Ekta Kapoor
Chaya Unnikrishnan (DNA; June 28, 2017)

Last year, there was news of Ekta Kapoor putting her film business on hold due to various issues, including her films not doing well at the box-office. However, this year, she is back on track with Veerey Di Wedding that she is co-producing. There were reports of her launching Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh’s daughter Sara Ali Khan with the movie Kedarnath, too. When asked about the film, she says the finances are still being worked out and she can’t make an announcement yet.

In the meantime, the TV czarina is gearing up for her latest shows, Chandrakanta, and Kundali Bhagya, that is a Kumkum Bhagya spinoff. Here she talks about her film plans, her recently launched app, Alt Balaji, and her upcoming shows.

Last year, there was news about you shutting down your film production, but now you are back to making movies. What changed?
When you have a lot of flops because of the piracy issue and various other problems — I had an issue with every film I made last year — you get bogged down. But then you always pull up your socks and start again. That’s what we have done. We have started Veere Di Wedding, the shooting of which will start soon. I will be co-producing Laila Majnu with Imtiaz Ali. It will be a contemporary take on the love story. I will also be announcing another film very soon.

Tell us about your movie Kedarnath that is launching Sara Ali Khan?
The finances are still being worked out. Till they are worked out properly, I can’t make any announcements.

Having launched your app, you are straddling three mediums —films, TV and web? Which is your favourite?
Frankly, I enjoy web the most because it’s a whole new world out there. I can tell the best stories in just 20 episodes. But TV is my first love and as far as movies are concerned, they are a great love affair to happen. But seriously, the beauty of having three different verticals is I can use different platforms to introduce new talent. Five producers have made web series for me and all the shows have worked well. Now, if somebody has a great story and I feel it can’t be on TV, I have the option of making a film. If somebody comes to me with a story for a movie, which I think will not work as a film, but make for a great web series, I can do that. It’s the time to see all the stories be told on different mediums.

Since Internet has no censorship will you be making bold shows?
I don’t want to go the steamy, bold route. I am very clear, I want to make good stories. They could be edgy, individualist and if sex is required then that’s great. But just for the sake of it, I don’t want to be bold on the net.

You are launching Chandrakanta, when one is already on air. There will be a lot of comparisons and competition..
When the other show came on air, there were a lot of suggestions about changing the name of my show. But these characters are famous in the book and my story is totally different. Eventually, it is all about whether people like watching your show or not. The serial is clearly from a book, but the way I planned it, the story is different. The imaging is completely on the perspective of the maker. I look at it this way. Comparison and competition will be there, but you have to work like an ostrich. You have to go ahead and do what you think is right, accept criticism and comparison and learn from it.

What prompted you to make a serial on Chandrakanta?
I did Naagin, when it has already been done millions of times because it is a famous folklore. Similarly, Chandrakanta is also a famous folklore and I felt a story like this hasn’t come on TV for a long time. I had committed to making Chandrakanta two years ago. I was supposed to launch it last November, then this January, but I pushed it forward as I got busy launching my app. Finally, I decided to do it now.

You are also doing a Kumkum Bhagya spinoff with Kundali Bhagya. What is the idea behind it?
It’s very simple. When the characters in a series work and they have enough of play, like the parents in Kumkum Bhagya, especially, the mother of Pragya is very popular, we could spinoff a whole new series with her and other people coming in, like her sisters. It was just waiting to happen. The familiarity is there and a whole new story can be born with fresh characters. In the West they have spinoffs like the one they had for Grey’s Anatomy. One needs to constantly innovate on TV.