Ashvini Yardi moved from being a key player in the TV industry to co-producing films with Bollywood actor-producer Akshay Kumar. Having hit bull’s eye at the box office with her very first production, Ashvini talks about taking risks and also reveals why films allow for more experimentation than TV. Excerpts from an interview:
Wasn’t it risky to debut as a producer with an unconventional Bollywood film Oh My God!?
Regular subjects and genres don’t really excite me. I absolutely love the challenges and the risk that come with subjects that are new and unexplored, but really relevant. In the case of Oh My God!, Akshay (Kumar), Pareshji (Rawal), Hemal and I knew it was a risk, however it was more of a calculative risk, which we were willing to take. The message that we tried to disseminate to audiences across was a simple one, delivered in a humorous yet impactful way. Besides if you see my career so far in television whether a Saat Phere, Balika Vadhu, Laado or a Bigg Boss, all have been unconventional formats and what most people considered to be risky subjects.
From TV to films how is it different in terms of planning content?
Oh, you get a lot of time in films. I realised that in TV you don’t really get much time but you do get many more chances to correct your mistakes in a story or a character. In films, you get all the time, however you have one shot in ensuring the characters and script are bang on, so one really has to be meticulously thorough.
Comparing the two mediums, which would you say is more open to experimenting?
I would say that films allow for more experimentation, while television has far more restrictions. TV as a medium goes straight into your living rooms and that section of the home is traditional and likely to be exposed to an entire viewing family. With television, you understandably have to follow more guidelines. Whereas with films, you can give shape to your imagination, tell the story as you visualise it and finally leave it up to the viewers to give their final verdict.
How is Akshay Kumar as a co-producer?
Akshay and I started Grazing Goat Pictures to back different subjects and great scripts. He already has a very successful company, Hari Om Productions for some years now and I had a very successful career in television. The only reason we are doing what we are, is to start a new platform for new genres, new talent in writing, acting and direction.
What are the kind of films that you are looking to back?
We just want to back great scripts across all genres. We are completely open to pushing ourselves and the boundaries of our cinema. The vision is not only to produce Hindi content, but also world and regional Indian cinema including the South Indian languages and these projects will be a unique facet to the company’s development.
Strong themes, issues and a script with a transient storyline is very important. We are also starting a ‘pitch-a-script’ concept wherein talented writers from across the world can pitch their stories to us. If we like them we will go ahead and make the film. We hope we are able to provide a great launch pad for some of India's emerging talent.
Are there any rules or lessons from your TV career that you apply to cinema too?
My rules are simple whether it's television or films... Go with the mood of the society and keep an eye on the current affairs of the country.