of a creative person. It would have hurt me, if it had happened to me. The characters were not made realistically. The way we had portrayed Archi, it was not the same with the Hindi one. The character was flamboyant in the Hindi mega, but he is not so in the Bengali one. May be the audience also could not relate to the serial. Probably the reel characters did not match with the story.

Last question: What would be your tips to those who want to make a career in TV serial writing?  

Only those who love to write should come into this profession. This is not a regular job, as many consider it to be. One needs to read a lot. You need to read different books. Books teach us a lot. One also needs to follow human characters and the way they behave in different situations.  


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