Report on Shemaroo

Rapid fire questions with Swastik Productions' Siddharth Kumar Tewary

If not a producer he would have been a sports player.

MUMBAI: Story-teller, director and producer Siddharth Kumar Tewary is  now touted as the king of mythology (which he calls 'history') on television with shows like  Mahabharata, Suryaputra Karn, Shani, Mahakali, RadhaKrishn, Chandragupta Maurya and internationally famous Porus. In a virtual fireside chat with founder, CEO and editor in chief Anil Wanvari, Swastik Productions and One Life Studios founder and chief creative officer Siddharth Kumar Tewary revealed his most favourites.

Know your favourite person behind these successful shows in this tell-all interview.

Edited excerpts:

Which is your most favourite show?

I am a very hard-core fan of Netflix Originals show Breaking Bad. I think the characterisation of Walter White, the way this show has been written is brilliant. They have done very good work from a direction and writing standpoint. So, yes that is my favourite series so far.

Who is your favourite writer?

In writing I have a lot of favourites, but I think Rajkumar Hirani is the best writer ever in India and in the Bollywood industry. His work is legendary, the kind of messaging he does through humour is very aspirational. In Bollywood his favourite movie is 3 Idiots and internally it is Brave Hearts which has had a huge impact on me. Apart from this my favourite animated movie is Finding Nemo.

One thing that a programming head had done which made you upset?

I think I am on the other side of the table, the person doesn’t have the intention to spoil the work. For instance, someone was making the series and I am a micro manager. I look after every small detailing right from your scripts to dialogue. And I have invested days and months understanding the work and if suddenly someone says you are not understanding the concept this is something that makes me a little upset. Because I have created the show, I have written the character, made 50 episodes and then someone just can’t say I don’t know the character. So, those kinds of things make me emotional. I am very sensitive about the work I do. I get very agitated when somebody pinpoints it. But even I have made lots of mistakes in this journey. I was quite a difficult person to handle as well so it is fine, I understand that their intention is not bad.

A writer you hate to work with, but you had to work anyway.

There is nobody I hate to work with and still go ahead and work, this is not possible. I don’t need to be forced to work with anyone because if you are forced to do something the outcome will never be good. I always believe in the creative field if you disconnect with somebody, then you should not work with that person. If you will work with that person the core objective of the work will go for a toss. It will no longer be a product you wished to create. There is nobody right or wrong, we are the biggest subjective field in the world. So, for me if you are not connected, then you are not on the same page.

Are you a writer, director or a producer. Which is your favourite role?

The reality is I am a writer, director and a producer. I started with being a producer, I was not a writer in the beginning. When I did Amber Dhara there were writers who were  working with me and creatively driving the show. Over the period of time I worked on myself, I used to write a story and not an episode. I became a writer in a course of time and then started directing. So, it has been an interesting journey for me. However, I am more close to direction and writing, your work is out in front of the people. I look forward to people saying well done to me for my shows, it gives me immense happiness. I have not come here to build a multi-million empire, I have come here to tell stories.

When are you most inspired?

I am most inspired when I see legends. I try to understand what goes behind creating these legendary people. So, the journey about what goes into being consistent in their life, and continuously delivering good work inspires me. Even after being in the industry for 50 years Amitabh Bachchan goes to film sets everyday and is still curious to learn. I am a huge fan of Roger Federar. At the age of 38 playing a Wimbledon final is not a joke. It is not like this is something he got lucky with, it requires a huge amount of work. I really admire sports people, they take them to another level. In tennis you retire at thirty two.  I think it takes a lot to retire at the age of thirty. I admire Boris Becker a lot.

If you could switch professions, what would you become.

I can only play sports; I only like sports apart from what I do. I would most probably play tennis. Infact, my elder brother Rahul and I are very competitive when it comes to playing tennis.

What is the best thing that has ever happened to you professionally?

When I was doing the show Amber Dhara I had no intention of becoming a producer. But the whole 'accidently turning into a production house' has been the best thing that has happened to me.

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