Haven't we heard of a nuclear scientist becoming the President of India (Dr P J Abdul Kalam), mechanical engineer going on to become a chef-cum restauranteur (Rahul Akerkar of Indigo) and computer engineer making it big in Bollywood as asinger and music composer (Shankar Mahadevan). It is quite common for ingenious and resourceful people to realize their calling after pandering to their impulses in a series of diverse vocations.
Director Rajesh Ranashinge is no different as Gita Hari discovers the varied conquests of this multi-faceted director of many popular serials on the small screen who is raring to go and prove his mettle on the big screen as well.
Rajesh who has directed thrillers like Aahat, CID, Sshh….Koi Hai, Darna Mana
Hai, Raat Hone Ko Hai, Akela, is currently wearing the director's cap for Sahara One's popular show Kittu Sab Jaanti Hai.
Tell us about your initial years in this industry?
I was qualified to be an Electronics Engineer but my interest lied in all aspects of film making, from story writing to editing. As a cameraman I did ads, shot wildlife for National Geographic channel, learnt editing for three years with Rajan Waghdhare before I started directing serials since past 10 years. In 1995, my first directorial venture was serial Aankhen for DD1 which was a hit among the viewers and there were no private channels like today. Then came Aandhi for Zee TV and Best Seller for Star Plus. I directed Thodi Si Bewafaii, a family social, which was a trendsetter - the saas-bahu genre - it was for the first time a serial had the technical zoom on the characters to reinforce the effect, the kind you see in almost all the soaps today. But my forte is thrillers and I am happy doing that.
So how come you are directing Kittuu….which is more of a family drama?
Yes, Kittu… does fall in that genre but each episode tackles a different crisis that is thrilling in itself. I find it very exciting and satisfying to direct this show.
You directed the thriller, Akela too. What actuated your exit from the show?
In the beginning, Akela was not directed by me. I believe I was brought in to raise the TRPs, which I did. I found the story quite gripping but the producers suddenly wanted to revamp the show and also shifted the telecast to Saturday. Somehow, I was not happy with the track change and decided to quit.
What's your take on thrillers?
A thriller is as tough as comedy - timing; good editing and photography make the viewers glued to the TV set. I enjoy doing thrillers as I can visualize special effects that can make the audience chew their nails.
What's your modus operandi as a director?
As a director, I have to execute the show well and handle the actors and technicians too. If I am convinced with any actor's novel ideas and provided they are relevant to the theme, I never hesitate to include them. According to me, the cameraman is not just that, but he is the director of photography and if he or my assistants come up with some brilliant suggestions, I readily incorporate them. We work as a team and I respect their capabilities. Actually in TV serials, there is no logic but we try to create logic. In my career so far, no channel has asked me to change my style of direction to boost the TRPs.
How was it working with the ace director of thrillers, B.P. Singh?
I have worked with him on Aahat, CID and many serials. As for working with B.P.Singh of Fireworks Productions, I admit it is a little tough, but I got to learn a lot from him on the script level, editing, etc.
And what about your association with Balaji?
I have worked with Balaji Telefilms too, directing Mano Ya Na Mano and Karmic Connections but as a serial maker, Balaji is not meant for thrillers. B.P.Singh is good at them. Ekta Kapoor changes the story and comes with last-minute scripts, as she has to handle so many soaps which is a dexterous task.
Your wife's an actor too; don't you plan to direct her?
I met my wife, Indira Krishnan, while I directed her in a Sahara show called Mujrim Kaun Hai, which won the Best RAPAA Award. No, I haven't had the opportunity to direct her thereafter but I am sure to do so sometime in the future.
It seems you are aiming for films. Yes, I have written three films for the big screen, with high voltage emotions and thrills, the regular Indian masala, one of which will be launched in March 2007. I will make masala movies like Manmohan Desai but not David Dhawan.
Thought about the star cast?
Madhuri Dixit is making a comeback and I hope to cast her in one of my films. From the current crop, Lara Dutta is my favourite. Amongst the male actors, I am very fond of John Abraham, Shahid Kapur, the rugged looking Salman Khan and Bobby Deol.
What's your dream project?
Since I am very fond of kids, my dream project is to direct / make a serial / film for children - a contemporary jungle theme, with animals and comic characters. I am sure it will be fun doing that for a change!