One of the most prolific writers of the Indian TV industry, Mrinal Jha has written for various channels like Zee TV, Star Plus, Colors, Sahara One, Star One, UTV and Doordarshan. She has penned shows like Kaahin Kissii Roz, Kya Haadsa Kya Haqeeqat, Tum Bin Jaaoon Kahaan, Banoo Main Teri Dulhann, Amber Dhara, Chhoona Hai Aasmaan, Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Santaan, Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo, Maayka, Pyaar Ka Bandhan, Kaali- Ek Agnipariksha, Sanjog Se Bani Sangini etc. She is currently the producer of Jay Hind! - the first ever TV show made exclusively for the internet platform and is the Creative Producer of Qubool Hai on Zee TV.
Here is the dynamic lady in conversation with Tellychakkar.com for our ‘Behind the Lens’ segment.
You have been in the Indian TV industry from the Doordarshan days. How has the industry changed for the writers over the years?
The pressure to deliver fast has increased. I think writing was better during the Doordarshan times as there were qualitatively better shows being aired at that point of time. We were producing shows that were of a far better nature and had a variety of genres in offer. Now most of our fiction shows are daily soaps- dramas.
Many writers complain about the daily format as it brings down the quality of writing. However, you maintain that a good writer should be able to write well even in the daily format….Explain.
If you are good writer you should be able to write good shows even in the daily format and shows of all genres. But it also is the responsibility of the writers to take up stories which have some merit. Discretion while choosing shows is also the writer’s responsibility.
Of all the characters you have created, which one is the closest to your heart and why?
It is very difficult to choose one character. On the top of the mind I guess it has to be all the vamps I have worked on, one being Ramola Sikand in Kaahin Kissi Roz- she created a new level of villainy. Then there is Sindoora Pratap Singh from Banoo Main Teri Dulhann. Currently in Qubool Hai I like the way Zoya has shaped up. She has become one of my favourite characters. Zoya breaks the mould of a typical saas bahu character.
I am currently in the process of developing a heroine who is completely against the trend of the current lot of heroines. That should bring about some kind of novelty in the way we project our female leads.
How longer will the saas bahu trend stay?
I think the saas bahu trend is already on its way out. Dramas will stay but within dramas we will need to explore more relevant and modern concepts. Saas bahus already have become marginal. People are waiting for novelty and we have been slow in providing it. The trend should have already changed but it has been a bit slow.
Why have you not written anything for SAB TV till now?
I haven’t written anything for SAB TV as I do not write those kinds of shows. I never had any contact with that channel. Nor do I like the serials that I see on it.
You know so much about Hindu mythological shows. When will you be writing one of them?
India has such wonderful texts which have hardly been explored. I do not see the point in doing remakes of theRamayan and Mahabharat. There are so many texts which have completely been unexplored. They can be translated beautifully to television. I just do not want to write but also make a good classic. I wouldn’t call it a mythology but a classic made on our ancient texts.
Would you like to write for Epic TV which is coming up?
Currently I am not just functioning as a writer. I have a production house Undercover Productions. So, I am a producer as well as a writer. For me it isn’t just about writing ten shows. I want to be in the production, putting together and developing really quality content. Epic TV is a channel which I haven’t approached so far. Nor do I have any contacts with the channel as of now. I can’t really foresee anything with it as yet.
How has it been to work with your husband Abhigyan Jha?
We started off by writing a book together. We have gone on to write many books. While writing together we realised that our thoughts matched so well. It is wonderful to collaborate on writing. Jay Hind! our online show is one which I produce and he has created it and is also involved in the direction. We share a great comfort level working together.
When will we see your production house Undercover Productions producing a TV serial for broadcast television again?
We are already producing Jay Hind! on the internet. As far as broadcast television is concerned we want to produce something only if we are allowed by the channel to make a good product. We just do not wish to be a part of the herd and simply add on serials to our belt. We would rather make serials which make a difference.. We would like to find subjects and convince the channels that such serials will work. That cannot happen overnight.
Our focus is on creating 360 degree content- premium content that can be watched across various gadgets - from tablets, mobiles to smart TV. We are essentially a channel on the cloud - a platform agnostic content creation company that takes the content directly to the audience.
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