Debutant producer Anirudh Pathak has a lot of big shows in his kitty. The writer turned producer excelled in successfully creating 4000 hours of content as the show runner for his magnum opus - 'Devon ke Dev... Mahadev' and some incredibly unforgettable shows like Siya Ke Ram, Mahakumbh and Hatim for the Indian audience, thus earning for himself the title of 'creative guru' in the Industry.
He focused on human touch points for Indian viewers which made his shows mega hits on the small screen. We sat him down and got him to reveal about his journey from is writing days to his producing ones.
Tell us about your journey from being a writer to a producer.
I am basically a writer. But because not many people could have produced the kind of stories that I write and think of, I ended up turning one for myself. Even when I was a writer, I always wanted to get television this respect that it is deprived of. 'The idiot box' that we call it, my aim is to get TV that respect back with the shows that I write and produce.
You've written a lot of shows for TV czarina, Ekta Kapoor as well.
Oh yes, that was a learning period for me and given that they were my starting days, I did not have a vision of my own. It is the producer who says that this is what you have to write, and I have to execute it. I wouldn't say that Ekta's shows are bad because that was the period when I learnt and during that time, I learnt how do the viewers perceive TV and what kind of content do they accept or reject. And, it was after when I joined Star that I started to do things according to my vision.
It is a first for you as a producer, and you decided to debut with a historical like Prithvi Vallabh. Was it a deliberate attempt to do so?
History and mythology have both been a part of my creative journey since a long time. Though I have become a producer now, as a show runner shows like Devon Ke Dev... Mahadev, Siya Ke Ram, Mahakumbh, etc have been a part of my journey. Though I have not been a part of those shows as a producer, I saw what went into the making of those shows. But the reason that I took up a show like Prithvi Vallabh, was to overcome the challenges that I have seen people face earlier. I have tried to put what I learnt earlier, into Pritvhi Vallabh and what you have seen in the first episode, you will see exactly the same thing, the same look and feel, until the very last episode as well and that is my vision, as a producer.
How exactly did you go about casting Ashish Sharma and Sonarika Bhadoria?
Ashish was Ram for me from Siya Ke Ram, and for Prithvi Vallabh's role, I wanted somebody who is a combination of Ram and Krishna. So Ashish is somebody who has a little of everything - naughtiness and romanticism alike.
And, as far as Sonarika is concerned, during Devon Ka Dev... Mahadev, when she played the role of Kaali, it garnered the highest of TRPs and the kind of spirit she possessed, that is what made me choose her for Mrinalvati.
Sony TV is said to have a history of shows in the past where the numbers online never match up to that on TV, thereby affecting the TRPs and causing the show to go off air.
There's nothing that I can predict as of now, but I as a producer, have tried and will try to maintain a balance of both, the viewers that see the show on Sony LIV and on TV as well. We have tried to do so by incorporating that idea in the cast we have taken as well as the way the story is said.
To what extent has VFX worked in your favour for the show?
Well, if we talk about the VFX, there has been a lot of disruption there but it is very realistic and does not look artificial at all. When the VFX for TV is concerned, it seems to be all fake, but we have managed to make it look very real.
What expectations do you have from the show?
Well, there are two things that I expect... everyone does for that matter, and that is numbers along with respect. I can't choose between numbers and critical acclaim, because all the shows that I have done so far, I have managed to get them both.
Well, we hope so too that the show does manage to get its due credit and continues to garner even more love and appreciation.