Yash Patnaik

Prominent TV producer, Yash A Patnaik is celebrating 11 years as one of the most sought after producers on the small screen. We caught up with Patnaik to find out his views on the evolving change in the industry.

How you will define your journey of 11 years?
It has been a great journey despite the rough weather in the beginning. We made our own share of mistakes and learnt from them. When I look back, it looks like an impossible journey.

Some of our earlier shows didn’t work despite being appreciated. ‘Chehra’, ‘Monika Mogre Case Files’, ‘CIA’, Jamunia were appreciated for their content but failed to generate numbers and had premature closures because of various reasons. Then came ‘Rang Badalti Odhni,’ ‘Veera,’ ‘Sadda Haq,’ ‘Kuchh Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi’ which not just rated well but were critically acclaimed. Almost all our shows have been appreciated by masses as well as classes for being refreshing and impactful.

With every show we tried something different. You will not find us repeating any genre or shows like most of the production houses have been doing. After ‘Veera’s’ success we could have produced 2-3 shows with kids as protagonists. Same with ‘Sadda Haq’ and ‘Kuchh Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi.’ Mamta and I strongly believe, an idea should appeal to us first if we were the end users. It should be new and refreshing for us before we make it for the audience. My last show ‘Kuchh Rang…’ and my current show ‘Ishq Main Marjawaan’ are so different in terms of genre and storytelling. Both have been accepted by the audience. This gives us the kick – our tequila shots!

What are the challenges you face as a maker?
Things have changed drastically from the earlier times. It’s not about making a good show or hit show. You need to create an entire ecosystem to consistently produce successful content across genres, formats and platforms.

Writing a concept and running a business of content are two different things. As a maker one needs to consistently evolve both with the time and how the content is told. One needs to create a great ecosystem within the system to attract right kind of talent from the industry as well as curate new talents. We understood this as early as 2012 and created top class infrastructure, ecosystem and opportunities to engage experienced talents and nurture new ones. Our content team is 6 years old and comprises of talents form various creative fields – publishing, journalism and radio. Between them, they have over 30 Nationals Bestselling Novels. Some of the young and popular novelists like Durjoy Dutta, Sumrit Shahi, Ayushi Ghoshal have been working with us since years. Mamta leads the team with her rich experience of over two decades of ideating and screen writing. We have also some international talents who are working on our new IPs in graphic novels and gaming. Our research and analytics team helps us understand the trend and helps us with insights.

‘Ishq Mein Marjawan’ is a hit show, please share your take on the show. Whom you want to give this credit to? Since five months it is in top ten shows. That’s surely an achievement.
It was Mamta’s brain child. After ‘Kuchh Rang…’, she wanted to experiment with a thriller. That’s how she came with the idea. It was a difficult show with the double role of heroine. Both the characters are so contrast. The challenge was to keep the sanity of the positive character from the negative one. At the end of the day, it’s the same actor playing both the shades. Every week, every episode, every scene we expected to come up with twists and turns. Unlike a regular soap, here you can’t develop a track and sit back for it to unfold. There are too many permutations and combinations of ideas to work with. So when the work gets appreciated, you feel good. I am glad the show has been generating good numbers and has been in the top 10 consistently. We have a great cast and crew apart from the content team. Their passion is of another level. Arjun, Alisha, Vineet, Mihir, Sucheta and all other cast have been doing a fabulous job. I believe if your intent is good, you will eventually succeed. We have a super cool environment. You will never hear any artist tantrums, issues from our shows. Thanks to the entire team.

Is it tough to make a suspense based show?
Certainly yes, it’s very much like comedy. Either you have it or don’t. You have to constantly come up with innovations, twists and turns without losing the long arch. Most suspense shows run out of steam after 50-60 episodes as the plot gets exposed and character get repetitive. So it’s essential to select a story which has more meat. On surface of it one may not see that but as creators we know which story will hold itself for long. So accordingly we select our stories.

After ‘Kaalo’ you have not ventured into movies, will you make one in near future?
In television content, we control each and every department as the Producers. But that’s not the case with films. A lot depends on the director and DoP. You can have a great story, but unless you have a sensible and responsible team of Director-DoP your film can be a disaster. There is no time for course correction in films. I didn’t have a great experience in my last film. That stopped me from thinking of making films for a while. Having said that I am not averse to make films. As a storyteller, I can’t stay away from such a influential platform. We will get back to films when we have a great story to tell and with committed talent..

What are the subjects attracts you to make a show?
There is no rule to decide a subject. It has to appeal to us and there has to be something new to experiment.

Will you do regional show in future?
We have produced a couple of successful regional dailies. It’s a very interesting space to be in. In fact, regional content is more progressive. There are a lot of fabulous talent in regional space who prefer to be in their own space. India has a rich stock of literature which can be exploited in regional space. We will certainly explore the space in future.

What’s your digital plan?
We have a dedicated team of writers, researchers and show-runners for our digital business. In last two years we have managed to put together 20 odd fully fleshed out concepts. Some of them are high value concepts based on real life personalities from who we have obtained license. We also have a few short forms and few long form fiction series for digital. We are in discussion with some leading OTT players and aggregators for the same. Soon we will have some declarations.