Mumbai: He has been plotting and planning scripts for films and television for two decades and is still loving it. But veteran writer Kamlesh Pandey, who has rewritten Pakistan`s cult soap ‘Dhoop Kinare’ as ‘Kuch Toh Log Kahenge’ for Indian audiences, says the small screen is the right medium for those looking for experimentation.
Pandey feels TV allows a writer to play with his characters for a long time, unlike in films.
"Television is an excellent medium for any writer to perform. He can play with his characters, make them die, love, fight....anything. He does in films as well, but the time space is less. On the small screen you have the freedom to be experimental, intelligent and different," the 64-year-old told reporters in an interview.
But he feels `saas-bahu` sagas and reality shows killed the essence of the small screen but is positive for the industry as channels are now focussing on bringing heartwarming tales, like his latest work ‘Kuch Toh Log Kahenge’, which went on the air Monday on Sony Entertainment Television.
"There was a time when only saas-bahu serials ruled TV and then came the whole plethora of reality shows. There was hardly any great content on TV. But people are realising that audience is getting bored and want something better. Even Ekta Kapoor ditched her saas-bahu sagas and came up with `Bade Achche Lagte Hai`.
"I love television as a medium of expression, and there is a lot of scope for writers. I feel now some channel heads are ready to treat their audience with different content. As we say in advertising, `audience is not a moron, she is your wife.` You cannot take the audience for granted, and people should realise that soon," Pandey added.
Pandey has previously written serials like ‘Karamchand’, ‘Kachchi Dhoop’, ‘Kurukshetra’, ‘Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Sa Aasmaan’ and ‘Viruddh’, all of which were appreciated by viewers. He has also written for films like ‘Rang De Basanti’ and ‘Delhi 6’.
But he says it was a challenge to rewrite ‘Dhoop Kinare’, a story of romance between a 38-year-old doctor and a much-younger intern, merely because the 1980s show had attained a major following on both sides of the border.
The Pakistani show featured Rahat Kazmi and Marina Khan, who had become household names.
Pandey says ‘Kuch Toh Log Kahenge’ is a salute to the original work by Haseena Moin, who wrote a story which was way ahead of its time in its theme as well as treatment.
"Our show is not an attempt to beat the original; it is my salaam to `Dhoop Kinare`. It`s not a copy and I am not competing with it. With all humility and respect, it is my salaam to Haseena Moin`s genius and its artists and performers.
"Not everybody can write `Dhoop Kinare` or re-write `Dhoop Kinare`...it`s not easy. I know it because I am doing it, and I am trying my best to tell the same story without changing much with the soul. So far, I am satisfied," he said.
He hopes the Hindi soap does justice to the original and is able to recreate the magic with lead roles essayed by actors like Mohnish Behl and Kritika Kamra.
"Everything is the same...the characters and the story. But the only difference is that it is more urban and modern. We are aiming at around 200-250 episodes; so it is going to be an uphill task to make sure that the audience remains engaged," he said.