We have seen many directors (read Shekhar Kapoor, Sajid Khan and Farhan Akhtar) foraying into television as judges of reality shows. Some directors have taken the extra effort to helm their own show, with Bejoy Nambiar making his own series, MTV Rush, last year. Last month, popular director Sanjay Leela Bhansali joined the club. Earlier seen in X Factor Season one on Sony in 2011, he launched his own drama series, Saraswatichandra, on Star Plus.
Made for the television
Bhansali, who last directed Guzaarish, featuring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan, has had a life-long fascination for the television industry. “Today, soaps and serials go into every home. In terms of numbers, television has a larger reach than cinema. The demography of the home viewing audience fascinated me. Every home doesn’t have audiences going to the cinema, but it has a TV. I wanted to explore the medium, but not with the usual kind of soaps,” shares the director-producer, whose show is based on a novel of the same name by Govardhanram Madhavaram Tripathi.
“It revolves around two Gujarati families. I have given the lead characters, Saraswatichandra (Gautam Rode) and Kumud (Jennifer Winget), a modern setting. It is a poignant love story of two soul mates, Saras and Kumud, who are denied the joy of becoming one by destiny and tradition, an eternal story of unrequited love. It is different from other shows and has all the ingredients, the drama, twists and turns to hold audiences’ attention for a long period,”he continues.
A different ball game
Currently busy with the production of the feature film, Ram Leela, starring Deepika Padukone, Bhansali admits that Saraswatichandra began as a movie. “This was before I thought of a serial but then I realised the latter would be better,” he confesses, adding that it took him almost two years to conceptualise the same. “Television has different demands and a different way of operating. You have to cater to your target audience. This is the first fiction show being made on such an ostentatious scale. The economics, casting and preparation were time consuming. But when the pilot received a positive response, our confidence was strengthened,” narrates the director who hopes it will run for 2,000 episodes and will “become the biggest and most memorable serial.”
Saraswatichandra airs on weekdays on Star Plus, at 7:30 pm