From being a computer engineer, fashion photographer to a director-producer Herumb Khot has come a long way. Coming from a typical Maharashtrian family, engineering was a logical eventuality, but while pursuing his education he realised he is more interested in the world of fashion and photography.
“I am a self-taught photographer and started my career in Advertising and Fashion Photography when digital photography was gaining popularity. Photography is the reason why I started my own creative agency. Through it all, I knew that the internet was the way forward for entertainment and in 2006 came up with Nautanki.tv with two others.
We were in the 10 best business ideas in India that year as per leading business magazines. It was a bad partnership, so I walked out and started Sutra.tv. In Sutra, we made multilingual content that received appreciation. These two experiences gave me a new direction and I ended up getting into direction and production of Marathi films. Post that I also dabbled into AD films, Corporate films,” he says, before talking about his association with producer and storyteller Nilanjana Purkayasstha.
Together they decided to get into TV content together with Invictus Mediaworks. Their latest show is Chikoo ki Mummy Durr Ki.
“When I met Nilanjana, we would often discuss content and the potential TV has a medium. So that’s how slowly our collaboration worked out. Another passion of mine is history. I’m a history buff and I am a visiting faculty for a PG program in leadership, politics and governance. I also give a lot of talks in various forums and lit fests about the true history and mainly what we can learn through history.
This knowledge of history was a natural progression to the historicals we made for TV. So everything I ever did has led me to the current place that I am today,” he adds.
Herumb then became a director by accident.
“My friend Rahul Thackeray and I loved a story that we wanted to produce as a comedy film and along the way we realised that we couldn’t find people to translate what we wanted to create. So, we wrote and directed it together. It was a serious political thriller which we made into a crazy campus comedy that was way ahead of its time. After that I wrote and directed the thriller Game Over,” he says.
Talking about their future plans, Herumb adds, “There are loads that we are working on. We are planning historicals, more TV content, short format content, OTT and emerging media content as well. On a personal front, I am working on my pet project, ‘History Trippin’ that delves into the true history of our great nation and what the next generation can learn and also get to know about our spiritual heritage.”
Producer Sudhir Sharma: There are only few takers for progressive and realistic content. We must stop chasing the last hit, audiences are ready for new stories.
Having done shows like Miley Jab Hum Tum, 12/24 Karol Bagh, Na Bole Tum Na Maine Kuch Kaha, The Buddy Project etc over the years, Sudhir Sharma has come a long way. He has seen the industry evolve. Meanwhile, his latest production Ziddi Dil Maane Na is doing well.
“People are scared of taking risks and just want to follow the last hit format. It’s quite evident from the viewing pattern on TV and in the growing numbers on OTT platforms that our audiences are looking for more variety and different storytelling” he adds. While many think that the content on television has evolved considerably, he feels otherwise.
“I don’t agree with this. Many shows are similar to what it used to be 10 years back. We are still making almost similar stuff. And the saas-bahu era isn’t over. It seems there are only few takers for progressive and realistic content,” he says, adding that it’s time that we become realistic, explore the unexplored and experiment as the audience is ready.
Talking more about the changes he thinks should be incorporated in daily soaps, he shares, “We must narrate different stories. At least we must try! Engaging stories of hope and happiness, stories of real drama in our lives should be touched upon.”
Vinay Jain: There is raw, passionate quality to my YRKKH character
Actor Vinay Jain says that there is a raw and passionate quality to his character, Harsh Vardhan Birla, in the show Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai (YRKKH).
“It feels great to be part of a super successful, long-running show like YRKKH. Also, I feel a sense of responsibility towards those who have been avidly watching the show for so many years now,” he said.
Talking about his character, he shared, “I play the role of Harsh Vardhan Birla who handles the entire financial and administrative aspects of running the hospital business of the Birla family. Harsh Vardhan Birla has volatile relationships within the family, especially with his wife and son.”
“There is a raw, passionate and unpredictable quality to Harsh Vardhan Birla which attracted me to this character,” he added.
Though he empathizes with the motivations of this character, he doesn’t personally subscribe to his ways and means.
The show is produced by Rajan Shahi of Directors Kut Production.
“Rajan Shahi and I go back a long way. We have done a number of memorable projects together, at times when he was active as a director too. This project is a happy and much-awaited reunion with him,” said Vinay.
According to him, content is ace, king, queen and jack. “With so much of viewing material available today across channels and platforms unless what you have to offer is engaging, you ain’t gonna get any eyeballs,” he said.
The show symbolizes human values and relationships, and Rajan Shahi is known for his crisp storytelling. “Yes, that is why I am excited to be a part of this show. Intricate relationships shown interestingly never fail to touch the hearts of the audience. We will carry on the YRKKH legacy through this season also,” he said.
He feels that a love triangle brings with it dimensions which a straightforward romance may not inherently have. “Moreover, it pulls in all the peripheral characters also adding intriguing layers to the storytelling. We will see a lot of that in this season,” he said.