are optimistic --- really, even our blood group is
B+,' Optimystix's CEO Rajiv Vyas jokes. But pun on
the quirky coincidence aside, the trio is indeed excited
about the future of the company.
why shouldn't they be? Besides bagging the co-production
assignment for Fremantle Media's bestselling format
American Idol, the production house is also
upbeat about its plans to expand.
are going to launch a post production facility soon.
We are currently scouting for locations for the studio.
In addition, we are also looking at upping our strength
in the next few months," Optimystix director
Sanjiv Sharma offers.
year 2004 has certainly been an eventful year for
the company that was founded by Sharma and Shah in
October 2000. In a move to 'derisk', the production
house took a leap into the fiction arena with a Yeh
Meri Life Hai and now is in close talks with a
broadcaster to produce a show.
what other people say, we didn't quite enjoy being
known as just the format show specialists. As a professional
agency, we need to grow and hence when the opportunities
came by, we grabbed it," Vyas says as a matter
The quaint company, located in a scenic Mumbai suburb
Versova, was launched with the objective of bringing
quality and entertaining software to the television
"But we wouldn't cross out a foray into the Hindi
film industry too," both Vyas and Sharma sing
out in unison.
now, the trio and their core team of chosen seven
have their hands full with six shows on hand, two
of which are already on air and four more set to launch.
In their next six months agenda they have two Zee
shows and two kids shows. The trio is hush-hush about
the kiddie show though.
my life... "It makes you feel very proud,
especially when the supposed elite of society laud
the show." But doesn't the latest Yeh Meri
Life Hai have an urban milieu? "Thanks to
television's penetration, the urban market is growing.
Any place where you get satellite television, the
audience has an urban mindset," Sharma says.
however, has a different take on it: "The show
can't be really typecast as an urban show. The show
depicts a constant struggle between family values
and the aspirations of the protagonist."
it piggy back riding on 'Jassi's model? "Yes
and No. It is an underdog story alright, but Pooja
is a very believable character, not a superwoman.
She makes mistakes, she lies to save herself,"
why a fiction show? Sharma, pointing to Shah,
says, "We have got a Mr Fiction here. He has
produced Dekh Bhai Dekh. I have directed Lekin
for Sab TV."
"We were given a mandate to do something different
and looking at the current demographics of India,
it was a no brainer that a youth oriented serial will
have greater acceptance," Sharma says, about
the reasons behind the conceptualisation of Sony's
Yeh Meri Life Hai.
is Gursheel Walia's concept and idea. Initially we
thought it would be a story of seven friends, but
then during a brainstorming session with Tarun Katial
(Sony's executive V-P programming and response), we
(Sharma and Vyas) thought that we need a protagonist.
If the story is narrated through her eyes, it would
be a great identification," Shah offered in explanation.
making a television soap, we are also doing our little
bit for the young generation as a whole," Sharma
Is the role of a producer
ghost written by the channel? "If you think
you are being pushed around, then nothing can convince
you otherwise. But I don't think that you are ever
being asked to make changes," Sharma enunciates.
a producer you put in effort and money. But you'll
need a buy in, while at the Hollywood level, it is
a studio or financiers, at the television level you
have a broadcaster. You are using their platform to
showcase your product and, therefore, you need to
be in conjunction with that platform. There has got
to be some points where minds have to meet,"
What about the fickle TRPs not being kind during the
last couple of weeks? "One of the ways of getting
feedback is TRPs. So you pretty much know what is
working well and what is not. While you stick to your
convictions, which is your story idea, you tailor
it in a way that it becomes more palatable. But if
you really look at the serial, it has stayed consistent
with the story. There might have been some tactical
changes," Vyas offers.
So it is all about trust, really. "Sometimes
you are asked to make changes, but they are within
the boundaries of the basic story," Shah says.
"A professional production house is never asked
to do something. All that the broadcaster does is
share the research. Since the broadcaster has already
appointed research bodies, instead of duplicating
the exercise, a production house has to rely on a
broadcaster's research mechanism. And once the research
is formatted, you know what direction to take,"
Vyas has a different take to it. "A large part
of the feedback comes from the type and quantum of
advertising and part of it comes from subscription
revenues. So, any programming is designed keeping
in mind what is the most acceptable and what is the
more marketable product. So when you see that there
is a gap in a market place, we were asked by a broadcaster
to make a few changes."
So it's advertising that plays a huge role. "Advertising
does plays a huge role but it is, in turn, supported
by what they feel is acceptable by the people. The
vehicle that will carry the product to the target
households. And, of course, the freshness of the subject
and the ability of the production house to actually
go out a deliver what has been envisaged," he
is quick to clarify.
about the BIG ONE Indian Idol? "It
is a formula that has succeeded in over 60 countries
and with the 'big promotional push' from Sony it cannot
but succeed," Sharma asserts. As an afterthought,
he adds, "But India is a different ball game
production house is obviously charged about it and
is all set to ensure that the production is slick
and befitting its reputation. The format and the set
are similar to the original, they insist. "We
are not going to introduce changes just for heck of
it. The show is definitely going to adopt some cultural
changes though," Sharma says.
for the future, the company hopes to increase its
profits twice over...