"I don't see any results in comparing both of us. She was Ravina and I am Rekha Nigam. You will just have to wait and see."

Rekha Nigam, the senior vice president of programming and production, Sony Entertainment Television, (SET), has joined just 15 days ago after taking over from former chief Ravina Raj Kohli. With her confidant and fearless attitude, she has already given SET a whole new look of 'challenge' that it lacked earlier. With her new strategies and six new shows on stand by she is all set to take SET back on top again. Nigam talks to Nupur Rekhy about her own expertise and the strengths of SET.


What is your background and how has it has helped you to get promoted to take on SET ?

I started with Everest Advertising way back in July 1979 at the age of 19. The post actually required someone between the age of 35 to 45. Getting selected gave me tremendous confidence and my very first dialogue for Pan Parag (dhoom machade rang jamade) became a hit and that helped me further.

A creative background and Sanskrit literature base helped me master many languages as well as express my point of view. By being bilingual and 21 years in advertising as a copy writer have helped me reach the place I am in now.


Moving from advertising to television entertainment where the target is viewership and being in charge of decision-making, how do you cope up with this change ?

Answering your first question - the job is much easier here. Because in advertising you are an intruder so it is much more difficult to get the attention. You have to scream and say look at me. In television it's the viewers' choice. You just have to hold their attention. Anyway advertising teaches you to be creative and be good at visual presentation.

There is only one rule to learn - Learning to never to take your audience for granted. As for decision making, yes it is different from what I did earlier and to this I can only say that I am a very good student and by making decisions I have been able to enter the real world which is far more challenging and powerful. So this is a responsibility which I welcome.


You have such power over languages. How do you see that as an upper hand in your profession?

If you only know English when your target audience is Hindi speaking, then you will not succeed in getting into their heart and life to present your point of view.


What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of Sony?

Sony has a great product, good shows that have a lot of variety and is the pioneer in television making, even though I agree it is relatively very new. It has great potential. As far as weaknesses go, I am only 15 days old to comment on it. But improvement is always required to make it better.


How do you see Adhikari brothers and etc. channel in terms of competition ?

I have learnt to be always on my toes because the fastest way to disaster is taking competition for granted. I see every channel as a competitor.


But you cannot deny the stiff competition coming from Zee and STAR. Especially for the prime time with KBC and Zee's SDCK coming. In terms of investment how do you see Sony coping up to this pressure?

Like I said earlier, I don't see any one particular channel to be a competitor whether in terms of prime time or otherwise. I follow an example in my life - when you cannot reduce the size of a line without cutting or rubbing, you just have to draw another line that is bigger.

As in terms of investments Sony does have the position and policies, I would say it is just a matter of decisions.


Compared to Ravina's high SET standard, how do you keep up to it?

I don't see any results in comparing both of us. She was Ravina and I am Rekha Nigam. You will just have to wait and see.


Earlier you did thirty-second spots and now you will work on half an hour to an hour programs. Don't you see a difference here?

No as a matter of fact when ever I am asked this question I only say it is because of advertising that I am able to handle this as in both fields you have to be creative. With the pressure of thirty seconds only this is much easier comparatively


In terms of strategies you are concentrating more on youth or family.

Definitely on family. And more over the new Indian family who loves their own story and like to relate to it with others and I say that is more demanding because we have to concentrate more on quality and technicality. To prove this we have six new shows so watch out.


Lastly if you got the offer to write a script for a movie will you leave this and be back in movie business.

This is a tempting question but I have my hands full in every aspect of my life so for now I will only say "jeena yahan, marna yahan".

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