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Content IP ratio sharing depends on the risk appetites of the broadcaster and producer: Sumeet Hukamchand Mittal

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MUMBAI: Two legendary creative talents from the Indian television and film industry, writer Shashi Mittal and writer and director Sumeet Hukamchand Mittal shared a vision to create content that leaves a lasting impact on the hearts and minds of their audience. Today their company, the Shashi Sumeet Group, is a leading name in the media and entertainment industry with Shashi Sumeet Productions Pvt. Ltd for creating content for television; Shashi Sumeet Motions Pictures Pvt. Ltd for films; Shashi Sumeet Innovations for television commercials; Qats Whiskers for brands; and online platforms.

Started in 2009, Shashi Sumeet Productions is among the few production houses which have given some landmark shows to the television industry in India. With shows like Diya Aur Baati Hum, Punar Vivaah, Tumhari Paakhi and Tu Mera Hero the production house has set new benchmarks for content excellence in the industry.

Shashi Sumeet Productions became the first production house to make the journey from ‘reel’ life to ‘real’ life in December 2015 at Pushkar by having a lane named ‘Hanuman Galli’ there. This was inspired by the lane of the same name in its television family drama Diya Aur Baati Hum. Further, the production house got recognition from the Limca Book of Records for having back -to - back shows on Indian general entertainment channels at prime time i.e. from 8pm – 10pm in the year 2015-2016.

In conversation with Indiantelevision.com’s Sonam Saini, Sumeet Hukamchand Mittal founder director of Shashi Sumeet Group shares the journey of his production house and its plans of venturing into Hindi film making, intellectual property rights (IP) for content, among other things.

Excerpts

Q1. Shashi Sumeet Productions has produced 16 shows in 7 years. How has been the journey so far?

Sumeet:  The journey has been wonderful. The production house is seven years old. So far the journey has been challenging and fulfilling as well. Whatever we have done until now has been done with passion and dedication. I believe that if one’s intentions are good, one will always be successful.  In todays’ scenario if we are touching hearts and not just ears and eyeballs then it’s a bog high point for us. 

Q2. What according to you is the most challenging genre for television production?

Sumeet: I would say there is no specific genre which is difficult for a producer. Rather it is holding the audience’s attention that is the most challenging thing. In today’s time there are so many options available, hence holding onto audience is the big thing. If an episode is weak then you might lose the audience. So quality content is necessary.  Every genre is working these days including adventure, horror, supernatural and comedy.  

Q3, Diya Aur Baati Hum completed 1,300 episodes recently and now there are rumours that the show is going off air. Is there any truth in those rumours?

Sumeet: I too have heard a lot about the show going off air.  But these are just rumours. Our story was very clear - it was about a girl Sandhya who wanted to become an IPS officer but was married into an orthodox family. But still she wanted to make her dreams come true.  In a way, the story line was very thin.

So when Sandhya became an IPS officer, people thought now that her dream was over, the show would go off air. But Diya Aur Baati Hum is not going off air and I have confirmation from the channel’s side as well. May be the rumours were spread because the TRPs of the show had reduced.  We are working hard on script making new episodes.

Q4. What was reason for pulling off shows like Tu Mera Hero and Badi Devrani?

Sumeet: Badi Devrani was not doing well, Tu Mera Hero ended with high ratings in the range of about1.8. Today getting that number is very difficult for an average hit show.  

Q4: After Balaji’s Naagin on Colors, it seems that the supernatural wave has hit television screens and is proving to be successful. Will we also see Shashi Sumeet Production producing such creative content?

Sumeet: If any show or film works, duplication of its concept, ideas is bound to be there. We have seen that trend in the case of Diya Aur Baati and Punar Vivah. We have been talking about a supernatural show since quite a long time. Our drive is to create fantasy. Believe me, even we wrote a soap named Naagin which was on Zee TV.  We are still thinking on those lines and that is not just because Naagin is a hit show. We definitely have concepts that we are proposing to channels.

Q5: We are seeing many production houses curating content for digital platforms. Will we see you also producing for them?

Sumeet: Of course, we will produce content for the digital platforms!. We are working on it, but we are not in a hurry.

Q6: What sets the Shashi Sumeet Group apart from the other content producers in the industry?

Sumeet: The Shashi Sumeet Group by itself has an identity that sets it apart from other content production houses. We work with the one mantra that we want to create content for every platform. We didn’t want to restrict ourselves to daily soaps. We are making stories for brands. We might also do some fiction series with overseas partners. We are planning to go into movies. Quality content on different platforms is what we intend to create. At present we are working on two shows - one is a home grown show and other is a format show that we are producing here in India.

Q7: What is your opinion on Intellectual Property staying with the channel? Do you think it should be remain with the production house?  

Sumeet: I think it’s the biggest and the hottest topic of discussion in our country. Things are different here as compared to other countries. I doubt the scenario will change overnight, but I believe that IP can be shared between the channel and the production house on an immediate basis as they both share the risk. IP ratio can depend on the risk appetites of the broadcaster and producer.  We are looking at that very aggressively. We have signed one of our IP’s with a Brazilian producer, this is our own home grown IP, our own content.

Q8: According to you, what is lacking in the television content production space in India? And how does Shashi Sumeet aim to fill that void?

Sumeet: We always talk about differentiated content but we should genuinely try making different shows by putting an ‘x’ budget for a particular show.  We should be crisp and concise in storytelling.

Q9: What are Shashi Sumeet Production’s plans going forward? What’s in store from your production house in 2016 in terms of fiction and non-fiction?

Sumeet: We are focusing very much on content right now. One year down the line, our production house will come out with different shows. We have a few shows in the pipeline and we will soon announce our venture into Hindi movies. 

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