"We intend having three to four serials on each satellite channel"

Prem Kishen, along with Sunil Mehta, started the TV production house, Cinevistaas, nearly 17 years ago. After producing scores of successful serials - including the hugely popular Gul Gulshan Gulfaam and Junoon and the current hits - Sanjivaniand Sshh? Koi Hai, they have now expanded into a new area of business.

Cinevistaas has recently acquired a huge studio at Kanjur Marg in suburban Mumbai. The duo plans to spruce it up with the best facilities and make it a state of the art shooting experience that can be availed of even by Hollywood.Cinevistaas also plans to get into full-fledged production of feature films.

In a tete-a-tete with correspondent Amar, Prem Kishen talks at length about the company?s future plans. Excerpts -

Can you tell us more about the new studio that you have acquired  at Kanjur Marg?

Yes, we have just acquired this state of the art studio spread across five acres in Kanjur Marg. Basically, we were planning to acquire this space for quite some time. In fact, the basic objective of our public issue was setting up this studio. It?s just that it took us a long time to finalise the location. This would be a one of its kind studio with all facilities and departments - lighting, cameras, the art department, the sets and planks and the best production facilities under one roof. Besides, it will have the largest shooting floor in India. In fact, the facilities we plan to provide are exemplary so much so that we even hope to have people from Hollywood coming in and shooting here in the future. Obviously, we have made a huge investment in it and also expect to reap rich profits.

What has been your investment and what profits do you expect vis-a-vis the investments?

I wouldn?t like to disclose the figures and this is also because I consider myself only a creative person and don?t bother myself with financial details.

"I believe that mergers and partnerships are the way to grow in present times"

Of late, Cinevistaas has been producing a lot of programmes as co-productions with Contiloe and now withKaarnik.  Does Cinevistaas need co-productions?

I believe that mergers and partnerships are the way to grow in present times. We all have our limitations as far as our creative faculties are concerned and I feel it is only right to involve other people who have bright ideas but do not have adequate resources.  In principle, I am open to partnerships with anybody.

But what is your agreement with Contiloe or Kaarnik?

I wouldn?t like to go into the intricacies except that we have divided work areas between us depending on our strengths and of course, we share profits as well.

Which genres appeal to you?

Personally, I?m open to all genres as long as I can create a good product and have no specific favourites. Over the years, we have excelled in almost every genre - costume drama, comedy, drama, thrillers and in the future, plan to cater to every possible genre.

On what basis do you choose a channel?

We are open to any channel. The only criterion is the deal offered by the channel at a given point of time.

Cinevistaas has also ventured into film production. Can you elaborate on your plans as far as film production goes?

Well, we plan to develop into an all-pervasive production house, well diversified into serials, feature films, corporate and ad-films and music. So, in future we plan to take up several movies in the same way as we do serials. But I can?t comment on when these movies would go on the floors, as a lot would depend on the market conditions.

Our first movie, Yeh Mohabbat Hai was a co-production with Eagle Films. Our second movie, an independent project and for which we have signed Salman Khan, will go on the floors very soon.

"Yeh Mohabbat Hai's unimpressive

performance had dealt

us a bit of a setback

but we are already

on our way

to recovery

How do you divide responsibilities with your partner, Sunil Mehta?

Sunil concentrates on the finance and scripting of our serials, while I look after the execution of projects.

Sunil?s and your sons are also actively involved with the company. Are they being groomed to take over the reins of the company?

Well, yes, you can say that. Sanjivani is my son Siddharth Malhotra?s baby and he is involved with it in every possible way, whereas Sunil?s son Uday Singh looks after Ssshh Koi Hai?. Sunil?s other son, Vijay Singh is looking after our film production business. They are capable boys and have handled their respective projects superbly. Obviously, they are going to play a significant role in shaping Cinevistaas? future.

Does Cinevistaas not plan to put programmes on DD again like SABe TV did?

It?s true that Doordarshan used to be a major strategic ally for us some two years ago. But right now, we are locked in a court battle with them for canceling the telecast of our game show Knockout just days before it was scheduled to start. Till the matter is sub judice, I would not like to talk about any future association that we might get into with DD.

In spite of being an early starter and having been in the business for nearly 17 years, Cinevistaas has not really matched the success of a Balaji or UTV as far as the programming volumes is concerned. Where has it failed?

I don?t think we have failed anywhere. In fact, our performance has been the most consistent for a production house that has been in the business for so long. It?s just that at present we have fewer programmes on air, but this phase will soon change. Actually, our movie Yeh Mohabbat Hai?s unimpressive performance had dealt us a bit of a setback but we are already on our way to recovery. In the next few weeks, we will have a daily soap on air even though I would not like to talk about it right now.

How do you see things shaping up for Cinevistaas in the near future?

I see ourselves progressing on all fronts. We intend having three to four serials on each of the satellite channels. At least one movie - the one with Salman, will go on the floors. Besides, we expect to complete the installation of all facilities in this studio, which we have acquired. In fact we are already in talks with a couple of Hollywood producers to utilize our studio and when that happens, it will be a major achievement for us.

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