"Zee wanted a fall guy..they chose the wrong one" :

Anupam Kher is an extremely angry man. And he has been speaking out openly in the media against Zee TV's decision to drop him as co-anchor of the game show Sawal Dus Crore Ka. For a man who is known to be mild-mannered and professional, it is a sign that he believes that he has been wronged. Indiantelevision.com's Nupur Rekhy caught up with him and spoke with him just before he left to catch a flight to Hyderabad.Excerpts:

Q.Have you got the official termination letter from Zee TV?

Ans: No. I have not. And I can only take any action after I get it.

Q: Are you going to fight this out to the end?

I am convinced about my case, and I have the support of my family and I believe I can also get the industry's support for my cause. The Zee TV officials are having a long meeting today and should reach a decision later this evening. I will take legal action only after I know the details.


Q. What if they change their mind and reinstate you?

Ans: I don't know if I would like to do the show now. It has been a very bad experience.

Q.What do you think went wrong with the show?

Ans: I am from theatre and I am used to chaos. Our training is such that we are part of the team. There were some teething problems but otherwise the show was pretty fine. I believe that they should have made some preparations before taking it on air. They got the show going in just three days. Also, they wanted to make changes while the show was on air. To add to that they decided to redo the show as the chemistry of the team was building up ...the artistes, the technicians and the viewers...they were slowly gelling together and they decided to redo everything.

Q.Do you think what has been done to you is fair?

Ans:Not at all. No one has the right to do what they have done especially a corporate. They should have big values as their identity is known by the values they have, so I do not think what they have done is anywhere fair. They wanted a fall guy and I feel it is the wrong guy they chose.


Q.What made you do the show?

Ans: It was a prestigious show, the money was good, for me the process of work is more important than the results.

Q.Do you think the show will do better now?

Ans: Not until they come out with a better concept. The TRPs stated that they need to change their attitude, but no one has implemented that as yet.

Q.What do you think of the changes they are doing? Why do you think Ashutosh Rana stepped into your shoes?

Ans: Zee TV has made a mistake. I think they should not have changed the host at this stage. But if they were serious about changing the host and taking the show places they should have taken somebody like Shahrukh Khan who has a lot more hold over the masses than me. While Ashutosh Rana is a good actor, he will take some time to come into people's eyes like I have. I am not trying to act proud. But it will take him time. There are a lot of reasons for Rana agreeing to come in my place. Money is a very big part of it and the desire to be successful. Every artiste would desire that.

Q.Do you think Zee TV is going through financial turmoil?

Ans: Yes, I believe they are going through cataclysmic upheavals.

Q.Do you think they will compensate you?

Ans:Financially it is a set back. But it is not a disaster situation. They should compensate me and I hope they do.

Q.How have you taken this?

Ans: It's a terrible shock as I had no idea this was coming but I believe in walking on in life and there is a theory that if you're walking and you step on shit you don't stop walking. You just brush off and you go on. I think personal dignity is more important to me. I'm not petrified and insecure in my work and neither I'm a vindictive kind of person.

Q.Did you find it different working with Zee TV?

Ans:No, there is no difference. Zee started as a very good channel and it was the most watched channel at one time. It was good working with Zee. Zee TV was more friendly because it could reach into the interiors. The concept of the show was original but the execution was alike that of KBC.

Q.Do you have anything in hand right now?

Ans:I have a lot of work. I'm completing my prior assigned movies. I'm directing a film so I'm concentrating on my direction.


Q.How much hard work have you put into this?

Ans:Hundred percent hard work because that's the way I work.

Q.Do you think Manisha was carrying the show well?

Ans:See Manisha is not a theatre artiste. But she was doing okay.

Q.Do you blame Manisha?

Ans:I don't blame Manisha at all for what has happened. I blame the channel. She may have told the management whatever she wanted. But it's up to them to follow what she wanted or think about the programming.

Q.We believe she constantly kept you waiting on the sets by arriving late? You had a row about this last week?

Ans:I am quite used to this. I am a professional. I gave it my best from 9 am in the morning to 2 am the next morning when I was there. What transpired last week is not important. What I am concerned about is the attitude of the channel's management.

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