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Interview By: ANKITA R. KANABAR

Sahil Sangha and Dia Mirza are back with their next production – ‘Mind The Malhotras’, for which the former has also directed a few episodes. He’s also been a writer on this show which is adapted from an Israeli show – ‘La Famelia’. Sahil Sangha gets chatting with us about this new project and plans of their company, Bornfree Entertainment from here on…

“Human beings gravitate towards the stuff that they connect to, always”

What’s the feedback that you’ve got and what’s been your reaction to that?
Honestly, it’s very early still I guess to say anything but they say when you have good news, you should just wrap your arms around it and be grateful. That’s exactly how I’m feeling right now. Everyone puts it immense efforts in their work, but I can only talk about myself that we’ve made it with a lot of love. The main aim of ‘Mind The Malhotras’ is just to put a smile on people’s faces, and be a clutter-breaker in that sense. I think, there’s a lot of intense stuff, good drama, action on the web from the Indian content point of view. But we don’t really have something which will make you smile and it may also be silly in parts. All of us need to be silly, we need to keep the madness alive and be able to laugh through what’s going on in our life. I was clear in my mind that let’s be serious about making a simple, straight-forward show, and then, let’s not take ourselves too seriously.

Was it the simplity of the content and show which also attracted you to direct it?
I’ve directed a few episodes, but because on this platform you have to be the creative show-runner to see if everything is happening in place, I’m one of the writers, a producer on it and so for directing, I had a very capable guy Ajay Bhuyan who directed the show with me, and I’ve been there to supervise everything. So, what drew me towards the show is the team at Applause Entertainment which is left by Sameer Nair. When they told me about something like this and they told me about the original show ‘La Familia’ from Israel, the first thing it did was it put a smile on my face without worrying about anything else. Another thing that stuck me was that it was a show that the entire family can watch together. I feel the show inherently will bring people together. You’re consuming so much time in watching content but you do it alone because one member of the family likes something and the other likes something else. This is something which the entire family can watch together because it’s the cleanest show. The opportunity to make people smile and the opportunity to create something which people can watch together, is what really attracted me towards making this show.

How refreshing and different was this platform than making theatrical movies?
I think we are all aware and in full acceptance of the fact that digital content is here to stay. It has a direct connect with the audience which is amazing. As creators, we are happy about the fact that these platforms are here to stay. It gives a chance for a whole variety of content to be created but in terms of the process I think a creator’s goal is to make a story as beautifully as they can, to entertain people. That doesn’t change. People ask me that is it a relief that there’s no Friday pressure, but there is Friday pressure. How people will react to your work – the anxiety is the same. The only thing is that the metric against which you monitor your success is different. In this case, digital content has a longer shelf life. There’s no pressure on the viewers to watch it on the opening weekend. People can watch it later at home on a Monday and that’s an advantage because it reaches more people like that. All platforms will always co-exit. Radio co-existed with television, television co-existed with cable, cable is co-existing with movies and digital content. The onus is just on the creators to create entertaining content – irrespective of the platform.

Even the films you’ve made, has the endeavour always been to entertain people and make them smile. ‘Love Breakups Zindagi’ and ‘Baboo Jasoos’ reflect that.
I think so far, the stories that we found and have been able to make have been with this aim for sure. But as a company, ‘BornFree’ is looking to making various genres and we’re always looking for ideas, stories and scripts. I think you just have to find the story that connects or treatment that connects – with any kind of emotion. While all these three projects we’ve made so far have been heart-warming and all of that, I think even with the stuff we’re making ahead, you will find that you’re being entertained. There’s a little bit of food for thought here and there. Even ‘Mind the Malhotras’ is a sitcom on the surface of it all, but we’re telling young couples to watch the show because what you’re feeling is real but if you smile along then it will get easier to deal with it.

Does the stuff you like watching reflect in the kind of things you want to create?
I think so. Human beings gravitate towards the stuff that they connect to, always. But depending on what you’re going through in life or the challenges you’re facing –  the influences tend to change what you gravitate towards. We all evolve in life. It’s not a constant. You learn something from experience, from travel. You learn something from relationships and how dynamics change. So, you just have to be aware about what is it that you’re feeling attracted towards, and then try and share those kind of stories with the audiences.

What else is in the pipeline now?
There are many ideas that we’re in the process of developing with Applause Entertainment. There are ‘Bornfree’ originals which are now at the script level. We’ve spend the last year or two putting scripts and ideas together so now we’re all in motion and in the process – whether it’s casting or finding the right studio. I’m confident that after the gap between ‘Bobby Jasoos’ and ‘Mind The Malhotras’, I think the next gap is going to be just of a fraction. We’re excited because it’s difficult to be away from the position where you’re sharing your material with people. So, we’re looking forward to sharing more and come out with content faster.

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