Ekta Kapoor Curated

Producer, director and entrepreneur

CURATED BY :  

This profile has been added by users(CURATED) : Users who follow Ekta Kapoor have come together to curate all possible video, text and audio interview to showcase Ekta Kapoor's journey, experiences, achievements, advice, opinion in one place to inspire upcoming directors. All content is sourced via different platforms and have been given due credit.

  • How’s your relationship with Laksshya, how’s it been being a bua...?

    Finally, I think I have become important to him. It has taken a long time but I managed breaking the ice. He’s such a boy’s boy, he loves his dad and dada. Me and mom are just like props in the house for him. He’s like - I just want to get my stuff done and you guys can go, I just want to play with these boys. But now finally he’s calling out to me and coming to my room every morning. I wake up in the morning and I get to hear him screaming ‘Bua, Bua!’ and it’s the pleasure of a lifetime. There is no other emotion that can come even close to what you feel when your nephew calls your name.

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  • Which series would you love to remake, if you had a chance you would start on it right away. "Orange is the new Black" or some other?

    There are many, "This Is Us...". Orange Is the New Black, I would love to remake in India, but I don’t know if our audience is ready for it. Also there is this really cool show that I love... Shameless, it’s outstanding.

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  • What’s your all time favourite show or web series?

    I quite liked the Mentalist and The House of Cards but my all time favourite is Orange Is the New Black.

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  • There has been talk that you are making a desi version of Game of Thrones and adapting Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham to the small screen. What's your take?

    very day I hear something new. I won’t deny that my new soap on Sony has a lot of colour like Kabhi Khushi..., but the story is completely different. As far as this Game of Thrones talk is concerned, I am doing this huge show, it’s for the app, it’s bigger than any other historical. It’s about what happened to Salim and his last love, which is Mehrunissa who became Noor Jehan, while you think that the love of Salim was Anarkali and it ended like in Mughal-e-Azam, it actually begins from there to meeting this woman who is far stronger than him. She is married to another man, a man who worked for him and for 20 years he waited for her. She was his 20th queen. So this forbidden love story based in the Mughal era, it’s going to be presented in a larger than life scale, I’m exploring even the debauchery that was there, I am recreating the era and it’s a very expensive show. There are no dragons, there is no fantasy but the scale, the size is such that people are immediately calling it Game of Thrones. It is not Game of Thrones, it is probably closer to Mughal-e-Azam.

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  • Naagin is one of your most popular serials right now, what’s your perspective on why it’s working with the audience?

    ecause we as Indians and even Americans in their own space love folklore. I would love to see a great typical love story in a atypical world where there is a vampire and a woman and they are crazily in love, the bad boy just gets big teeth and he can kill you and he can love you. It brings to life India’s most famous shape-shifting folklore of a snake woman and it’s always about vendetta, so the story doesn’t get predictable ever because there is nothing that has to stem from logic or end at logic. No one picked up the idea, we did it.

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  • Do you see people not going to cinemas after OTT has come, as a major challenge for films going forward and is Alt Balaji an answer for that?

    I think converging mediums for content consumption is exactly where we are heading to. So if Alt Balaji has to succeed then it has to create content that fights all the digital platforms and it doesn’t matter what brand I get on, as long as it is entertaining people will watch. As far as movies go, it’s got to be an experience now, it was always communal viewing, the small films will yet survive, but they may not release in theatres, they will come for maybe a weekend and people like me, well I don’t have a lot of money now, but people like Netflix will pay a lot of money to get these films in the next weekend or maybe 4 days after on their platform. So the film will be financially viable, it may not be in the theatres. The theatres will have those 10 big ticket releases every year, so the theatres will also survive.

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  • After the terrible phase that you went through, what drew you to Veere Di Wedding?

    During the time when I was making Veere Di Wedding, I was pretty much down in the dumps financially, as far as movies go. TV was giving us enough to sustain, and we had just about raised money to make content for the app and I was to focus on making a big business out of it. I had already heard the script of Veere Di Wedding from Rhea (Kapoor), it was lovely but for everyone it was a bad proposal because it was women, it was expensive at that time, so the question was why are you putting your finances out there for a film which is all about women and anyway you’ve given 6 flops and you’re again going to invest into something that doesn’t look like a sure shot hit. But the year where I thought I was making sure shot hits was the year everything went wrong, so I thought maybe I was making proposals and not films, so let me just take a creative call. But it got into a roadblock. I requested her saying that all these years you’ve backed my creativity, do it once more and we will make it financially viable, which luckily for me, my film team did. We have already sold Veere Di Wedding to Zee for a great price and now we only have a certain amount to cover. But at that time it was a big decision and my mother was like - if you are so sure about this, then we will go ahead with it. We will not jeopardise our investors, we will try to make it financially viable, we’ll do pre-sales far far earlier than otherwise. We won’t look at selling the film to make a profit but we’ll sell it at the right time and not make a loss. So I went ahead and picked up the film. I think it’s a sassy film. It may initially make you a little uncomfortable, but it later makes you live with the fact that women don’t have to be fitting in. That’s the beauty of this movie. People are like - ‘Is this your idea of feminism?’ and I’m like ‘yeah’, because to me feminism has nothing to do with becoming a leader or an achiever or a scientist or an astronaut. I think we should just stop putting women on pedestals or expect them to rise to the occasion or be an ideal example of what a woman should be. A woman should just be! Why can’t we just be?

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  • Have you deliberately slowed down on your film production business to focus on Alt Balaji, and are you finding making films not as viable as they were before?

    We are a company of limited resources, we do not have the financial backing of an international giant. We are not an Amazon, we are not a Netflix, this is the money we created out of selling our episodes on various TV channels. Luckily we got a great investment to start the app, knowing fully well that it is a business that will grow. At that time to take such a high risk with movies was not on. Especially because we had a spate of flops, so our board did do a knuckle rapping but we then have set up the app, it is doing well, we’ve got another set of investments from Reliance, we are not using any of this money to make anything but the business that we think will have the highest amount of scalability and valuation. Now, things are different so there is a deliberate attempt to do movies because there is a way you can financially save yourself in movies.

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  • And how tough has it been to attract subscribers and generate revenue, when do you think you will break even?

    Break even, according to our initial plan was year 4. We aren’t looking to break even before that. We have a revenue model that is pretty decent. I can’t give you numbers but it’s been an overwhelming ride, let me put it that way.

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  • Why did you choose to not continue as a content generating production house that would provide software to an OTT and instead launch an OTT platform yourself and how tough has it been to get revenue in through the viewer subscription model?

    For 23 years my company has done more than 1 lakh episodes and we don’t have IP ownership (copyright) of any of that content. It’s different in films, you create some content and you share the IP with the studio. Internationally, the IP stays with the producer, here the IP doesn’t stay with me. We had become a cash rich company but our service job was done, now it was important to actually own the customer and own the IP of the content you create, because that’s where the value lies. Having a digital set up does not require you to have a huge budget for distribution. So setting up content distribution would be easier, marketing would still be expensive but your content could now reach everywhere. Netflix is great, so is Amazon, but how much of an idea do they have of the local content? They have come in with big bucks, they have a great e-commerce business and Netflix has its set audience, but there is a whole world out there that doesn’t speak English. Ours is a homegrown app with a high understanding of the local taste. I definitely don’t give you what you are getting on TV, I am giving you something that you would never get on TV and it’s personalised taste programming.

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  • Test Case and Bose: Dead / Alive have been your most popular and successful shows. Are there any figures in terms of viewership that you have that can give us an idea of what kind of reach these shows have had?

    Actually, it’s a myth. For a certain audience Test Case and Bose worked miraculously. For another type of audience, Kehne Ko Humsafar Hai and Kar Le Tu Bhi Mohabbat, for another type of audience, it’s Ragini MMS. The numbers of course differ and I cannot give out which are the top 3 shows. We get such strong analytics that I know exactly which show triggered subscriptions. You have a few episodes free but we know that from the 3rd episode this show triggered subscriptions.

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  • How do you see your journey in the digital space so far, what have your learnings been?

    My learnings have been that we always imagined digital to be small, snacky and we imagined it to be only for the youth, which is a big myth. This huge digital world is for anyone with a smart phone who can access content. What was actually liberating and what our biggest learning was - we think people are of a certain type and that we can box them with a certain type of entertainment. There are 100s of stories that slip between movies and TV. Movies need very big stars and so many times you can’t tell a story because you don’t have those stars. In television you can’t do anything radical because you are reaching a million homes at the same time. This liberating medium that we got into made us realise that the ability to cater to polarised tastes only exists in this medium.

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  • Do you sometimes dumb-down content because you need to make sense to the masses?

    You basically make it more entertaining, more colloquial, and more understandable because I believe TV is all about great basic thoughts! Things that you and I can see all around but no one has picked up! A basic great thought is a thought that occurs everyday, but no one has been able to pick it up and use it as a concept for a whole show. The thought behind Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi was that every day, every generation passes on a legacy to their men; they give their businesses, their homes and everything else to their sons. But the women are expected to give their kitchen, their son and their power to the new woman who comes in. It is actually so much tougher for the Indian woman to give up something on which her whole life depends. The thought behind Kasauti Zindagi Ki was cursed love. Everyone in the world probably has had one love that did not materialise into a relationship. A thought like this is a basic great thought.

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  • Is it possible to harvest creativity in a disciplined way?

    Yes, if you are an entrepreneur. I always say, forget talent, give me passion. Talent can be built, but not passion. I saw Steve Jobs in an interview. He said, “Just do what you love”. I loved it. Millions of times, I have had research coming to me saying, “You do this with your show, and it will work”. I say that it is not about what they [the audiences] want; it is about what they don’t know they want. That, you should know!

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  • How do you balance creativity with discipline?

    I think there is a big misconception about creativity. It’s almost taken to be whimsical. If you are sitting for weeks and then get one little idea — it means you are a whimsical-creative person. I normally avoid that kind of creativity. I align myself with a number of different professionals — some do take weeks and months to think up an idea, but at the same time you have a number of passionate and young professionals who come up with a million ideas. They may not all be brilliant. Creativity means a bundle of a million things and instinct means — here’s a great thought and I need to nurture it. That instinct of picking up the right professional and picking up the right thought doesn’t have to be whimsical.

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  • What are the critical qualities one needs to succeed in the creative economy?

    One is basic instinct! You have to know and smell your viewer. Whoever I am catering to — [even] the housewife sitting at home — I need to know her taste! So, instinct is probably the driving force that would stand out for any creative entrepreneur. The second and most important thing would be “evolving”. I have realised that the taste of the viewer can constantly change. So you need to sniff out the need for change. Constantly restructuring your own business to cater to changing taste is imperative. You can become successful by doing a certain kind of content [as per] your instinct. [But] you need to reach out to people constantly. The very next year you might have to re-evolve that same instinct to align yourself to the new state and probably pre-empt it.

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  • Do you see yourself as an entrepreneur? Give me your sense of the creative economy.

    Yes, I am an entrepreneur but not in the conventional sense. I have learnt business as time passed, but I do not have a B-school education. Speaking of the creative economy, it is a completely new field. Films have been there for the last 100 years but television, media, content for mobiles have just made everything so much larger. We now suddenly realise that this is an environment-friendly industry which requires very little capital; though it requires absolute skills. And when the medium gets aligned to the content, it creates a whole new breed of professionals. I think the time has come for media schools to be considered mainstream and present a choice of professions. We are going to have various niche channels and we are going to have regional movies coming up. Be it music, films or new media, there is going to be need for fresh content. In it, the creative and the business side will get enough prominence. I think we are seeing the creative economy as just the tip of an iceberg. It is going to fully reveal itself after 10 years. The mediums are actually developing and evolving. Once 3G or 4G comes in, people will want instant gratification as far as entertainment goes. So, there will be professionals catering to that need.

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  • From where your love for Gods came in?

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  • How important is your instincts to you?

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  • What will be the next big change in the OTT space?

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  • Where would you like to head in the next 5 years?

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  • How has your son changed you as a person?

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  • Has your life changed since you became a mom?

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  • Is there a sense of want to touch upon the level of American television?

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  • Do think writers are the most important element for any show?

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  • What excites you the most in the industry today?

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  • What do you think about the censorship on OTT platforms?

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  • Is there any reason for moving to the sensational content when it comes to films?

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  • After some of your films didn't do well, was there a shift after that?

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  • Do you feel the television will be left behind with the emergence of OTT?

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  • Is there one medium that excites you more than others?

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  • How you decide upon television or a digital medium, when a show script comes in?

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  • How is Alt Balaji doing now?

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  • How was Ekta Kapoor when her films went through a bad phrase?

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  • How did the mood change at home when Tushar's baby came in?

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  • Do you see any ramifications of independent producers emerging?

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  • Do you see any ramifications of independent producers emerging?

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  • You got slow when it comes to movies. Why is that?

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  • Do you think the television viewership is going down because of the emergence of digital platforms? What are your views?

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  • What are your views on Censorship?

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  • What thought gave birth to "The Dirty Picture" film?

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  • Do you think you have an edgy streak in you, though you have started it from simple series?

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  • Where did Alt Balaji stem from?

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  • How Alt Balaji shows your other side of creativity?

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  • What does success mean to you?

    Success is wholesome. It can’t be singular. A successful career is one part of your life. But a successful life is one with complete happiness and acceptance. It’s about making the best of a situation and living with a smile.

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  • Your soaps made stars out of actors like Smriti Irani, Sakshi Tanwar, Ram Kapoor... Does it give you a sense of power?

    Not at all. Who am I to create stars? Unke naseeb main tha toh woh ban gaye. I might have worked with 500 people, not everyone has become a star. Each one comes with his own destiny. It’s important to remain grounded.

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  • What is that one factor that has kept you going?

    I’m extremely competitive. I can’t be second best. My reputation matters to me the most. When someone says you’ve made a bad film, I accept it and move on but not without renewed zest. I can’t have someone saying aapne mere paise gava diye (you drowned my money). If I’m making a serial for the ‘grandmother’ then she should like it. I’m client conscious.

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  • What kind of a boss are you?

    I’m terrible. I torture them (my team). But only people who want to be tortured work with me. And they work with me for years because they love it. We’re like family and have each other’s back always. People can say anything to me but not a word to my team. I can tell my team what I want. I make them work 10 times harder. They’re scared before showing me an episode. But when they do a good job, I’ll do anything for them.

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  • Much has been written about your volatile temper. How much does it affect your work?

    Some of us are impulsive. We can’t take stress and lose our cool at times. I’m short-tempered but the tendency has been curtailed by 70 per cent in the past two years. I’ve trained myself not to lose my temper because even if you’re not in the wrong, it puts you in the wrong. Temper bursts speak of helplessness. So why not be smart? Even my mother (producer Shobha Kapoor) agrees I’ve matured from what I was earlier.

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  • Are you a magnanimous producer or do you believe in cutting costs?

    I don’t believe in fat in a company. I’m not a showman, I believe in content. I come from television where work happens within stringent budgets. I’m not indulgent. I may not be high on aesthetics but I believe in emotions and great dialogue. I’d rather pay my writers than pay for a beautiful set.

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  • What is your criterion when you select a script?

    It should work for me. I’m a viewer too. I watch movies in theatres. I never watch trials. So if something doesn’t work for me, it won’t work for anyone else. I enjoy the experience of going to the theatre on a weekend and watching a movie with the audiences. Incidentally, there’s no mantra that I follow. It’s just instinct. Box-office may not be the be all and end all. But if you’re making a commercial film, it’s the biggest yardstick.

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  • Is it your grit that has taken you so far or your religiosity?

    My God-fearing nature has nothing to do with my career. It just helps me to accept what comes my way, good or bad. It doesn’t get me success. In that case, I’d be sleeping at home thinking I’ve prayed today so things will work out. I work hard irrespective of the outcome. God helps me accept the outcome. I’m God-fearing but I’m not stupid about God. I don’t take Him for granted.

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  • How do you deal with a flop or a film that doesn’t win good reviews?

    My spirituality helps me realise that this is a part of life, a lesson learnt, now move on.

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  • What if you approve of a subject but there’s no guaranteed commercial viability?

    If something has to be made, then it has to be made. But I’m smart enough to make three projects for profit, which allows me to make this one offbeat film. You’ve to pay for your passion. But passion can’t be indulgence. You have to work doubly hard so that your passion gets paid for.

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  • Your TV shows hinged on kitchen politics while your films are bold and titillating.

    I made OUATIM, a classic gangster flick with a Bachchanesque kind of drama of the ’80s. Shor In The City was a slice-of-life film. The Dirty Picture and Ragini MMS again belonged to different genres – the former being bold and the latter having elements of horror. Last year, I did the comedy Kya Super Kool Hai Hum and now I’m coming with Ek Thi Dayan (about the supernatural) and Shootout At Wadala (based on a real-life encounter in the ’70s), OUATIM 2 and Ragini MMS 2.

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  • Did you believe you’d be at the top of the game in movies too?

    I began with Balaji Telefilms when I was 18. Balaji Motion Pictures produced a few films but I wasn’t involved. Since the last three years, I’ve decided to give it my best. Television is for the masses, liberating in its reach but limiting in its creativity. You can’t explore interesting zones. Like women can’t be portrayed with grey shades. And those limitations can frustrate you. So I moved to films. I’ve tried to do different movies, not necessarily mainstream ones.

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  • What were the challenges as a film producer & Director?

    My reputation of being the biggest TV producer actually worked as a disadvantage. People thought I only knew about sarees and jewellery and high-power dramas. They assumed I’d make only those kinds of films. I knew I wouldn’t be taken seriously. So I joined hands with someone like the talented Dibaker Banerjee . Also, this place is full of ‘the big boys club’. All actors belong to a ‘clique’. A new person has problems getting in. I had no clue how I’d manage. I approached many actors and they were patronizing, like ‘Of course, you should do films’. They were encouraging but no one actually said yes to a film.

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  • You were supreme as the soap queen. What made you get into the movie business?

    I did TV at a time when a lot of people were doing films. But the monopolistic market came to an end like it always does. You can’t be the only one ruling television for more than 10 years. When the monopoly ended, I was left with small profit margins and no intellectual properties, which is important for any producer. I had to value add to my company. So I ventured into films.

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  • Why are GECs constantly re-creating the stereotype? Can’t we make the content more contemporary and edgy?

    The basic rule is that we don’t question on TV. We want to entertain and we give a lot of family values; we give a lot of real stories also. But they cannot be questionable stories. They have to fit in the realm of acceptability by everyone in the family. We are now making shows which are way more progressive. But it becomes a little more radical when it questions age-old values. Then it becomes a bit of a problem. On TV, you have to make it way more conservative and way more palatable and that’s what we keep doing while creating content.

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  • Do you think there is a need to revisit intellectual property rights in the broadcast space? Shouldn’t content creators like you have a stake in it?

    The debate about Intellectual Property Rights (IP) being with producers has been going on for a long time. But channels have had great profit on certain shows and they have lost a lot of money too on others. While there is debate on whether we should have the IP or not, we are in the process of having our own app where we own the IP and we become the channel. At the end of the day, it’s going to be a big war and it will take some time. Moreover, television economics is such that if tomorrow you own the IP, your own monetisation will become very weak because you will have just one show to sell. When channels sell bulk of shows, they end up monetising it better. The fact that they should share that profit with the producers is definitely a debate that we should take on. But to own IP of TV shows with the kind of volume that we own on TV may not be the best thing to do.

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  • How do you plan to compete with the likes of Amazon and Netflix?

    They have the backing, money and great talent. But I can’t look at the negatives. I look at my positives and work.

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  • With ALTBalaji do you feel there is more scope for progressive and edgy content?

    I won’t call it progressive; I will call it individualistic content. The device is in your control and youcan make the choice whether you want to watch youth-centric content, political dramas or edgy content. But with TV it’s a different ball game as it’s no longer just about your choice.

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  • Was the journey from traditional to digital challenging in any way?

    It took time for us to adjust. I met a whole new set of writers. We fought the constant battles like—this is not TV, I hope you get it, writing is going to be very different on digital, big players know content because they come from America, you won’t understand because you come from TV, etc. But what TV has taught me is storytelling. I did my research and for one full year we worked on the app to develop the right stories. So on digital I actually began as a struggler.

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  • How tough is it to juggle between creating content for digital and TV?

    I think we all peddle between different roles every day. I am not doing anything special. We did Naagin and Udta Punjab in the same year. Also, the palette is constantly changing as we get into smaller and smaller towns.

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  • How has the response to ALTBalaji been so far?

    I’m actually shocked by the response. We were looking for 8 lakh downloads in five weeks and we managed 3 million in five weeks. But I want to put out more shows; in the coming months we are planning to put out 4–5 big shows on it.

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  • Don’t you get upset by criticism, grueling questions?.

    In my early days, I used to. But then one day, my dad explained to me that you got to pay a price for being famous.

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  • An actress told me that she gets a lot of recognition left, right and centre due to her appearance in just one serial, but the TRPs of her programme are very low? Can TRPs be manipulated?

    That actress has a very defeatist attitude. She should not get bowled over by a few praises. Even a TRP of 1 means five to six lakh (5-600,000) people. She is not aware of how many people can actually see a programme at a given instant. If TRPs could be manipulated, every producer would have been on a song off and on.

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  • Do you make sure with your writers that the scripts have not been plagiarised?

    It’s happening everywhere and you can’t do anything about it. At times, you may not have plagiarised, but since it exists in some book, someone springs up and you find yourself in a soup. I think that the Karishma… people got caught because they admitted to it.

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  • You seem to have a blind faith in astrologers, tarot card readers, numerologists. What do you have to say about it?

    There is no question of blind faith. After consulting them, I just feel psychologically satisfied. There have been a few cases where the calculations have not worked.

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  • Did Bansilal Jumaani give you the ‘K’ factor?

    No. Sunita Menon did. She told me that ‘K’ will always bring success into your life, do not desert it. Still, I consult Jumaani. His role is restricted to see whether the title assigned is numerologically lucky or not.

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  • Why not a bit of promiscuity and violence at least sometimes?

    My serials are seen by families sitting together at the dinner table. When I say families, it obviously includes all the children. I surely don't want to propagate wrong messages to the youth.

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  • Why are most of your serials in keeping with "the country's cultural values"?

    Most of the rich people do not need values, most of the poor do not have time for them. Hence, middle class values are what my serials are about. These middle-class values are incidentally in keeping with the cultural ethos of the country. As far as I am concerned, economically I belong to the high class, but morally to the middle class. If I know you correctly, you may be prompted to ask me why I made Kyunki... trotting out quotable quotes faster than popcorn from a popcorn machine. At that time, there were a lot of extramarital serials coming on air. I wanted to make a serial about a family that lived together. I wanted to make a serial around what I do not have. There are four of us in the house - we saw our cousins only on holidays. I missed us all living together. I created realism by creating real life characters, I created idealism by creating a family. And of course, I kept my flag of middle-class values flying.

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  • Why we don't see Tusshar in your productions?

    You couldn’t avoid that one, could you (grins)? If I take him in every movie, people will say that he is there because it is his home production. If I don't take him in every movie, people start floating shitty stories against us. It is amusing. To tell you the truth, my last film Kucch To Hai was a thriller. This one also has some similar elements of thrill. Is there any sense in giving him a similar role again? Tusshar is an ocean of talent. His best is yet to come. Shortly, I am going to announce one or two awesome projects with him. That would silence the wagging tongues, I hope.

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  • Finally, what's with the K-serial brand? Are you done with it? Do you believe in the superstition?

    I love the letter K. I am a K-addict. ( laughs) But, I have taken a sabbatical.

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  • You have come a long way from being associated with the K-brand of TV shows.

    I have just diversified. I don't think I have come a long way from it. I'd always go back to it when I feel the need to creatively do more shows. We underestimate the power of entertaining the country. Catering to India was far more challenging. I diversify just to explore my creativity. I believe that TV is a much bigger medium than films and I will always respect TV more.

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  • You have this larger-than-life image of a head-strong, highly-opinionated and even arrogant businesswoman. Is that the right perception?

    I think I am a bit too individualistic. I try to lead. I do not follow. Even if I don't lead, I would follow my own path. If that works for people, great. If it doesn't, great. I'd rather make my own mistakes and pay for them rather than pay for mistakes that are formulistic.

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  • Are you enjoying the critical acclaim and going to festivals?

    I am not going to become a critical-acclaim-junkie at all. I will not start falling for the bait of wanting to please people ever. I will do it the way I always do, with my gut. I cater to a viewer because that viewer's taste matters more than anyone else's and I will keep him first in mind and then, if it also appeals to the critics, so be it. On the other hand, it's a great feeling to be accepted by audiences that have never accepted you.

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  • It was quite surprising to see a film such as “Shor In The City” from your banner. What is the reason for that?

    “Shor In The City” may not have a high level of sexuality, but it has a level of humour that working professionals will enjoy. I think any kind of film that any audience would enjoy should be made by Balaji.

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  • First “Love Sex Aur Dhokha” and now “Ragini MMS”, which from trailers, seems to be quite bold for Indian audiences.

    We are catering to an existing audience. We are not creating the audience. Youngsters talk like that. They do talk about going away for a dirty weekend. The film does not to try and shock you, it's just accepting it. It shows a young couple who are comfortable with each other physically as they are mentally. Their conversations are real. They are not selling crass sexuality under the garb of being coy.

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  • What's your take on reality shows and society?

    Anything we watch is a taste being catered to. You cannot ignore the fact that there is a taste. Somewhere we have to remember we are a voyeuristic society, we like shock value. But reality shows don't get the numbers that fiction gets. The staple diet of TV is family entertainment.

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  • How much control or regulation do you personally exercise over themes shown on your TV fare?

    I have no interest in working against the sensibilities of all the mothers and family members who sit together. They know that if they watch a Balaji show, they will get a certain kind of entertainment. I do not want to break that connection ever.

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  • Why is your fare on the big screen and TV so different?

    TV is more mass-oriented. It allows and explores unity in diversity. It's all about going into various homes… you got to go into a conservative home and a modern home with the same drawing room entertainment. You need to get one interesting idea that connects with a much larger number of people than films can.

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  • What kind of cinema is Balaji planning to be associated with? Any ingredients that will be common?

    What I want to do with cinema is keep it as universal as possible. And, if it has to do with different niches, give them what you promised. There's no certain type of cinema, but there's a certain type of promise every film comes with. The agenda is to keep an eye on quality and live up to that promise.

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  • What is the reason behind stopping your project Krimson Skies?

    Krimson skies was ready to launch a few scenes were also shot but later I realized that this show had no future. The story was just about 150 episodes. This news also disappointed those actors who were supposed to play the leads.

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  • Todhi si zameen… Is a joint venture of yours Balaji and Smriti Irani, what do you have to say about it.

    TSZTSA is a reality show. It has been base don the problems of a normal individual of India. It includes a big star cast of Smriti Irani, Kiran karmarkar, Sanjit Bedi, Jaya and many other names.

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  • What was the reason that some of your big shows like Kaisa ye pyar hai and kya hoga nimmo ka didn't even came in top 20 in the daily TRPs?

    It is also a big question for me. Kya hoga nimmo ka was a very expensive drama having Ejaz Khan in it but still it didn't showed good TRPs. It had a shocking TRP of 0.5. Kaisa ye pyar hai included big names of televison like Iqbal Khan Hiten Tejwani Gauri Pradhan, but it also failed to have good TRPs. I guess it is due to the weak time slots of those serials.

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  • How many serials are you ending now?

    Kandy Floss has already been ended. Kavyanjali is ending this month. Kaisa ye pyar hai is ending in December or January. Kya hoga Nimmo ka is ending in September. K Street and kesar are also ending very soon but I cant say the month accurately. But my new shows will replace these shows. I am also thinking of ending Kahin to hoga because there is not much left in it.

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  • What was the reason that you are ending most of your present shows?

    Firstly I would like to inform everyone that from now onwards I have decided not to stretch my serials for 4 to 5 years. The reason behind ending many of my shows was the TRP problem. Many of my big budget shows did not showed good TRPs due to their weak time slot.

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  • What does success mean to you?

    Success is wholesome. It can’t be singular. A successful career is one part of your life. But a successful life is one with complete happiness and acceptance. It’s about making the best of a situation and living with a smile.

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  • Your soaps made stars out of actors like Smriti Irani, Sakshi Tanwar, Ram Kapoor... Does it give you a sense of power?

    Not at all. Who am I to create stars? Unke naseeb main tha toh woh ban gaye. I might have worked with 500 people, not everyone has become a star. Each one comes with his own destiny. It’s important to remain grounded.

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  • It’s believed there’s no friend like Ekta and there’s no enemy like you either…Is it true?

    I’m a Gemini, I can’t be a bad enemy. I forgive and forget easily. My friends will agree. I’m a good friend but I’m so caught up with my work that it doesn’t allow me to be the best kind of friend.

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  • What role does your family play in your business?

    My dad (veteran actor Jeetendra) is doing his own business and my brother (Tusshar) is busy acting. My mom handles the finances of my business. She reigns me in otherwise I would go overboard.

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  • What is that one factor that has kept you going?

    I’m extremely competitive. I can’t be second best. My reputation matters to me the most. When someone says you’ve made a bad film, I accept it and move on but not without renewed zest. I can’t have someone saying aapne mere paise gava diye (you drowned my money). If I’m making a serial for the ‘grandmother’ then she should like it. I’m client conscious.

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  • What kind of a boss are you?

    I’m terrible. I torture them (my team). But only people who want to be tortured work with me. And they work with me for years because they love it. We’re like family and have each other’s back always. People can say anything to me but not a word to my team. I can tell my team what I want. I make them work 10 times harder. They’re scared before showing me an episode. But when they do a good job, I’ll do anything for them.

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  • Much has been written about your volatile temper. How much does it affect your work?

    Some of us are impulsive. We can’t take stress and lose our cool at times. I’m short-tempered but the tendency has been curtailed by 70 per cent in the past two years. I’ve trained myself not to lose my temper because even if you’re not in the wrong, it puts you in the wrong. Temper bursts speak of helplessness. So why not be smart? Even my mother (producer Shobha Kapoor) agrees I’ve matured from what I was earlier.

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  • Are you a magnanimous producer or do you believe in cutting costs?

    I don’t believe in fat in a company. I’m not a showman, I believe in content. I come from television where work happens within stringent budgets. I’m not indulgent. I may not be high on aesthetics but I believe in emotions and great dialogue. I’d rather pay my writers than pay for a beautiful set.

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  • What is your criterion when you select a script?

    It should work for me. I’m a viewer too. I watch movies in theatres. I never watch trials. So if something doesn’t work for me, it won’t work for anyone else. I enjoy the experience of going to the theatre on a weekend and watching a movie with the audiences. Incidentally, there’s no mantra that I follow. It’s just instinct. Box-office may not be the be all and end all. But if you’re making a commercial film, it’s the biggest yardstick.

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  • Is it your grit that has taken you so far or your religiosity?

    My God-fearing nature has nothing to do with my career. It just helps me to accept what comes my way, good or bad. It doesn’t get me success. In that case, I’d be sleeping at home thinking I’ve prayed today so things will work out. I work hard irrespective of the outcome. God helps me accept the outcome. I’m God-fearing but I’m not stupid about God. I don’t take Him for granted.

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  • How do you deal with a flop or a film that doesn’t win good reviews?

    My spirituality helps me realise that this is a part of life, a lesson learnt, now move on.

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  • What if you approve of a subject but there’s no guaranteed commercial viability?

    If something has to be made, then it has to be made. But I’m smart enough to make three projects for profit, which allows me to make this one offbeat film. You’ve to pay for your passion. But passion can’t be indulgence. You have to work doubly hard so that your passion gets paid for.

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  • Were you apprehensive about the subject of a film like The Dirty Picture, since it was sensational?

    I was told I’d lose money as heroine-oriented films didn’t work but I had to make it. And it did well.

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  • Your TV shows hinged on kitchen politics while your films are bold and titillating. Why is it so?

    Sex is no longer taboo. Love Sex Aur Dhokha dealt with the contemporary social fabric. Then I made OUATIM, a classic gangster flick with a Bachchanesque kind of drama of the ’80s. Shor In The City was a slice-of-life film. The Dirty Picture and Ragini MMS again belonged to different genres – the former being bold and the latter having elements of horror. Last year, I did the comedy Kya Super Kool Hai Hum and now I’m coming with Ek Thi Dayan (about the supernatural) and Shootout At Wadala (based on a real-life encounter in the ’70s), OUATIM 2 and Ragini MMS 2.

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  • Did you believe you’d be at the top of the game in movies too?

    I began with Balaji Telefilms when I was 18. Balaji Motion Pictures produced a few films but I wasn’t involved. Since the last three years, I’ve decided to give it my best. Television is for the masses, liberating in its reach but limiting in its creativity. You can’t explore interesting zones. Like women can’t be portrayed with grey shades. And those limitations can frustrate you. So I moved to films. I’ve tried to do different movies, not necessarily mainstream ones.

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  • Why was it people were not really happy for you to step into films?

    People weren’t sure whether I had any idea of the movie industry. For example, Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai (OUATIM) took me long to cast. Milan Luthria wasn’t doing too well. I couldn’t believe my ears when Ajay Devgn said yes. He did so because he wanted to help Milan out. But it was a big one for me. There were more challenges when I ventured to make The Dirty Picture. I asked Emraan Hashmi because I had developed an equation with him after OUATIM. Vidya Balan had liked the script; but she wished to wait for the release of OUATIM. Of course, she liked it and agreed to do The Dirty Picture. The challenge was to pull off something with élan. The film’s content was grunge and sexual. But it was pure in some sense.

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  • What were the challenges as a film producer?

    My reputation of being the biggest TV producer actually worked as a disadvantage. People thought I only knew about sarees and jewellery and high-power dramas. They assumed I’d make only those kinds of films. I knew I wouldn’t be taken seriously. So I joined hands with someone like the talented Dibaker Banerjee for Love Sex Aur Dhokha. Also, this place is full of ‘the big boys club’. All actors belong to a ‘clique’. A new person has problems getting in. I had no clue how I’d manage. I approached many actors and they were patronising, like ‘Of course, you should do films’. They were encouraging but no one actually said yes to a film.

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  • You were supreme as the soap queen. What made you get into the movie business?

    I did TV at a time when a lot of people were doing films. But the monopolistic market came to an end like it always does. You can’t be the only one ruling television for more than 10 years. When the monopoly ended, I was left with small profit margins and no intellectual properties, which is important for any producer. I had to value add to my company. So I ventured into films.

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  • How did you start with your journey?

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  • Did you approach Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif for the 'Naagin' film?

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  • Is there anything at all that makes you fear something?

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  • How do you react to the critics who have a problem with the sexual content on the web series?

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  • Did you have any apprehensions before releasing Alt Balaji?

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  • What keeps your friendships going on for so many years?

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  • How did 'Lipstick Under my Burkha' came to you?

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  • What goes in your mind when you read a script?

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  • Do you get tired of people looking down on television?

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  • What empowers you?

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  • Any actors/directors you want to collaborate with, in the near future?

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  • Have you ever got into trouble because of speaking your mind?

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  • How does the episode model works on a digital platform?

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  • After the entry of digital medium, you think it will not be great for the Hindi films on box office?

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  • What is that one thing that you really want to do but you can't?

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  • Once your Facebook status said that you are bohemian in thought but conservative in action. What does that mean?

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  • What is creativity according to you?

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  • Is a television viewer different from a film viewer?

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  • From the list of most powerful women in Bollywood, who would you name?

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  • Dream cast for your most ambitious film would be what?

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  • Who is Bollywood's best looking man according to you?

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  • If a serial was to be made based upon your life, what would it be called?

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  • What is your advice to the aspiring women out there?

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  • What is that one thing you want to have in your life?

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  • What about men in your life apart from your family?

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  • What do you do in your personal time to rejuvenate yourself?

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  • You are quite famous for giving parties. What is the reason?

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  • What made you think of doing films?

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  • How did you come out of your bad phase?

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  • Where did your strong female protagonists come from?

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  • How do you deal with the expectations of the people?

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  • How much your mom has helped you in your work?

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  • In a male dominated industry, how difficult it was for you to make your own name?

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  • How was it like growing up Jeetu's Ji daughter?

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  • How does it feel when you decide to do things on your own?

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  • How has your son changed you as a person? Are you calmer now?

    He is not happy in my arms because of my rings and bracelets. I’ll soon have to give them up. I don’t know if he has brought any change in me as he is only three months old. I seriously think that I have better mornings now. A smaller being in the house always helps.

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  • You are one of the busiest personalities in the industry and also a mother. Do you ever suffer from the guilt of neglecting one for the other?

    I think my son has got a mother who is a workaholic. A lot of people keep asking me why I have to work? It is because I want to work. If you are working to support your family, then it is fine, but when you say it is your passion and you want to work, then it becomes an ambition, according to the society. And that’s wrong. I don’t think I have to take this call of giving up anything, now that I am a mother. I knew I am going to multitask and I have to give up a little bit of my social life. I knew I will be able to manage it well.

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  • As a creative individual, how do you challenge the boundaries and keep innovating?

    I make my own decisions. That’s the big power I have. Kya Kool Hain Hum was pretty wild, and I had to bear the backlash. But that didn’t stop me. I believe either I make it or someone else will.

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  • You are one of the very few women who own a successful studio. Does being a woman boss also dictate the kind of content the studio produces?

    No. A lot of people feel that I can dictate the content I am making, but actually, I can’t, because I run a business. And when you run a business, you have to make what people want to watch. Otherwise, you’ll be marginalised. That’s what people want you to do. I was told that I can’t make a comedy or sex comedy because I am a woman. I disagree and there lies the difference in my argument. I should be doing everything that is gender agnostic. Why should I be seen as a woman with walls? I have no problems with any content that I produce. Of course, I won’t produce misogynistic stuff.

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  • What’s your take on Supreme Court issuing orders to keep a check on the OTT content?

    My belief is if there is any prohibition in society, it will cause a bigger need. If they ban it, then I will have to produce more such content. You have to take risks, and keep working all the time.

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  • Your web platform — ALTBalaji — is producing content that’s bold, surprising and different from your TV shows? How do you keep ahead of the competition from foreign platforms such as Netflix or Prime?

    As I said, anything that I put out, will be too regressive for some. Others have a problem with too much sex and I am like ‘what’s the problem with sex?’ They (Netflix and Prime) are putting a lot of content so I have to make something even better. I am not in a competition with anyone. Netflix caters to the urban niche audiences and I deal with the mass audience who pays `30 a month for the app. The day you curb the natural need of the audience, you spoil it. People ask me how I am so bold and tell them ‘I have no problem with sex’. I think it is a natural thing and people either see it or consume it.

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  • A lot of veteran TV personalities have often said that TV has gone back by 50 years with the collective content it produces. Do you agree with it?

    I agree my shows are regressive. See, when you put your content in a public domain, it is open for criticism. So, while the West does Game of Thrones we do Naagin. What we are showing is regressive. But then, we are also happily watching a show with dragons and we have no problems with that. We can’t spend on special effects as much as they do. What we spend on an entire episode, they spend on a scene. We work with a lot of challenges and come up with content that may be not apt for the urban niche population. But that’s okay; we don’t make this content for them. A lot of viewers want escapism. They don’t want to watch reality on television. The urban audiences want to watch reality and that’s a worldwide phenomenon. The populist medium always gets pulled down because that deals with escapism. My audience wants to feel good and that happens when we suspend reality.

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  • For years, your content on television has been termed as regressive but your films are more modern. How do you choose the projects you want to produce?

    I think it depends on the individual viewing patterns. Television is something that is watched at home and in a family setting where nothing radical will be watched. It’s just the way we are as a society; we feel uncomfortable watching sex scenes with family. As a production house, we don’t take up radical topics, though our shows are very OTT, dramatic and melodramatic. We suspend reality all the time. As far as films are concerned, it is a choice. I pick up a topic, which has got a voice, and people go to the theatre to watch it. Their tastes are very different from the ones who watch my shows.

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  • How your life has changed after the baby?

    What has changed is that I have hired more staff and shifted my work home. You are supposed to be more responsible about your health also when you have a child. Eventually I told my friends, ‘I am a bad mom and we start from there’. Because (of) the amount of advice your are getting…

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  • How's your bonds with Smriti Irani now?

    Can you imagine? I met Smriti and Sakshi (Tanwar) for lunch in Delhi last week, when I was there to promote my app. I was telling them that they should now launch me. My connection with them is so strong. I was telling the most popular leading ladies of two of my longest-running soaps (Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Kii) that they are both in such positions of power that they should adopt me. Sakshi has just done Dangal, which is the biggest Bollywood blockbuster ever. And Smriti is in the cabinet ministry. I joked, ‘What the hell am I doing in life?’

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  • You are now one of the biggest players in the web-series space after you have launched ALT-Balaji. What do you think?

    Yes, it’s where I can tell clutter-breaking stories that people can consume alone. It is engaging, urban and relevant programming. Movies have to be watchable and payable. In other words, when you set out to watch a movie, it has to be an experience or an extravaganza. Otherwise it is app zindabad.

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  • Are you taking it slow in film production?

    I haven’t backed out of the film race fully because I personally think that all the three media — television, film and digital – will co-exist, but the movie industry has become binary. It’s not as if films are not being consumed. But sometimes, a film can hit rock-bottom while in other cases business can go through the roof. Since content is being consumed across various platforms now, you have to be smarter in your pre-sales; keep less dependency on theatrical. One has to find a method in the madness.

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  • Removing all the powers, what will you do if you become a God for a day?

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  • What do you think is your worst quality?

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  • What do you think is your best quality?

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  • How often do you meet yourself in your busy schedule?

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  • Do you differentiate love and marriage? What's your opinion on the idea of marriage?

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  • Do you believe in Destiny?

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  • How does your belief and hard work coexists?

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  • Do you see a separation between God or Religion or is it one and the same thing for you?

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  • To achieve success you have to be harsh sometimes. Is there any change you see in your journey with respect to that?

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  • What is your biggest vulnerability?

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  • What is that makes you vulnerable?

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  • How do you internalize the bad moments and experiences ?

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  • How was experience when you shifted to produce films from television shows ?

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  • How your journey has been through as women director and producer ?

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  • What are you bingeing on? And is there show made internationally or here that you’re jealous of?

    The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. It’s fantastic. It’s exactly what I want to do one day – make a show about our conditioning about what a perfect life is and when that breaks, how you have to find your individuality. I want to write a story on that basic germ. I wish I could do something that’s even one-tenth as empowering and uplifting as that.

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  • A common criticism that one reads of Indian web shows and ALT is that it’s a rehash of older ideas on TV with a lot of sex, riskier language… Are we really reinventing the wheel on digital?

    I saw Mirzapur yesterday and I loved it. I called up the writer and said you have made a fantastic soap opera. And he said thank you because I actually believe it was. I suffer from what is called the anti-populist propaganda. I read a review recently about a show of mine which actually described what I must have thought and what I must have told my team before making it. It said that I must have told my team ‘aaj kal women empowerment ka topic chal raha hai. Let’s make a show on it’. You would have never been able to give me credit because it comes from someone from television. When actually setting up a show (The Test Case) in 2016 about something that was spoken about in 2018, reading up about women in combat roles, would have been a fairly new thing for someone to do. It got me the response, audiences came on, but someone has decided to instead look at what I must have said in a meeting. That reeks of so much bias! I wanted to send it back to the reviewer and say first stop talking about me, talk bout the show.

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  • You started in April 2017, by the end of 2018 you have about 30 shows. For 2019 you have about 40 more in production and 30 more ready and cleared. How are you achieving this?

    I’m constantly hearing people. I have about 20 curators with me and they are constantly finding new people. We never say no to anyone. We hear everybody’s story. I keep saying I don’t care about bio datas – keep them aside. My development team has been given a mandate that you have to get 20 shows. I mean 20 approved by me. So you have to open the fulcrum – it has to be 50 or 100 shows. If you don’t play volume you wont be able to know what is working for what type of audience. If I came with an international library behind me it would be different. But I have to start from scratch. So I’m playing catch up!

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  • What do you actively do to stay connected to what people want to watch, given that your life can be insulated?

    You have to constantly make content and see what works. That’s how you realise how their taste and palette is constantly changing. We have an entire team going through data analysis, we are pretty thread bare about it. We are never judgmental about our audience’s taste. The data is amazing. I look at the highest time spent on videos – sometimes it’s 8 mins, 11 mins, sometimes it’s 27 mins! We also have a sexually motivated population who have skipped two-three episodes just to see one sex scene. I can see the sudden bump in the viewing patterns! It happened apparently with Netflix also. Whenever it says nudity, there’s a huge bump in viewership.

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  • You has tweeted calling your show "Gandii Baat" as India’s Black Mirror. What does this mean?

    That’s not what I meant. Basically the person I was writing to had a conversation with me earlier about Black Mirror. Now Black Mirror is a futuristic world which is made alive with fresh stories. We look at them and think this is probably what will happen in the future. Gandii Baat was taking the most bizarre tales out of an Indian family that could have the possibility of happening. So apparently once a whole village committed suicide together on Mahashivratri thinking they will meet Shivji. It’s insane! The last story was about this group of women who say they are sleeping with a snake. The whole village is angry because they want to know which man is coming and sleeping with the women. They can’t do anything because it’s a snake that turns into a man and makes love to them. And it’s not one woman, but 20 of them. So when I heard this story, more than the sexual part of it, I just went ‘are you serious?!’ Eventually it was found out that these women wanted to have sex and their husbands had moved out for work. They knew they would be completely marginalised by society so they got together and made this story that they’re being violated by this snake man. I thought it was bizarre but interesting. So what Black Mirror does is that it opens your mind a little more to the possibility of something happening in the future. This is about the possibility of something happening in a village. So that’s the whole idea!

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  • I was reading an article about ALTBalaji in Fortune and it said that while other platforms such as Netflix and Hotstar cater to a more urban audience, the edge you have is that your content is focussed on rural India. Is that the audience you’re specifically targeting?

    Between rural and urban is a huge audience called the urban mass which is what I’m actually catering to. Urban mass is the world between Netflix and Naagin, which is a lot of people. This means I’m not the Naagin audience but I can’t watch Narcos either because I’ve not learnt English in the best school. This used to be the earlier TV viewer who should have got a updated TV show. From Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi they should have gone into a Desperate Housewives, then a Boston Legal, then maybe the earlier crime dramas and then Narcos. But they got Sasural Simar Ka and Naagin instead. This is a huge 30-40, maybe 60 million base. And they’re from cities like Mumbai and Delhi. Mumbai is not south Bombay only – it’s also Vashi, Andheri, little bit of Nagpur. In movies I’d say it’s not a Rohit Shetty film, not Anurag Kashyap, it’s a Karan Johar film.

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  • With almost 30 OTT platforms in the country, do you worry about getting lost in a sea of content? How do you stand out?

    I agree. It’s a huge fear. If you’re not clear about the content you’re making and just creating a library, there won’t be much of an impact. What is not available is individual taste content. There isn’t much for the Indian who wants to watch mid-sized content which is 10-12 episodes and yet wants a sticky story. That is still less and requires a little bit of finance. It will take the big players to create that content. But yes, it is scary. Every time you get up in the morning a new show has launched.

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  • What has it taken from a struggler to 9 million subscribers on digital?

    Before working on the content I tried to understand the simple psychology of Indian viewers. What’s happening is that television is becoming more and more small town, so the urban audience is getting free. Every time one urban kid stops watching television, one rural kid takes over. The urban audience is not being catered to. Everyone thinks the new audience will move to the new medium because we don’t have subscription TV like Showtime and HBO like America does. But what we’re not understanding is that even the rural audience has three different viewing patterns. One is the communal viewing pattern which going to films with family and friends. Then is family viewing, which is content that the elders in the family allow you to watch or what is acceptable for you in front of them. Then comes the time you spend with yourself – which is your individual viewing pattern. This has come into play with digital. And it’s not only sex. Take Mirzapur or Apharan – it’s abusive, it’s entertaining, it’s masala. I don’t want to watch this with my daughter and mother in the room.

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  • What is the future of content startups in India?

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  • Reed Hastings says Indians more proactive than Chinese in consuming paywalled content. What's your opinion ?

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  • Does Jio partnership mean low priority on paywalled content?

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  • Will Jio-Alt Balaji partnership redefine content distribution?

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  • How has the journey from sponsored TV content to paywalled content creator been?

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  • How has digital platform changed entertainment business?

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  • As a creative individual, wouldn't you want to challenge the boundaries coming into your way of creating more sensible content?

    No. You can't, because the women, whom you are catering to and want to tell your stories to, will not watch it because of the medium, and it defeats the very purpose of that creativity. They are not going to watch it, so, what's the use of making it? Understand that we come from a society, which believes there is a family face and the TV audience keeps that face on. The internet is your new private life. Putting content on TV (meant for the internet) is actually saying, 'You now watch it here, with your family.' And the families are not ready for it. I don't think things will change on TV because the youth and the people, who want more individualistic stories, will walk away from the medium. But it doesn't still mean that television has not taken on hugely important social issues. TV cannot take on radical issues, to a different kind of society, one that makes contradictory views come alive. But when it comes to basic issues, which are very important to a large part of the country, TV has been the biggest fighter. And the re-incarnation bit is absolute folklore. Internationally, you have vampires, you have folklore there and we have folklore here.

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  • You have said that you are aware of the influence that television has, so why not use it more responsibly?

    You can't get radical on television. That's a problem. I have tried. I made a show about a woman, whose marriage is not working and she develops a bond with another man. Unfortunately, India refused it. I had 70 per cent women turning around and saying, 'So, what if her man has an affair? That doesn't mean you will leave him!' And that really, really disillusioned me. There were also women who said that they wanted to watch the show but they couldn't watch it on TV because their husbands are sitting right next to them.

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  • Don't you think TV perpetuates superstition, black magic and ideas such as re-incarnation?

    Absolutely not. Why wouldn't you say anything when in Game of Thrones, she (Emilia Clarke's Daenerys Targaryen) is giving birth to dragons? I have a problem with liberals having an issue with TV shows because you don't see those shows and make comments on them. You don't go and see what's going on in television. There are millions of shows, and they are not just from my production house, which have liberal female characters. You had a Kyunki showing marital rape, when no one else did it. But you saw a hugely built Tulsi shooting her son and made fun of it but you didn't see the impact it had on India. There's a woman, who shoots her son because she felt it was unacceptable for a man to rape his wife. So, when you make fun of that character, you make fun of the very ideology you are supporting. Why do you think the shows about mother-in-law and daughter-in-law touch a chord? It's because that is an issue for a lot of women. According to Boston Research Group, from 2001 to 2005 (HuffPost couldn't independently verify this claim), the TV shows are the real reason why women at home actually took on family decision-making, because Tulsi and Parvati (the protagonist from Ekta's TV show Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki) did it. Indian women were not having a chance to have a conversation at their homes, the men would take the decision and the women would follow.

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  • People have been fed and conditioned into liking the same kind of content over and over again for Televisions. Do you think, it will take time for that tide to change?

    No, but it's a paying industry. Television is a very simplified, non-questioning medium. We can be progressive on television, but we can't be radical on television. This is the problem I have with the liberals, the so-called thinkers. Which movie has dealt with the subject of transgender? The transgenders have been represented on television and that too on a very successful show. We took on the issue of marital rape in Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. But clearly you see the saree, the make-up, the melodramatic treatment.

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  • In your interview with Mid-Day, you said that people are not ready for progressive content on television. You still stand by that?

    Yes, I still say this. I don't know if you can use the term progressive but we live in a country, which is extremely diluted when it comes to television. At least in three instances, I have made stories which are different and they just haven't worked.

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  • On one hand, you are doing a film, which genuinely empowers women but don't you feel stuff like Great Grand Masti works against the positive agenda of movies like Lipstick Under My Burkha?

    If I think about it, Kya Kool Hai Hum was crass. That I will say. But being crass and being anti-feminist are two different things. You can have a problem with an over the top television show, but you can't say it's anti-feminist. That's the confusion, which happens. There was a song in Kya Kool Hai Hum 3, which I found extremely problematic. But I don't have a problem with sex. I will make Kya Kool Hai Hum 4, 5 and more, films with as much as sex as possible because I have a problem with sexual crimes, not sex.

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  • You produce/distribute films such as Lipstick Under My Burkha, Udta Punjab, Love, Sex, Aur Dhoka and Lootera, which are very cerebral but then you are also the same person who bankrolls movies a Kya Kool Hai Hum and Great Grand Masti. Why such a conflict?

    I don't want to fall into categories. Honestly, we will never shy away from sex and sexual content, and I have no interest in being put on a pedestal because the first thing that comes with it is the fear of being pulled down. I have gone through it for many years. But I do something, which I believe in, and when I did a Kya Kool, I loved it. It was the funniest comedy ever. It was in the space of American Pie. These are double standards I fight all the time. We have a problem with sex, but we don't have a problem with sexual crimes.

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  • Being a woman plays a part in making choice, right?

    Of course, it does. We are constantly told, 'It's a good film but female-oriented films don't work.' So, these daddys and uncles of the industry tell me this and they think that such a film will never get an audience and they think that it's okay if I am backing it, like it's some charity. It makes me more determined in my resolve to make the film work to prove them wrong.

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  • After Udta Punjab in 2016, you got Lipstick Under My Burkha under your label. For lack of a more refined word, you added masala in its marketing to make it more ...?

    I found the film entertaining. The problem with preachy and pretentious films is that they exclude you, you don't enjoy them, and the whole point about making films with, say, creme de la creme taste, is that you are there to educate, not entertain. You come with that purpose, but you end up educating those, who are already educated, because the rest are not watching. So, I felt somewhere these films were missing the point. The other option is for you to become entertaining and use infotainment in a way that you don't let the viewers know that you are informing them as your basic flow itself becomes entertaining.

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  • When it comes to subjects that revolve around female protagonists, do you think being a woman, you can empathize with the subject especially with a story like, say, a Lipstick Under My Burkha?

    I don't think I have put myself out there for any other film of mine more than Lipstick. So yes, I wouldn't have felt as strongly as i did about the film, if I weren't a woman. There's so much patronising that has happened. So, while there's a group of young girls, who say that they want to watch the movie, and that makes me happy, there's a section that also says, 'Good, you picked up the film. You should support women. But don't expect too much. Art films get this much only, they will open at a certain figure and will run only this much.' So, the more I hear this, the more I am determined to support such cinema.

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  • Do you think MeToo Movement has helped women?

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  • Where did your beliefs come from?

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  • Is digital giving sense of great freedom?

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  • Do you ever feel weight down while making content that will be seen by millions of people?

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  • At what point do you start worrying about the ratings?

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  • In the three divisions of television, film and digital, how many people do you employ?

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  • What is the count of the scripts you do for a day?

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  • How do you make so many number of serials, web series and films at the same time?

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  • Do you think television is going to be left behind as OTT media services are trending these days?

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  • What is the direction you would like to head into next 5 years?

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  • How Ekta Kapoor's typical day is spent?

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  • How do you decide whether a show should be telecast on television or on applications?

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  • If we look into your brain, what things will we find?

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  • If we look into your brain, what things will we find?

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  • Have you done your brain mapping?

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  • What excites you the most & what worries you the most about current entertainment landscape?

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  • Are you making notes by observing your life around you?

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  • Has your motherhood impacted the content you are creating?

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  • Is there anything you didn't expect at all before coming into motherhood?

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  • Has there been any change in your work after coming into motherhood?

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  • What is it like to be in a motherhood?

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  • How do you know the pulse of people like what people actually want to see as a source entertainment?

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  • How do you deal with failure?

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  • What is the one quality in you that makes you a successful person?

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