Celebrity Interview: Ekta Kapoor ...

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By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service

Mumbai, April 6 (IANS) TV tycoon Ekta Kapoor says she is planning to go to Delhi in search of a suitable husband even as she is looking for an image makeover on the professional front.

"My friends and I are going to Delhi looking for some eligible boys. Can't find one for myself in Mumbai. My temper tantrums are too well known here. I am trying to sober down as much as possible," Ekta told IANS in an interview.

On the TV front, she turns non-fictional with her recently launched chat show "Kandy Floss".

"I do want to attempt different entertainment. That's what I'm trying to do with 'Kandy Floss' and 'Krimson Skies'. Trying again to reach out to a niche audience. I'll just keep on trying. There is nothing else I can do."

Ekta's role model is filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali. "I like Sanjay Leela Bhansali because he has done what he wants to do, and done it so magnificently. He wants me to make a serial without a 'k' in it. I will, just for him."

Excerpts:

Q: Your most unusual presentation, "Kandy Floss", is on air.

A: I am having so much fun doing non-fiction. My so-called differences with Sony were blown so much out of proportion. The new Sony team is cool. Now I am going into something completely different. I've done non-fiction programme before - "Kosmiic Chat" with Sunita Menon. But this one I am really scared of. It will be a look at the activities of TV stars. My first show with adult content. I hope I am not torn into shreds.

Q: You are finally growing up.

A: Ha! If people speak on camera, I won't cut it off in "Kandy Floss", that's for sure. We are all grownup people... what's the big deal? I'd say it is an unpretentious in-your-face programme but classy. That's why we have got Archana Puran Singh as the anchor. Then we have Kandy, a catty animation character, who will tell us how she sees these TV parties.

Kandy even takes pot shots at me. I have instructed my team not to ask slimy questions or hit below the belt. When they asked me if they can take swipes at me, I told them, 'Fine'. But I might hate you.' I am having fun doing it.

Q: Quite a change from the demure image of your soaps.

A: That's exactly my point. My company can't live with one image. I am going to make a lot of high-perception shows. They may not be high-TRP shows. But that's okay. I'd of course continue to do mass-consumption shows.

You know the swipes they take at me are funny. The other day I was reading an interview with an actor who said he has stayed away from 'saas-bahu' shows. Hello? What about the hundred calls that he made to me? And came to my office for a hundred auditions! If I give him a role, he would immediately give an interview saying, 'Who wouldn't want to work with Balaji?'

Q: Do you feel TV allows you to be as adventurous as cinema?

A: Not at all! The target audience on TV doesn't allow you to experiment. When I do something regular they are angry. But when I do something different, I don't get their attention. So what do I do?

"Iqbal" can be done for cinema but not for television because there's no niche audience on TV. In spite of all the criticism the top three soaps remain my "Kasauti Zindagi Kay", "Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki" and "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi". Even the other producers claiming to move away from my 'K factor' are doing the same thing.

Q: What do you think of "Saat Phere - Saloni Ka Safar"?

A: Oh, I like it very much. It's very much a nice conventional show. Whatever we may say the audience isn't willing to move away from the standard theme and format. I do feel stagnant at times. But at the end of the day I love my work. I love my shows. For me they aren't something I do for a few hours. They are my life. I am very attached to my characters in the soaps. But I do want to attempt different entertainment.

That's what I am trying to do with "Kandy Floss" and "Krimson Skies". Trying again to reach out to a niche audience. I'll just keep on trying. There is nothing else I can do. My "Kkasam Se" on Zee isn't really different. But it's a little younger. We are pushing the envelope a little more with this one.

Q: But apparently "Kkasam Se" isn't doing well.

A: What are you saying? In just three weeks the TRPs' at 2.4 average. I have been heaped with praise. It is my other serial on Zee, "Hum Paanch", that isn't doing well. "Kkasam Se" is their No.2 soap. It is going to rock. As for "Hum Paanch", times have changed. We shouldn't have done it again. Viewer-profile has changed. Oh, why did we have to bring it back?

Q: What about your new shows?

A: I have "Kya Hoga Nimmo Ka" on STAR One. It's the funniest show on earth. It's got drama but no melodrama. I promise my audience no one's going to die and come back. It started March 20. In June, I'll have "Krimson Skies" with a new 21-year-old actor Karan Patel.

Q: Wasn't Amar Upadhyay supposed to play the lead?

A: He was supposed to play Karan's father. But he asked for too much money.

Q: That's mean!

A: Why? What was wrong with playing the hero's dad?

Q: How do you react to the constant criticism?

A: My father always says dogs bark when an elephant walks. I hate calling myself an elephant. But what to do? I do my work, go home. I have five friends. I don't mix with my colleagues or TV people. With my five friends, I can be myself. People can call my soaps regressive and monotonous. I've only one thing to say to them, "Dude, they aren't affecting the TRPs. It just seems like a lot of idle malicious talk."

Each show is different from the other in concept and colour. But my friends love to generalise and hit out at me.

Q: Are you producing films?

A: Yes, lots. But the star date issues are huge. I'll start with a small film directed by Satish Kaushik featuring Tusshar (Kapoor) and maybe Ayesha Takia. Then there are projects with Neeraj Vora, Rohit Shetty, Abbas-Mastan and Anees Bazmi. This is the plan for the next one year...plus I want to start small niche films with independent directors. I want to make some niche films that I'll be remembered by.

I want to do what my dad did. He acted in "Parichay" side by side with "Farz". But you know who's my role model of filmmaking? I like Sanjay Leela Bhansali because he has done what he wants to do, and done it so magnificently. He wants me to make a serial without a 'k' in it. I will, just for him.

Q: Any plans of marriage?

A: My friends and I are going to Delhi looking for some eligible boys. Can't find one for myself in Mumbai. My temper tantrums are too well known here. I am trying to sober down as much as possible.