Yash Patnaik, the Founder of Beyond Dreams Entertainment Limited has had a roller coaster journey which started way back when he was a journalist. Then came the turning point in his life of being part of Fireworks Productions, after which he decided to start his own production house.
You started as a journalist and are a well known Producer today. Tell us about your career journey?
My journey started when I was a student of Mass Communication in Pune. I came over to Mumbai in 1996, and worked as a freelance journalist with the Hindujas for 2-3 years. Then I produced and directed documentaries for ZED. Then came the major turning point in my life where I joined Fireworks Productions. Within no time, I became the Executive Producer of Fireworks, and had the best of time working with Mr. B.P. Singh and Pradeep Upoor. During this phase, I was involved in all the creative aspects as well as the production side detailing in Fireworks. After seven years, I realized the zeal in me to move forward and left Fireworks when I was the Business Head.
Talk us thro' the formation of your production house, Beyond Dreams Entertainment Limited.
In the mid of 2006, I decided to push myself further as Producer. I felt that I had to get a freedom to do mistakes and with it will come opportunities to do right things. I then decided to chase my dreams and thus began Beyond Dreams.
Tell us about your humble beginning as Producer.
In January 2007, my wife Mamta Patnaik came into the frame of things. She had been one of the renowned writers of television with more than 25-30 shows behind her. We did not know where to start and how to move on. We started our office at Andheri with a staff of just three people. With the struggle on, it was like going back to college days. But we were confident that we had lots of ideas and could convert them into good shows.
Your first show on television..
It was a real honor for us to be part of the 11 producing partners on the starting line-up of shows on 9X. Our first show was Babban Bhai v/s Bimla Tai which had great actors like Tanuja and Gaurav Gera.
Tell us something about Kaalo?
Kaalo is India's first creature based supernatural thriller. It is a small project horror film that has never been attempted before. After being part of Aahat for many years, I realized that most of the horror shows are shot at night time. Kaalo is special because it is shot in scorching day light. Kaalo is expected to release this October.
Talk us thro' your other shows on television.
We had a show on POGO channel titled CIA which got very popular. Later came Monica Mogre Case Files on Zee TV. After that Chehra happened on Star Plus. We then worked on Jamunia for Imagine, after which Rang Badalti Odhani came.
You said you needed the freedom to do mistakes. So have you learnt with the mistakes made?
Certainly! I have learnt a lot as a Producer. Making shows is a different ball game altogether. There is competition around and we need to value time and money. We have had a phenomenal learning and have gone wiser. However, there is still a lot to learn. As far as our company goes, we are still young. We are proud of our achievements. We have worked for leading GEC's like Star Plus, Zee, Imagine, Star One and 9X. We have built a foundation for ourselves, and are looking forward.
Your wife Mamta is a well known writer. What is her level of involvement in your shows?
She is very much involved in all our shows. She takes care of the major concept generation, look and feel. She basically creates a foundation for our new shows on a conceptual level.
After having specialized with a thriller like Aahat, your thriller Chehra did not fare well.
See, Chehra was experimentation, as it was a thriller made for daily viewing. Even though I was part of the team that conceived Aahat for Fireworks, it was never a daily show. So you cannot compare Aahat with Chehra. Also, having specialized in a genre like Aahat, I made a show like Jamunia which is completely different.
Your thoughts on Jamunia not working?
It was a channel's call. We did our best, as far as creativity goes. We put in a lot of hard work, and dealt with all adversities shooting in Chattisgarh. I used to personally stay put in Chattisgarh to take care of shooting. It was a difficult show to make, and we are proud of this achievement.
What is the USP of Odhani? How has the response been?
Initially we received a mixed response for the show, but now it is gaining popularity. For a channel like Star One, it was a new and different show. It started off in a small village of Gujarat, so I think since the channel has all youth audience they could not connect to it well. As per our plan, later it turned towards a love story and now people are appreciating it. We can still do better.
Talk us thro' your creative team of Odhani?
I have a great team in place for Rang Badalti Odhani, headed by the Captain Swapna Waghmare Joshi. She designs scenes, her conscience, her way of training actors, setting up sequences is so unique. Other two directors Mukesh and Arshad are also very good. People come to me and tell me that Swapna is a tough task master but she has her own way of taking good work from actors. She conducts workshops and asks actors to call by their screen names so that they can get into the feel of that character.
Tell us about your lead actors in Odhani, Karan Tacker and Yashashri Masurkar?
The best part of the leads in our show is that they are very similar in real life to their on screen characters. In Shantanu, we wanted a guy who is the son of the city. Karan is a Mumbaite, who has an adventurous streak in him. He is outgoing and smart. He is a pleasure to work with; a wonderful person, with no tantrums at all. He understands his character well and is committed to his work. Everyone loves him like anything on the sets.
Yashashri was doing a Marathi show Lakshman Resha when my wife Mamta spotted her. It was Mamta who picked her from there. Coming from a regional background, Yashashri has adapted so well to the Hindi television scenario. She is an extremely hard working person, a slogger you can say. Everyone on sets keep pulling her legs, they rag her a lot as she is the junior most in the cast. Even then she takes everything so sportingly. A producer should be blessed to get good leads, and I can say that I have two wonderful actors working with me.
We hear that the channel always wants its heroes to be topless?
Star One is a youth channel and they have an audience which is adventurous and glamorous. If the script demands, they go for it. Above all, we get so many requests from Karan's huge following on internet who demands to see their actor in vibrant colors.
What happened to Priyanka Chibber who earlier played Natasha?
See, the character of Natasha saw a growth, and we needed a much more mature actor playing it. It so happens that at times, actors do not compliment a certain character and her replacement was absolutely a creative decision. She is still our good friend and we have nothing against her.
Were you not apprehensive in casting Rucha Gujrati opposite Karan, as she looks old before him?
We were confident that Rucha will pull it off quite well in the role of Natasha. Yes, it was an unusual casting, but I would say that she was apt for the character.
Your thoughts on shows on TV today?
It is very challenging; there are lots of players, but there is a lack of patience. One would love to make inroads in such an atmosphere.
Which is your favorite show currently?
Apart from my show, I would say I like CID. That was the beautiful phase of my life and I worked passionately on this show for seven years.
What do you say about the TRP race?
I really do not understand the way TRP system works. It is based on a few sample audience, and this can never be accurate. Time has come to adapt a more realistic approach to measure the success or failure of a show. We need to take into consideration the 1000's of online viewers who watch episodes without fail.
What are the changes you would want to see in the TV industry?
We need more support system and better facilities. We have more than 100 channels in Mumbai, and over 80 shows running. Roughly, television is a six billion dollar industry. We need more organized associations, training centers for actors, more technicians, funding options, institutes to generate talent etc.
What do you think about the creative future of television?
We have plenty of writers surfacing now. The last three years have seen a phenomenal growth in creativity. There used to be 5-6 writers few years back, and only 4-5 working formulae in use. Now, we have more than 60 renowned writers and there is scope for lot more experimentation. Today, audience has much more options. But I believe that all they need is a good story and good characters, everything else is secondary.
Future plans for Beyond Dreams.
We are working on few daily soaps. We are also working on a reality show, which is completely unique. It will be a departure from the regular reality shows, but is within the parameters of popular TV audience. We are not targeting one particular audience; we will be involving 90% of India. Also, we have an epic film in the pipeline; we are going thro the research process of it.
Your dream project?
The reality show I am working on, if it works can be said as my dream project. Let's hope for the best.
Reporter and Author: Srividya Rajesh