Film and TV producer Ekta Kapoor says big budgets and busy schedules of actors have kept her away from working with big stars and instead concentrate on “eclectic” films that have earned critical acclaim. “It is not about the access to the stars. We have not made films with Salman (Khan) or Shah Rukh (Khan) because at this point if I have to spend half a year in planning a film with a big star, it would require certain effort.”
“We have got into an eclectic mix of films. Access doesn’t always mean… You could have picked up a phone and called them. It is not that we are making a big star Rs 100 crore proposal,” Ekta told PTI in an interview. Instead, the producer’s banner Balaji Motion Pictures has backed a number of unconventional films such as Love, Sex Aur Dhoka and Lipstick Under My Burkha.
Ekta started her production journey with TV and soon became the soap opera queen with hits such as Hum Paanch, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki, Kasauti Zindagi Ki and Kahiin To Hoga. She soon moved to the big screen with films such as Shootout at Lokhandwala, The Dirty Picture and Ek Thi Daayan. There have been failures along the way but Ekta says she does not dwell on them too much.
“Either you win or you learn. I don’t like to live a delusional life, which is an easy thing. We all have dreams but we have to understand where the dream becomes delusional,” Ekta says. As a producer, she says she might feel the content she is churning out is great, but the audience may not appreciate it and one has to be open to rejection. “If I am making something for others, I have to take their opinion into consideration — be it bouquets or brickbats; TRPs or criticism. I try to keep an open mind,” she says.
From TV to films to digital medium with ALTBalaji, Ekta has successfully moved through different mediums and the producer says it helps her cater to different sensibilities. “When you are alone, the kind of content you will consume will be very individualistic, when you go to a theatre it is community viewing as you go with friends and family in a closed room with hundreds of unknown people and at home it is family viewing, you have to be less radical at home and watch things that are more subtle.”
Asked if she is looking to tap into regional markets, Ekta says, “I feel we have a huge local market. I want to grow with regional content but that would be three years later. I have done two shows – one is a Bengali and other is a South Indian show. I had a huge wing that made lot of South Indian shows, not many people know we had a south show called ‘Kudumbam’. I am a firm believer that as the content gets local there will be more identification.”