Producer Ekta Kapoor is undoubtedly the reigning queen of Indian television. Love her or hate her, you cannot ignore the fact that her shows have been topping the TRP charts for more than two decades now.
Soon after Ekta entered the industry, she left behind the tag of being yesteryear superstar Jeetendra’s daughter and carved an identity of her own. Under her leadership, Balaji Telefilms became the most successful production house in the television industry.
Along with the small screen, Ekta has also tasted success in Bollywood, with productions such as The Dirty Picture, Ragini MMS, Veere Di Wedding and Dream Girl. Currently, she is busy taking over the digital space with her rapidly growing streaming platform ALT Balaji.
On Ekta’s 45th birthday, here is a look at some of her most interesting statements:
1. ‘It is uber cool for them to watch dragons, but when India watches naagins, it is not cool.’
The hugely popular series Naagin, which is soon set to have a fifth season, features shape-shifting serpents, magical gems and people returning from the dead. Despite its high viewership, the show has also had its fair share of criticism and backlash.
However, Ekta is unfazed by the negativity. Drawing parallels with Game of Thrones, she had told The Times of India, “What are the big shows that are working internationally, currently? People are watching dragons. It is uber cool for them to watch dragons, but when India watches naagins, it is not cool. Isn’t this anti-populist? Why do we look down on the masses and their choices.”
“Didn’t Jon Snow return from the dead? If you are not the audience, you will criticise, but then, that’s ringside play. Data proves that people are watching these shows because every time there is a kidnap, murder or a hero returns from the dead, there is a surge in ratings. It is escapism for the Indian audience,” she added.
2. ‘The critics were taking me too seriously after I made The Dirty Picture and Shor… so I thought why not make a Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum.’
If Ekta has produced Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, she has also been associated with Lipstick Under My Burkha, which was distributed by Balaji Motion Pictures. For her, being a part of such diverse content brings a sense of ‘thrill’.
Ekta had told Rediff in an earlier interview that ‘it is way too much fun to make a clutter-breaking film and then go ahead and make an absolutely mass appealing TV show’. She said, “So films give me the freedom to break the stereotype while television gives me the power to come back to the stereotype. It’s a killer balance that gives me a killer thrill.”
“I don’t think Jurassic Park could have been so much fun had Spielberg not made a Schindler’s List. The beauty is when you can do both. The critics were taking me too seriously after I made The Dirty Picture and Shor… so I thought why not make a Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum,” she had added.
3. ‘I think the first thing you think as a mother is guilt. I don’t think anyone would say that so openly.’
In January last year, Ekta welcomed a baby boy, Ravie Kapoor, through surrogacy. In an interview with Film Companion, she got candid about juggling between motherhood and career, and it was all too real.
She had said, “I think the first thing you think as a mother is guilt. I don’t think anyone would say that so openly. I am at work, I am feeling guilty, when I am at home, there is a lot of guilt about not completing the things that I used to normally do. So you are just dealing with various kinds of guilt. Then it’s responsibility and third is a feeling that there’s someone there that you want to see grow. It’s a bit confusing at this moment.”
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4. ‘I am a terrible actor. Do not expect me to act ever.’
Not many would admit their weaknesses, but Ekta is not one of them. In an interview with PTI, she confessed that she had no acting chops to boast of and would never be in front of the camera.
“I am a terrible actor. Do not expect me to act ever. I think I am a bad actor,” she said. As a promotional strategy, she made a cameo appearance in the series Ek Thi Naayka. Talking about the same, she had said, “I would be doing a blink and miss appearance on the show. Hope I don’t get any dialogues…hope I am just standing behind a tree.”
5. ‘I don’t think I can break the glass-ceiling if I look at it as a staunchly male-dominated industry.’
Ekta has clawed her way to the top in a business that is typically dominated by men. However, she never consciously tried to stand out. In an interview with Rediff, she had said, “I am very insecure as a person. I don’t think I can break the glass-ceiling if I look at it as a staunchly male-dominated industry. The demarcations are slight and you don’t realise it initially. If I look at it as a disadvantage, I won’t be able to succeed. The fun is when you don’t see any boundaries and go ahead doing what you feel like doing.”
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