Exclusive interview for IndiaGBnews by Mumbai bureau correspondent Hemang Palan
ROMESH Kalra is a highly reputed name in the Indian television industry. At a young age, Romesh rose to fame as he successfully directed popular Indian TV shows like ‘Bidaai’, ‘Betiyaan’, ‘Maayka’ and ‘Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin’.
Romesh is also the director of Indian TV industry’s highly popular and longest running show on Star Plus channel, ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’ (YRKKH). This show is telecast across the globe everyday and is hugely popular amongst British Asians too. YRKKH is produced by an eminent director and producer, Rajan Shahi under the banner of ‘Director’s Kut Productions’. YRKKH premiered on Star Plus channel on January 12, 2009.
In an exclusive interview with IndiaGBnews, Romesh Kalra shares his views:
Why is your show YRKKH how gained huge popularity across the globe? What has made this show a successful family melodrama?
YRKKH is the longest running show on Star Plus TV Channel. YRKKH has created history in the Indian television industry. This mega hit show is loved by NRI audience too, especially the British Asians. In this show, we have not portrayed any negative character. The positivity reflected in this show is our USP. YRKKH has thus been able to connect British Asians with India.
As a director of this show, how do you deal with various actors while shooting to get their best performances?
I work hard, and direct raw and new talented actors to attend my workshops primarily dedicated to boost the qualitative output of performance in YRKKH. And many times I too imitate emotions of characters before the shot and ask actors to copy my performance in a particular scene. I make actors comfortable on the set while shooting. And, that trick works wonders!
How important is the quality of the script while shooting a grand show like YRKKH? Do you as a director also contribute to the scripting of this show?
For any TV show, the script is its soul. Especially in a hit show like YRKKH, scripting gets paramount importance as we do not compromise on factual representations. Our scenes are based on real-life incidents. As a director, I was totally involved in the scripting process while shooting the initial episodes of YRKKH. Nowadays, my involvement is merely limited to discussing the story ideas broadly as our creative team has gained immense strength over a period of time.
Let me state to you a secret behind my contribution to the story line of this show. I have always lived in a joint family amidst many family members staying happily under one roof here in India. It’s traditionally been my culture. As YRKKH is a family oriented show, my contribution to its story line has thus always been considered highly valuable by the show’s producer and my friend, Rajan Shahi.
YRKKH is also well-known for its dialogue and well-crafted scenes. How do you guide all actors of this show to communicate their messages in a simple manner?
I carefully study my actor’s strengths and weaknesses, and thereafter craft my scenes accordingly. I give due credit to my entire team and the crew for allowing ample space to the show’s actors for giving natural and real performances in their comfort zones. No actor can perform properly under stress. I don’t believe in complicated choreography. The best way to connect with an audience is through simple story telling.
Many young British Asians living in the UK wish to join Bollywood and Indian television industry as actors. What is your advice to these NRI youngsters?
The Indian film and TV industry is growing at a very fast pace, and so it will continue to throw ample opportunities for actors, directors, technicians, etc. I believe that success is guaranteed if one works hard and truthfully. An actor’s ability lies in expressing his or her life experience in an impressive manner. With confidence, an actor has to communicate real experiences to the audience through a ‘reel’ world. British Asians are most welcome in Mumbai!