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‘If I say that TRPs don’t affect me, I would be lying’
Debarati Palit Singh | Friday, 21 April 2017 AT 10:00 PM IST
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Producer Rashmi Sharma says that she intends to create television content that hasn’t been shown before and make movies on social issues

Rashmi Sharma is not only a successful television producer but her first film — the critically acclaimed Pink went on to win the Best Film On Social Issues at the 64th National Film Awards. But Rashmi doesn’t have time to celebrate as she is already busy with the production and promotion of her next TV show, based on a medical drama titled Savitri Devi College and Hospital that will go on air by the end of this month on Colors.

She is known for shows like Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat, Bhagyalaxmi, Saath Nibhaana Saathiya, Sasural Simar Ka and Shakti — Astitva Ke Ehsaas Ki, under her production house Rashmi Sharma Telefilms, which she runs with her husband Pawan Kumar.

Here are excerpts from an interaction in Mumbai:
Congrats on Pink winning the National Award. How are you celebrating?
Thank you. Right now it’s a very emotional moment. Celebrations will happen but it will take time for us to let the feeling sink in (smiles).

Savitri Devi College and Hospital is yet another unconventional show. Are you now making a conscious effort to move away from saas-bahu dramas?
First of all, we are consciously trying to work out content that we haven’t done before or about issues that exist in society but are ignored. These issues could either be within the family or in the world outside. We are looking at subjects that are real, things we face in our day-to-day life and definitely issues that need our attention. Like our show Shakti…which is about an intersex female ignored by society.

No matter how good your concept is, TV producers have to always think about TRPs. Does that put pressure on the makers?
If I say that TRPs don’t affect me, I would be lying. But it’s true that when we make a show, we do not make it from the TRP point of view, otherwise we won’t be able to make it. My efforts are into showing stories that I want to tell, we shouldn’t tamper with its vision and connection. My duty is to be as honest as possible and then pass it on to the channel which promotes it.
We have been following this method for years where I don’t let TRP pressure hit me much. Today’s audience is very unpredictable. I have learnt this from my personal experiences. I expected some of my shows to do exceptionally well but they didn’t and vice versa. This has made our job very challenging and exciting.

At the end of the day, you cannot think about the result, but continue making shows with dedication and hard work.
But do you also see the audience getting matured now since saas-bahu drama doesn’t work anymore?

Personally, I believe that we should remove the term saas-bahu. Our lives will revolve around families. The point is whether we are still going to show the same kind of family that has already been shown 10 times before. Times are changing; relationships are changing too.

We have to accept the changes. The homemakers have changed — they are educated and don’t like sitting at home. They would prefer going out on a movie with friends. I have seen so many mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law who share an understanding relationship. All these changes need to reflect in our stories.

But despite this, unconventional stories like Sumit Sambhal Lega and others do not get high TRPs. Where does the problem lie?
I don’t know if I will be able to answer that question because we are still working and figuring things out. We too learn every day. I come from a school where they believe har achhi cheez jis main jaan hai, chalti hai (Every concept that is powerful, will work).

We prefer making simple shows because our viewers are simple. We have to understand our audiences. We have to keep a lot of things in mind; only then would a show work.

When I think of my characters, especially females, I am very conscious. Even if she is the vamp, she should have some kind of dignity and positivity. I am conscious about showing different shades of women.

What’s your next film production?
We are already working on something and it’s too early to talk about it. I can only say that we want to make films with stories reflecting social issues.

The writer can be followed on Twitter @DebaratiPalitSi


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