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    Feb 2010


    Default Kumkum Bhagya is close to my heart and I want to see it touch the sky - Creative Director Sukriti Sa

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    Sukriti Saxena has achieved success through sheer hard work. Her contribution to the success of many Balaji Telefilms shows has been immense. The girl who started her professional career as a trainee under Ekta Kapoor at the tender age of 20 now helms the promising show Kumkum Bhagya on Zee TV as the Creative Director.

    We get into a conversation with Sukriti for our Behind The Lens segment.

    Tell us how you caught Ekta Kapoor’s attention?

    I was doing my degree in Mass Communication in Delhi when through a campus interview, I got pulled into Balaji Telefilms as a trainee. This was a phase where I learnt quite a lot. And even before getting my degree, I was into my first work. I started my career with Karam Apnaa Apnaa as ACH under the efficient Doris Dey. I also went on to do Kayamath along with her. This show gave me lot of responsibilities and I started facing them on my own. Then came a series of shows like Kahiin Na Kahiin, Kasamh Se and many more. I got to learn quite a lot under Doris.

    What was next?

    I then left Balaji Telefilms and joined Hats Off Productions. I helmed the show Shree which was a good success. After this, I joined Wizcraft as the Fiction Head. I got to learn various other things here, from Namit Sharma who is now the Programming Head of Zee TV. Then, I went back to Balaji and this was when Pavitra Rishta happened. Initially, I worked on the show along with Doris. Pavitra Rishta still remains closest to my heart, and it was a great feeling when it did really well. I got promoted to be the Creative Director on Tere Liye.

    Who have been your role models?

    I can say that there have been few people who have been responsible in shaping my life. First of all, it will be Ekta for trusting in me and showering me with all kinds of responsibilities. Doris taught me the nuances of the craft and brought out the hunger in me to work. Namit Sharma gave me a new platform to work on and brought in a new outlook to the industry. With Wizcraft, I worked on Savdhan India. Then we worked on a pilot for Sony which did not happen. I got into more of scripting and pitched various kinds of concepts.

    When did you get back to Balaji Telefilms after this?

    Well, I got back for the small series of Ek Thi Naayka. Later, I set up the DD show Pavitra Bandhan. This was when the planning for Kumkum Bhagya started. Today, to see the show launched gives the entire team a great satisfaction. We feel it will be a very good show.

    Tell us more about Kumkum Bhagya…

    Kumkum Bhagya is a very positive show, which people can very well relate to. I personally feel this will be a show which will be talked about. It will be a hit in every house. It will be the story of this family which has no man, and how the mother runs the house amidst the day-to-day problems. The show will also give out a message that ‘one might not get what they dream, but whatever one gets might not be bad at all.’

    What do you expect from Kumkum Bhagya?

    To tell you honestly, the shows that I have worked in have luckily been success stories, whether it be Kasamh Se, Saath Phere, Shree or Pavitra Rishta. So I will want this trend to continue (smiles).

    How are you placed in your personal life?

    Well, life is fabulous and I enjoy a great personal life with my husband. When I got married, I had thought I would never get back to work. My husband Mayank Kalra, who is a strategic consultant, is based in Delhi. And when we married, priorities changed. I never thought I would ever get back to Mumbai. But soon, things changed and Mayank shifted to Mumbai and even got a good job. This development in life again brought me to working. I got a call from Balaji for Kumkum Bhagya and I rejoined the team.

    Tell us about the manner in which you cast your characters in Kumkum Bhagya?

    My team worked along with Ekta for the casting. Sriti Jha was Ekta’s choice; she believed in her conviction that she will suit the role of Pragya to the ‘T’. Faisal Rashid was a team decision, but Ekta was a bit apprehensive. But then she gave the nod as she trusted in her team. As for Abhi’s role, we were looking for a suitable guy to play the role of the rockstar. When Shabbir walked into the Balaji office one day, we thought we have got our Abhi. And Ekta had a detailed discussion with Shabbir after which we locked him. The role of the mother has always carried a lot of baggage in Ekta’s shows, and we wanted a good performer. I have earlier worked with Supriya Shukla for Tere Liye and wanted her in Kumkum Bhagya. For the role of Bulbul, we had exhausted all our options and had extensively auditioned. We wanted a girl who will represent today’s generation. Ekta came across Mrunal Thakur and she immediately decided to have her on board.

    In totality, how has the journey been of making Kumkum Bhagya?

    Well, we started off at a real fast pace. We had a deadline to meet when we started planning things. We did not want any sort of delay in the launch. Our entire team has worked really hard. We have had sleepless nights, and at times worked round the clock. We have a great creative team in place. My creative head Shibani Dasgupta has been a great strength. There was a time when we were working simultaneously on the casting, set work, music and other stuff. If you have a good team in place, it is possible to achieve things in a lesser time. Everyday has been a learning curve, and we got to learn so much from Ekta.

    Tell us about Sukriti the person?

    Ha ha, I want a lot from life (smiles). I am a very ambitious girl, and will never stop working in my life. Though my priorities have changed after marriage, I want to balance everything and work smart. I have a good family life and will want to balance my work too. All is going good till now, and I have my fingers crossed.

    What are your goals for future?

    See, if I plan to remain as the Creative Director all my life, then I will never leave Balaji Telefilms. Working with Ekta is the best option I can ever find; and there is nothing to compete against working with Balaji Telefilms. However, I aim to make documentaries and short films. Being a Mass Communication student, I have always had the desire of making short films. Basically, I love to work and would want to try out various other creative stuff in life.

    Have you ever seen a phase where you had to struggle?

    Ups and downs are part of life, and there have been times when shows have not got the appreciation that we had expected. There have been times where you have struggled, but have failed to gain recognition. But honestly speaking, I have never ever remained without work. Little bit of stress is a part and parcel of life, but I am thankful to God for a smooth journey so far.

    Did you always intend to be part of the entertainment industry?

    I come from a family of doctors. My grandfather, dad, uncle are all doctors. So there were many who questioned me when I chose the line of media. However, my first love has always been journalism. My parents were of utmost support in my quest to identify myself. Above all, I was welcomed by the best company – Balaji Telefilms. As I said earlier, I have been blessed to meet few great people in my life, who have taught me a lot.

    What is your immediate goal now?

    Well, I am concentrating on Kumkum Bhagya right now. I want to see the show top all charts. I want to see its numbers rocketing. The show has been very close to my heart and I want to see it touching the sky. And the entire team is working towards it.



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