Being the no 1 rated Hindi GEC show with 3000 episodes in 10 years and 1500 hours of content, that is more than what any production house has been able to achieve, producer Rajan Shahi has created history with Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai. He has been part of the industry for the last 26 years and has grown with each passing year.
Despite having veteran actor Mr. P. Jairaj as his maternal grandfather, he started at his career from ground zero. He says, “I started from the grass-root level by taking up small jobs in Mumbai as a production boy and other post-production jobs. I used to also stand as part of the crowd in ads.”
He started assisting Mr. Ravi Rai, who he considered his mentor and grew up to not only being his right-hand man but also directing a few shows for him. His first break came in 1999 when he directed his first show Dil Hain Ke Maanta Nahin.
He then went on to direct innumerable hit shows such as Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin, Milee, Saat Phere, and Betiyaan. But the turning point came when he directed for filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt. It gave a new vision to his journey and added finesse to his direction. Rajan always says his schooling was with Mr. Ravi Rai and the final graduation happened with Bhatt Saab.
He launched his production house Director's Kut in 2007 with Sapna Babul Ka Bidaai, which went on to become a cult show. He says, “I really believed in the fact that I wanted greater control in the creativity and the production part and wanted to be that one man responsible from the time of the inception of the show, the shoot to the time the edited episode is submitted to the channel.”
In 2009, Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hain was launched and it became very popular. For more than two years, YRKKH and Bidaai were the top two shows in the Hindi GEC. This was a remarkable achievement which gave Rajan Shahi a firm holding in the industry. With these shows, a strong one-hour slot was created and it remains popular even today with his top-rated shows YRKKH and its spin-off, Ye Risthey Hai Pyar Ke, which is very popular today.
Rajan also ventured in the digital space and his digital platform, First Kut Production has produced very successful shows such as Guddu Beds Guddan.
Shahi attributes his success to the blessing of his parents and the support of his family. “My mother Deepa Shahi’s encouragement and support are unparalleled in my journey and my daughter Ishika is my motivation. She is pursuing business and media studies and has an inclination towards the entertainment industry. It's up to her to pursue acting, direction or production. Recently, I watched a short film, directed by her and it gave me a sense of déjà vu. It reminded me of the time when I had shown a short film to my grandfather. He had appreciated it and had said that I will go ahead in this profession. When she showed me the short film, I had the same feelings,” he says.
YRKKH has evolved with time. Rajan knows the pulse of the audience, just like late filmmaker Yash Chopra, and his shows are known for their quality, traditions, family values, costumes, and sets.
Shahi has always given a lot of chance to newcomers and is touted to be a big star-maker. In fact, many actors feel that if they get to work with Rajan Shahi, their careers are set. He has groomed not only a lot of actors but a lot of technicians, creatives and writers have grown under him.
YRKKH has created a lot of stars. Today, Shivangi Joshi and Mohsin Khan are the most talked-about TV couple. He has always believed in the fact that no one person can make a show and nobody is bigger than the show. “YRKKH has innumerable talented people, who have been part of it and have given a vision to it. They have created it with love. I am deeply grateful to them,” says Shahi, adding, "I am grateful to Mr. Uday Shanker Ji (Star India Ltd.), who had full faith and was a great pillar of support from the time of the inception of the show, and has been till date.”
Shahi attributes his success to his team and believes in empowering his team members. He often tells them, “It is not your and my journey, it is our journey.” Known as the best team leader in the TV industry, Rajan believes that it’s the team that creates a good show. It’s important to be connected to your team and the entire unit. Ask him how it feels to be part of such a successful historic show, and he says, “Success will come and go but what matters is the sincerity, integrity and goodwill you create.”