Shekhar Suman is back and with a bang. His Simply
Shekhar opened to healthy reviews from all quarters.
Simply Shekhar also marks Suman's debut as producer.
Not one to move slow and steady, Suman's next offering as
producer- a Bond like action thriller series XYZ,
premieres on Zee in October. Suman's comeback movie Chor
Machaye Shor is ready for release while his theatre company
The Silhouette Theatre Company is ready with its second
play that also has him in the starring role.
For somebody whose life moves at such a frantic pace, Suman
is unusually prompt in finding time for the media. In a
tete-a tete with indiantelevision.com correspondent
Amar, Suman talks about his new role as producer.
Work and time pressures notwithstanding, Suman's style remains
unchanged over the years - devil-may-care & tongue-in-cheek.
What made Shekhar Suman the actor turn producer?
The urge to produce programmes I believe in with utmost
creative freedom. Of course, the final call on the product
is that of the channel but as producer, I still am in a
significant position of authority to do things my way.
Simply Shekhar has a live audience. Then why isn't
there any interactivity with the audience?
A show like this is not meant to be interactive. This is
not a talk show. The audience is there simply because performing
in front of a live audience only enhances the performance.
Otherwise, why is performing in theatre not interactive?
What made you go for Zee?
Why, are they lepers? See, Shekhar Suman has his own
viewership. If 200 people watched me on Movers n Shakers,
the same 200 will watch me on any other channel. I believe
there is something called a person's loyalty and something
called the programme's loyalty. If KBC was on any
other channel, it would have been just as successful, because
of Amitabh Bachchan.
Besides, I took it as a challenge to be on Zee because
this programme has the potential to bring a turnaround as
far as Zee's position is concerned.
How has Zee contributed to your show on the creative
Well, the entire show has been put together in ten
days. This would not have been possible without the collective
efforts of the team at Zee and the directors TV Vinod and
Sushant. So, Zee's contribution has been there at every
step. Besides, I have been given complete creative freedom.
What is your arrangement with In-house productions?
I have sub contracted the show to them.
'KBC' was on any other channel, it would have been
just as successful, because of Amitabh Bachchan"
In the first couple of episodes of Simply Shekhar,
you took a lot of pot shots at Pakistan. Did that have anything
to do with Bal Thackerey's presence on the show?
No. I believe somebody has to stand up and call Musharraf's
bluff. He is a dubious person who says different things
to our PM and to the Bush administration. What I said, basically
reflected the Indian public's angst against him for being
But will the same apply to our PM?
Well, if need be, yes.
Doesn't the 10:30 pm slot jeopardize the show's prospects?
After all, this was the slot that killed M&S. And
if it had to be at 10:30 pm, should it not have been a daily
to compete with KSBKBT?
No. See in the last two years, viewership patterns
have changed and the 10:30 pm slot has got decent viewership.
Besides, Movers n Shakers would start even later
at 10:40 pm. Then, there were other issues with Movers
n Shakers, for instance in the later stages it did not
get enough attention from the channel. As far as I'm concerned,
the 10:30 pm slot is just fine.
(Regarding KSBKT) No, I didn't feel the need to make
it a daily because we are not competing with KSBKBT.
Like I've said, my show will have a dedicated viewership
that will remain unaffected by competition. In fact, KSBKBT
will now have to compete with Simply Shekhar.
One area where your show seems to be lacklustre is in
the sets …
I don't agree. On what basis, do people call it tacky
- just because it does not have iron and steel furniture?
The entire idea was to give the sets a homely feel. I've
had it designed the way I would like my house to be done
You seem to be getting into the I-me-myself mode. Recently
you came down very heavily on Kahin Na Kahin Koi Hai.
No, actually I was just asked by The Times Of India
to speak either for or against the concept of a match-making
reality show. I had no idea that it was in the context of
Kahin Na Kahin Koi Hai. But yes, I do oppose the
concept because I believe the Indian audience is not ready
for reality shows. The choice of a life partner is an extremely
important and private decision that can't be messed with
in front of the camera. In the west, reality shows have
worked but our culture is different and the sensibilities
of the Indian public will not take to such shows.
In any case, where do we go from here? Today, we have commercialised
a novel institution like marriage. Next, we might hear of
a reality show where people are supposed to make love in
public. All this is simply ridiculous.
show will have a dedicated viewership that will remain
unaffected by competition. In fact, 'KSBKBT' will
have now have to compete with 'Simply Shekhar'
What is your production set-up like? Which are the other
shows you are coming up with?
Well, right now I operate from home and do not have
my own production set-up. While Simply Shekhar has
been sub-contracted to In house Productions, another action
thriller XYZ that will go on air on Zee from October
is being co-produced by me along with Harish Ghai and Wizcraft.
XYZ has a very Bond-like feel to it, with a lot of
sledge hammer thrown into it. X is me, Y is the female protagonist,
Yamini, while Z is a dog, Zombie. Together we go about solving
Last year you had said you wanted to concentrate on
movies. What happened?
I never said I would be concentrating on movies. I
had merely said that I was being offered movies and would
be taking them up. The best phase for an actor is when he
is doing well in all three media - films, TV and theatre.
I am experiencing that phase currently and would be a fool
if I decided to quit TV.
How do you intend to balance acting and production?
See, I am essentially an actor and will always remain
so. As producer, all I need to do is plan things and delegate
responsibilities which I can manage without letting my acting
assignments getting affected.
What excites you as an artiste at this stage?
An artiste lives for the moment. I don't know what
will excite me tomorrow. Today, I'm writing the lyrics for
a music video. Tomorrow, I might just want to write a script.