Arvind Babbal, the set-up director of Star Plus' Saraswatichandra (Sanjay Leela Bhansali Productions), is a very talented individual. His work primarily is to make the initial few episodes, get the show rolling before handing over the mantle of responsibility so someone else. On an invitation, Tellychakkar.com visits the sets of the show and sits across with Arvind for a candid chat. Excerpts:
Tell us something about yourself?
(pauses) I started my career in this industry in the year 1998, when I assisted Lekh Tandon to direct Kartavya for Zee TV. The shows which gave a push to my career were Kumkum, Choti Maa, Virasat, Jiya Jale, Yahaa Mai Ghar Ghar Kheli, Shobha Somnath Ki and many more. My recent project was Saraswatichandra. Since the last four years, I am working as a set-up director; this means that I work for the initial 40/50 episodes and then move on to other serials.
How has your journey been so far?
Journey is nothing but all about experience and a director is one who makes or breaks a show. Till date, it has been a very satisfying journey with no regrets or sorrows whatsoever. For me, every day is a new day with new ideas to learn. As a director, one gets into the nerve of his show and treats it as his own baby.
How was your experience working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali?
Sanjay Leela Bhansali is an institution in himself and his teachings are like blessings to me. He has an excellent knowledge in terms of direction; so for me it was indeed a superb experience to learn his style of working. I have, of course, grown as a professional for now I can direct an episode in just one day without any delay and that too in a fine manner. I personally believe that there is no bigger love story than that of Sarawatichandra. Other love stories end abruptly with the death of lovers but in this one they live life to keep love alive
What can be the reason of Saraswatichandra going downhill in terms of numbers after a good start?
Before we launched Saraswatichandra, 15 episodes were written in a matter of nine months. Later, with passage of time and shortage of episodes, the pressure on the writers increased due to which some important aspects got unnoticed.
Television has now become kind of a business which runs in terms of marketing more than in terms of content. In the first three weeks, Saraswatichandra was on top with 2.9 TRPs. The competition indulges one to keep aside one's quality and just take quantity into consideration.
How has television evolved in so many years?
Television is witnessing a lot of change. There cannot be a vamp in every house and there cannot be conspiracy among people. People are always ready for a change, but if you don't bother to serve them new things, they will not taste it at all. People are getting more realistic and are looking out for a change than just mere saas-bahu fights. Somewhere, the commitment required for any storyline is missing because the number game doesn't let you think outside the box at all.
What change would you want to bring in television today?
(smiles) Well, the first and foremost thing is that every show must have its start and end defined in advance. Hence it would become seasonal. And quality should never be compromised.
What in the world would you like to create for viewers?
I want to create pure romance on television which will carry all the positive energies. Though love story doesn't have much of a difference, but the portrayal of it is very important which makes it different from others. In my story, people will not be bad, but the situation and time will be.
What advice would you like to give to aspiring directors?
Be passionate and give your 100 per cent in every project that comes your way. Be focused and confident.
What are your future plans?
Well, I am opening my own production house named Arvind Babbal Productions and planning to fulfill my dream of making films. I just want to do what my heart says with no more barriers around.
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