Creating his Legacy...

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Siddharth Malhotra not only runs one of the most reputed film and television production houses – Cinevistaas Limited, but he is also a successful writer, director and producer. Some people choose their calling and for some people, the calling chooses them. Born into a family of legendary actors and film makers, it was only a matter of time before Siddharth made his mark in the entertainment industry. Over the years, Cinevistaas has churned out some of the most popular shows such as Sanjivani, Dill Mill Gaye, Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behena Hai, Dil Dosti Dance…just to name a few.  Even more amazing is the fact, that each of the shows produced by Siddharth has given us characters and jodis that have become larger than life…even today fans would love to see Armaan, Riddhima and Sid back on screen again. Now that is the power of good storytelling and perfect casting! He may have been born into a legacy but through his determination, creativity and foresight, Siddharth Malhotra has proved that legacies are not inherited but created…



TG: As the producer of television shows and the owner of Cinevistaas, how far is your involvement in the creation of the show?

SM: I get completely involved in all my shows. Ek Hazaaron Mein was my conceptualization and Dil Dosti Dance was a vision that I worked on with my creative director – Palki Malhotra. As the owner of Cinevistaas, I do have to wear different hats but the main idea is to create good shows and sell them to channels. Now, the channel may be buying my ideas but it is up to me and my team to ensure that our ideas and vision reach the viewers. Ultimately, I am responsible for the way a show turns out so my involvement from start to finish is extremely important.



TG: You belong to an illustrious film background. How did you decide to take on the Television side of Cinevistaas?

SM: Yes, I do come from a film background. My grandfather was Premnath ji, my grandmother was Bina Rai and my father, Prem Krishen was also an actor. I have a diploma from New York University’s Film school and I have assisted Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Karan Johar. I started working for my father’s company pretty early and now I have been in the television line for almost 16 years! Cinevistaas has created some epic shows such as Katha Sagar, Gul Gulshan Gulfam, and Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron etc so I have grown up in an atmosphere of good television and more importantly good content. So it was only natural for me to get into this line and take the company forward. In 2000, I wrote and produced my first show called Sanskriti for STAR Plus. This was followed by a medical drama called Sanjivani that was very well appreciated by the viewers. Then we had popular shows like Jersey No. 10, Loh Hogayi Pooja, and Saakshi just to name a few. We have been blessed because most of the shows produced by Cinevistaas become popular and gather a sort of a cult status. So, over the past 15 years, I have created almost 30 – 40 shows.



TG: Talking about popularity and cult status, Dill Mill Gaye was quite the path breaker show on television…

SM: Yes!! Till today, I get calls, emails and messages to bring that show back. In fact, we did bring Dill Mill Gaye back with a season 2 but that was a difficult task. See, after DMG ended, no channel wanted to bring it back again because the show carried too much baggage. I don’t mean ‘baggage’ in a bad way but very honestly speaking, a brand baggage had become attached to the show. If you look at it, in a way, Dill Mill Gaye had become STAR One. When someone decided to end the show because they thought they might be able to do better or they might be able to bring bigger shows on…it backfired and soon after DMG ended…they had to shut the channel down! For some reason Dill Mill Gaye became a cult show. The ratings for DMG used to be pretty decent so it was never really rated in terms of TRP’s but it had a massive viewership and status. I truly believe that with DMG, we were blessed and the show got more than it deserved. We made that show with a lot of passion and we had a lot of fun while making it and I think all that fun and hard work came out in the product.



TG: You must get really attached to all you shows…any particular show that is your personal favorite?

SM: Oh yes…I do get attached to all my shows and especially to all my new shows. From the moment a show is conceptualized, I am involved in every single aspect and then when the show starts, I am involved in every single episode. So, I take complete ownership of the show and that includes the writing, the script, and casting, choosing locations, sets, direction, edit and all the other departments.  When Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behena started, I was shooting and directing each and every episode. So from the Hrishikesh portion till we reached 150 episodes…each episode has gone through my eyes.




TG: Did you always have the concept of Ek Hazaaron Mein… chalked out?

SM: Yes! We were very clear about where the story was headed from the beginning. We knew about the Cancer and that Manvi would get married and come into the house by the end of year 1. Surprisingly, this is one show where we have not budged, digressed or changed tracks from when we started. From day one we knew the direction of the story; we went with our convictions, reached there and stuck to our plan. In fact, it was only after the first year that we were unsure about where the story should go but that is an interesting facet of making a show. Now we are working on new tracks with the scriptwriters and creative team.   The great thing is that with Behena, the channel has been on the same page with us. The channel head believes in our concept and respects the production house and that allows us the freedom to do what is best for the show. You know, when you get that kind of respect and trust, you do everything possible to live up to it and at Cinevistaas we have always worked as a team to ensure that our content is the best. Sure, we do get into a lot of arguments but at the end of the day the channel knows that we will not give in to anything that is substandard.



TG: For Ek Hazaaron Mein, you cast relatively new faces and the show dealt with some emotional and sensitive issues. Were you confident that the new set of actors would be able to portray all the heavy duty emotions that the story required?

SM: I finalize the cast for every single show. Even though the lead pairs of Ek Hazaaron Mein were relatively new…we had dealt with all of them on numerous occasions. Karan had done a show before and even though Kushal had never worked in a show, he had done a pilot for me. I have known Kushal for a very long time now and he is a good friend. I always thought that he is a good looking guy and I would encourage him to get into television. So, he did a pilot for me and I pushed the channel to take him on for Behena. Viraj is a bit of a layered character so we needed someone who could play a nice guy with an attitude and Kushal fit that role completely. Also, Kushal trusts me blindly and that is very important. He is the only actor on the show who has never questioned me about what is happening with his character or the track. I mean, if I ask him to go bald…he will do it! So, Kushal has never questioned me and trusts me implicitly and obviously it is my responsibility to live up to his trust as well. I don’t think anyone could have played the characters of Behena as well as my cast right now. Viren, Jeevika, Virat and Manvi have become popular household names and I would not have had it any other way.



TG: Manvi is an intricate part of the show. How did you zero in on Nia to play Manvi?

SM: Casting Manvi was a very difficult task and it took us a long time to find the right girl for that role. For 8 months we just could not find our Manvi. We had already cast Krystle and we even auditioned her for Manvi’s role. In fact Krystle had to wait 6 to 7 months and we were absolutely sure that we wanted her in Ek Hazaaron Mein. So after about 8 months, my sister, who is also the co-creator of the show told me about Nia. My sister works with STAR Plus and she had seen Nia in a show called Kaali. So we decided to call Nia in for an audition and the minute she started auditioning…I knew we had found our Manvi! For Manvi’s character, I wanted a girl who you would feel protective about because that is what her character is known for. I mean, even as we were watching Nia audition, we just wanted to protect her. She is innocent yet she is naughty and bubbly and in fact today Nia is my Rakhi sister! She is a brilliantly talented actor and a God gifted child.



TG: Who is your personal favourite character in Ek Hazaaron Mein?

SM: It has to be Manvi because it is a very tough and complicated character to play. She is loving and selfless yet at the same time she can be selfish so Manvi’s character is layered. Unlike other female serial leads, Manvi is not one-dimensional. If she feels that something is wrong then she will openly question it and if something does not make sense to her she will make it a point to understand it in her own way. She is possessive and protective about her sister and in her own quirky ways she is always thinking about how to make things easy for Jeevika. It’s only after getting married to Virat that Manvi started thinking about herself too. So her character has very natural layers. She will speak first and then think later yet she means no harm to anyone. At the same time, Manvi has gone through a plethora of emotions at such a young age. She has gone through Cancer, battled it and now she is still going through all the acid tests after getting married. So as a character, Manvi has a lot to do in the show. Jeevika has always been the stability in her life. She is the stable heroine who will always stand by her sister, her husband and her family.



TG: Cinevistaas has always been the forerunner in bringing ‘firsts’ to television in two areas. Firstly, your shows always dabble with new concepts and secondly the lead pairs of most of your shows gain a cult status. Dil Dosti Dance is also a ‘first’ for television…can you tell us how that came about?

SM: When Channel V launched, they wanted to do a show on dance. We came up with the concept of Dil Dosti Dance, pitched it to Channel V and they loved it. With Dil Dosti Dance we decided to cast dancers and make them act! So instead of casting actors and making them dance, we chose real life dancers and it worked out brilliantly. I have to give complete credit to Palki Malhotra who is my creative director on Dil Dosti Dance. She has been obsessively involved in each and every episode since the show started and she is literally a parent to those kids! She is very possessive about them, extremely proud of them and I am very proud of her! Palki is so passionate about the show and I have given her complete creative freedom and in return she has given me a show that I am really proud of.



In terms of Cinevistaas’ lead pairs…yes you are right about the cult status. I see so many fan clubs on facebook for Armaan and Riddhima, Sid and Riddhima from Dill Mill Gaye. Then we have Jeevika / Viren and Manvi and Virat from Ek Hazaaron Mein. Kriya /Reyansh and so many more. I think all our shows have produced one memorable couple and it is an amazing feeling that the characters we create become so popular and get so much love from the viewers.




TG: Best Friends Forever is also a different concept…

SM: Yes. Best Friends Forever is a very edgy show that delves into the mystery genre. We are in 2013 and I believe that our stories and concepts should evolve and move forward now. Of course there will be drama and emotion in the show but it has a bit more edge in terms of the storytelling and that will give it a bit more shock value. Again, the casting of Best Friends Forever is very nice…the guys and the girls are all fresh, good looking and very talented. The show has been shot very well and it is based on the concept that everyone has skeletons in their closets.



TG: From television to movies…you directed ‘We are Family’, what was that experience like?

SM: It was a great experience! I have always wanted to direct films and work with Karan Johar. He has been my producer and now he is also a very close friend. It was a phenomenal experience working with actors like Kajol, Kareena and Arjun. Actually, I was supposed to start my career in direction with a rom-com but We are Family came about and it was a fantastic start for me. Since I come from a film family, direction is my passion…that is what I live for. I enjoy television and it is an extremely fulfilling job but directing films is what I live for.



TG: Producing a show for television or directing a movie…what is more challenging?

SM: Producing is more challenging because you are in charge of everything and you have to make sure that the end product is really good. As a producer you are handling more people and you have to look at every single aspect that goes into making a show. In terms of creative satisfaction…direction gives you a different high! You are in charge of actors and those actors are looking towards you for guidance and following your vision. As a director you are the captain of the ship and you can steer the ship in any direction that you want to. You are responsible for showing your vision to thousands of people and believe me…it is not an easy task to make the viewers laugh or cry. You have to invoke that emotion from your actor in that one take. Then you package the entire scene together and hope to extract the same emotion from the viewers in the cinema hall. So, if you intended your audience to cry and you achieved it…then the job is done! 




TG: What has been your favourite scene in Ek Hazaaron Mein?

SM: My favourite scene was actually a song sequence in the show. When Jeevika was getting married everyone had warned Manvi that she cannot cry in front of her sister. Manvi is obviously emotional and starts crying and then the entire family becomes really emotional. At that point we played ‘Phoolon Ka Taaron Ka’ and the whole family was sitting together with Jeevika. So it is the night before Jeevika’s wedding and in a way it is the last night when the family gets together before the bride goes into her new family. That was one scene I loved and then of course the Cancer scene where Manvi shaves off head and the Viraj follows and shaves off his head too. He tells her that he will always stand by her side like a pillar. There was a brilliant moment in the scene where Manvi is crying because she thinks she looks ugly and Virat comforts her and says that if she looks at herself through his eyes…she will always be the most beautiful woman…


Photo credit: Siddharth Malhotra


©Tinsel Gupshup

Apr 09, 2013
Awesome Siddhart!:) Keep rocking in ehmmbh!:D

Preeti Kaur
Mar 24, 2013
Loved reading Sid Sir's answers related to humbum He undoubtedly cast the perfect four leads for this show! ...and about Nia, needless to say, she is simply ek hazaaron mein <3

Mar 24, 2013
Eeeee..loved the IV !! Thank you so much for casting Nishal as Virman !! No one else cud hv portrayed Virman better than them ! They are the soul of EHMMBH !!

Anaida Shetty
Mar 24, 2013
Thanks for your interview. We truly love Nia Sharma & Kushal Tandon. They are fab!!

Mar 24, 2013
we always love nishal aka virman sirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr they are best couple ever

Mar 24, 2013
Well said Sid Sir... especially about Nia and Virat... They are the best... If not for both of them, the sucess of the show would have been bit doubtful...I love EHMMBH...Keep rocking....

Mar 24, 2013
Thank you very much for giving such a wonderful show... Um a great fan of u, Ehmmbh show and its cast... superb... keep it up...God bless u and the Ehmmbh team...esp ma them a lot.

Mar 23, 2013
Love d way sid sir xplained d reason behind nia sharma's & kushal tandon's selection for der respective roles..dey truly are very deserving ..brilliantly talented actors..

virman fan
Mar 23, 2013
loved the whole article.nishal arre the best for virman.virman are the best

Nishalian, NJ
Mar 23, 2013
Sid M Thanks for giving us Nishal. Wht u said abt Nia is so true, she gets tht protective feel outta me too. Nishla re Briliant actors. Infact all four & all character actors are good.

Mar 23, 2013
Amazing interview......Manvi is a character that would stay close to everyones hearts....luvd ur views on Nia & Kushal...Thank you Sid sir for giving us such a wonderful show!!EHMMBH rocks!!

Mar 23, 2013
loved the whole article top to bottom.and i loved the way sir has answered.and the selection of nishal for virman wasthe best selection.virman are the best and unique couple.thanxz.

Mar 23, 2013
awesome interview Nia and Kushal are truely gems.they r really life of show.

Mar 23, 2013
my fav are virman/nishal and kriyaansh.but i am crazy abt virman/nishal.they just rock by their u kushal/nia.thank u sid sir for giving such a cute,sweet adorable jodi.

Mar 23, 2013
great interveiw...nia is truly lovly girl and suits exact for manvi..and very talented girl..kushal also very briliant and expression boy thanks sid sir u r really your answrs...stay bless

Mar 23, 2013
loved the article ehmmbh n d3 are the best shows!! love nia kushal ! sid m has rightly said abt dem!! viratmanvi are my fav jodi

ash k
Mar 23, 2013
thanks for this article love ehmmbh! my fav character too is manvi !! nia kushal are just amazingg

Nishal's Fan
Mar 23, 2013
great interview.... amazing reply by sid sir... loved his views about Nia & Kushal (NiShal).

Mar 23, 2013
Ice effort but why nothing about my fave story of Cinevistass, Swayam & Sharon? Swaron is the only lead couple that could bring me back to Indian tvs after Arman/Ridima story.....

Mar 23, 2013
I was really nice to read this interview. You are doing one superb show EHMMBH. I just love Nia and Kushal!

Mar 23, 2013
loved the answers given by him....nia and kushal are truly gems of gems...they rock...

Aparna Thiyam
Mar 23, 2013
Heard his name frm during "my family"movie but never new his face or his shows till date. Read the intv,I loved it . Thanks Tinsel for bringing SM,through ur feature we got a chance to know him.:)

Sumana Sarkar
Mar 23, 2013
Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Sid Sir Love U Love U Love U Love You ...Trillions of Tonnes....I know EHMMBH is your fab and Maanvi - Viraat are close to you heart ...thank u for casting NiShal for Virman.

Mar 23, 2013
You are an amazin person n I am always hooked to your show. Stay blessed and continue to entertain us

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