Television

Subhash Chandra knew I had a winning concept: Rajat Sharma

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In the 21 years of this show, nobody has been forced to reply, Rajat knows the art of extracting a reply through his sweet questioning. Another big quality of Rajat is that he uses his tongue sparingly in his show, but he uses his heart to the fullest. A clever mind works behind this,” is how Prime Minister Narendera Modi described the man who has been for 21 years making the icons of the country answerable.

Rajat Sharma’s journey with ‘Aap ki Adalat’ began with Zee TV in 1994 and from then there has been no stopping. The talk show has seen politicians, sportspersons, celebrities and others pour out their heart as well answer some of the trickiest questions.

Amidst the celebrations, indiantelevision.com’s Meghna Sharma in a freewheel chat with Sharma spoke about what keeps him ticking, his favourite interview and much more.

Excerpts…

21 years is a long time, what do you have to say about the journey? What keeps you ticking?

It still feels that the journey has just begun; all my memories with the show are still very fresh. The type of guests we have hosted on ‘Aap Ki Adalat,’ their replies, the viewers’ response, the in-studio audiences, the ambience that makes me feel at home every time I step into the Adalat Studio, the affection showered upon me, probably the never-ending love of my viewers…all makes me feel really blessed and probably gives me the strength to keep going.

When did you come up with the idea of starting ‘Aap ki Adalat’? Any glitches faced while launching the show?

The idea came up in a casual conversation with Zee TV owner Subhash Chandra on a flight from Delhi to Mumbai, 21 years ago. Without much thinking I told Subhash Chandra how the interviews should be done for TV. I told him about putting politicians in the dock and making them accountable to public. After we landed I forgot about the conversation. Subhash Chandra, however, was quick to realise that I had come up with a winning concept.

Your most memorable interview so far and why?

Like I said, all of my interviews have been really special and still very fresh in my memory, however if you tell me to pick one, I would pick the one with the then PM candidate, Narendra Modi. The reason for my pick is not only did the show created a huge ripple in the broadcast media Industry, when almost India’s 85 per cent news audiences watched the show’s first telecast with competition reduced to negligible numbers but also because of spontaneity and ease with which Mr. Modi responded even to the trickiest questions…given the fact that he had a really bad throat after addressing six-odd election rallies during the hectic campaign spree. We weren’t expecting more than 15 minutes of shoot. We ended up shooting him for over two hours and the result was breathtaking.

Whom/what do you attribute this success to? How do you still maintain the charm of the show?

Talking of success, I am very sure that it wouldn’t have been the way it is now if the director of my show, who also is my wife, Ritu Dhawan wouldn’t have been around. She is the one who has been standing like a rock behind my success…taking care of everything, from my looks to the positioning of the show, she is everywhere.

I have always believed in doing my job right and just focus on that. We have been able to create the right mix of depth, detailing and research mixed with the right amount of humour, we have ensured to keep the show relevant to the changing preferences of the audiences over the last two decades, probably that’s what you are referring to as charm.

After 21 years, will we see any changes in the format?

Change is inevitable, however more than planning any such change we would rather keep ourselves adaptive to what our audiences would prefer.

From President to PM to celebs, everyone attended the celebrations. What do you have to say about the support?

One word, I am overwhelmed. Feeling deeply humbled. While just focusing on my work, I never expected the amount of affection and respect showered upon me by all including country's topmost icons. I am more than grateful to all and most to my viewers who have backed me all through as their advocate while I tried to amplify their voice with who mattered.

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