Dahej, Maayka, Bhaskar Bharti, Dill mill gaye, Geet Hui Sabse Parayi one name is common to all these shows, who worked behind the camera to bring the best shots to our television screen. Whether it was intricacies of sister’s relationship in Dahej, or if it was nuisance of Bharti in Bhaskar Bharti, or just the sizzling romance of Maan Geet in Geet Hui sabse parayi, all those flawless emotions were made possible by one man, Rahul Agarwal, the man behind the scenes. This versatile director has proved his versatility with such wide variety of work he has done till now. TellyTadka had privilege to talk to this versatile director Rahul Agarwal about his journey and his experience as director from Dahej to latest Geet Hui Sabse parayi.
Tee Tee: Rahul tell us something about how you started off and your first assignment?
Rahul Agarwal: I started off as an apprentice director in Mr Anupam Kher’s Production Company. They were producing a show called RET KA DARIYA on Sahara TV. It was in the year 2000 and the show was a daily soap. Given the fact that I had no previous experience I was blessed with an excellent team to learn from. All were extremely helpful. I learned my basics of film-making here.
Tee Tee: You did family dramas like Dahhej and Maayka and then a comedy like Bhaskar Bharti, how was the transition?
Rahul Agarwal: Dahhej and Maayka were a great learning experience, but I had never directed a show like Bhaskar Bharti genre. It was a whole new experience and was great fun on sets every single day. I did a lot of preparation to understand the nuances of such a different genre, worked a lot on the technique and execution. It had to look fresh!
Tee Tee: Post Bhaskar Bharti, you worked on Dill Mill Gaye for almost 9 months. This was the season 2 of DMG, how did you feel taking reigns of a show whose season 1 had created a legacy?
Rahul Agarwal: Honestly, I didn’t know the “legacy” or popularity of DMG. The Team of DMG was super! The energy on the sets was electrifying. I treated DMG as a new show that wanted a revamp with new characters and a whole new season. Keeping the flavor of youthfulness intact I tried infusing a lot of energy in terms of execution and performances.Thankfully my work was appreciated.
Tee Tee: Did you face problems as DMG came with huge expectations?
Rahul Agarwal: No I didn’t face problems as far as the show was concerned. Where I did face problem was within me. I had to surpass my expectation and had to do justification to my work. I created a whole new technique of execution for DMG. I am a highly ruthless self-critic. However, yes we as a team had to deal with the delivery pressures day in and out.
Tee Tee: Post DMG was it easier working on Geet, as you had already done a 9 month stint with Star One?
Rahul Agarwal: Star one is an excellent channel to work with. It understands the audience; having said that, there is a lot of understanding between the channel and production houses. Star one gives a lot of freedom when it comes to Execution. Yes, previously working with the channel was definitely an advantage.
Tee Tee: With your entry in Geet a whole new track started. The actors were already deep into their characters for almost a year while the new track required them to bring changes to the characters. How did you handle your actors and the characterization?
Rahul Agarwal: When I was approached for Geet, it was already a hit show and had a huge fan base. Since I was handling a new track, it was like setting up a new show with only the leads carried forward. It was like directing a sequel. Being a North Indian myself it wasn’t difficult to understand the lifestyle and thought process behind a Punjabi family having a strict elder. The set of new actors were extremely dedicated and earnest. It was fun working with them, and in a very short time we became a like a family living together.
Tee Tee: What kind of preparation went into it? Did you study the character history of Maan and Geet before bringing about changes to it?
Rahul Agarwal: Yes, I did take a basic low down of the character graphs and the previous storyline, but I treated the new track as a fresh story, and also since Maan’s character had also transformed into a driver i.e. Balwant Singh, it was a whole new character. The only character that needed to be carried forward was of Geet.
Tee Tee: From amongst the scenes directed by you, which is your favourite scene from GHSP?
Rahul Agarwal: All the scenes remain very dear and close, be it Balwant- Geet track, Lucky-Mama, Dev-Nandini or Tej-Pammi; each scene required a lot of team effort.
Tee Tee: Which one do you think is your best directed scene or sequence in GHSP? The scene that brought the most satisfaction to you?
Rahul Agarwal: I loved directing the romance scenes of Maan-Geet. Their chemistry was sizzling. I especially loved directing the sequence where Maan finally apologizes to Geet through a letter and reconcile their differences. Even Lucky-Mama Dev scenes were fun.
Tee Tee: Any scene which was particularly difficult to shoot?
Rahul Agarwal: I would not call it difficult but challenging it was, when Balwant aka Maan gets a saree for Geet and she changes it in his presence. It had to be romantic and yet not sleazy. I remember watching that episode at home with my whole family, I was relieved that my parents and other family members weren’t embarrassed watching the scene. I had gotten my audience reaction.
Tee Tee: Being of same age group as the most actors of GHSP, did you find it tough to convince them to perform a scene in a particular way?
Rahul Agarwal: The whole cast was very professional, obedient, and supportive, but yes I had to at times scold them as a teacher in school.
Tee Tee: How was it working with the GHSP unit? Tell us about some of your memorable, funny experiences.
Rahul Agarwal: It was a party everyday on shoot, great fun. The energy on sets was electrifying! One scene I especially remember was hilarious, where Jugnu Maama gets happy with Maan and keeps on kissing him I fell off of my chair laughing during that shot!!!
Tee Tee: GHSP has a huge online fan base. Did you interact with the fans? If yes, did you consider any of the feedback/suggestion given by them?
Rahul Agarwal: The base that GHSP has is overwhelming, but yes I did interact with the fans. It was like getting audience feedback in a theatre play, instant! On TV, the Channel, and the Creative Director along with the set of writers make the story and screenplay. It becomes a little difficult to make changes in the track on sets, as we have extreme pressure and have to meet delivery deadlines. So yes, the feedback and suggestions were forwarded to the respective departments.
Tee Tee: After GHSP, what next? Where are you headed?
Rahul Agarwal: I am going on break, and I will spending time with my family.
Tee Tee: Till date you have worked on six shows, working on which show was the most enjoyable and why?
Rahul Agarwal: every show was a different learning experience! All shows had different genres. I am very attached to all of my shows.
Tee Tee: How has the expereince of working with different channels and different PHs been? which one has been your best experience?
Rahul Agarwal: Touchwood I have worked with the best of channels and PHs’ I am really happy and lucky to work with a lot of gr8 technicians and Crevtives. Been a gr8 journey and experience so far.
Tee Tee: What has been your most challenging task?
Rahul Agarwal: Directing songs has been the most challenging !
Tee Tee: In Bhaskar Bharti, a gal (Ragini Khanna) needs to act and behave like a guy when she was alone as Bharti was none other than Bhaskar himself. Did you face difficulties in getting the right walk, expressions etc from your actress? How did you manage to get waht was needed?
Rahul Agarwal: Being a guy it was easy to understand the psyche and thinking of a Man!
Ragini khanna is a fantastic and a very honest actor, a fabulous person too. She was very sporty as an actor and very receptive. The whole team worked upon her character and worked towards etchin it.
Tee Tee: Any message for your fans?
Rahul Agarwal: A big heart felt thank you for watching my shows and appreciating my work. I hope I keep up with the expectations. Please keep the feedbacks coming.
(naam toh yaad rahega na)
Reporter - Gouri Athanikar