It is six pm when we meet Ekta Kapoor in her spacious office. Dressed casually in a green kurta with her hair in a knot, you can make out that she is in the midst of many things. In fact, too many would be a better term as she has a film, three TV shows and numerous web series on the anvil. Obviously, the conversation begins with Veere Di Wedding, which hits the theatres tomorrow. This is her first film as a producer with Kareena Kapoor Khan, Sonam Kapoor and Rhea Kapoor. As we proceed ahead in the conversation, you can make out how much she believes in the thought of acceptance for women however they are. Excerpts from an interview….
With Veere Di Wedding, Naagin 3, Qayamat Ki Raat and Dil Hi Toh Hai on the anvil, what is your state of mind?
I am going mad. Well, I have been doing my own thing as multi-tasking is a big word. I have great teams working with me. I am too numb and tired now. I take out time selfishly for my workouts. The thing is I cannot just say no to good work. I am happily doing whatever is coming my way. (Also Read: Pakistan bans Veere Di Wedding terming it vulgar and women there are not happy about it!)
What did you love about the script of Veere Di Wedding?
Since childhood, we are constantly sold a dream. For men, it is you’ll grow up to be a hugely successful guy one day and for a girl, it is you’ll marry a great guy one day. It is become a part of our DNA. To be successful in life, you need to marry a great guy, have this big home with two kids. Not even one, but two to complete the family! Even I am asked constantly when will I settle down. I am sufficiently settled (laughs out loud) but I am constantly sold this dream. It may be easier for women from so-called emancipated homes or working women but for those in smaller towns it can be torturous. When a marriage does not work, it is the girl who is told she is at fault. Veere Di Wedding celebrates a woman the way she is whether she is complete with a man or incomplete without it. The film deals with great and not-so-great relationships. It is not about male bashing. It is about the way you’re plump or skinny, happy or unhappy. The best part is the message of acceptance.
What was your first reaction when Rhea (Kapoor) came to you with the script?
I was like Rhea you have this story about four gorgeous women whose lives I cannot definitely identify with. I mean, it has Kareena Kapoor Khan signed on as Kalindi. When I read the story, I was like, this is gorgeous Rhea! It has beauty with depth. Any girl/women from any part of the world would relate to the film and issues. In Veere Di Wedding, nor is Kalindi perfect nor Avni. Girls will see them and say it’s me! (Also Read: Veere Di Wedding celeb movie review: Karan Johar, Patralekhaa, Anita Hassanandani LOVED Sonam Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor Khan’s film)
Which character is closest to yours in the film?
Swara’s (Sakshi), I think. I have temper issues just like Swara’s. I am so always picking the tabs and paying the bills. She’s insane in the film. Maybe a little bit more lazy than me. She is the most foul-mouthed and dysfunctional in the movie. After I saw the film, I called her up and said, “Swara, you’re very funny like me only.” She asked me, “Main kya ameer nahi lag rahi hoon film main.” I started laughing and said, “No, you look rich, of course.”
Tell us a bit about the tagline that Veere Di Wedding is not a chick flick?
It is basically our whole gender gets pushed to one side when we make a film about women. Men can make comedies, romances, bromances, western but women makers can only make a chick flick. It is like what else can they do? Women writers will show four girls sitting around and gossiping. That’s a film for them.
With ALT Balaji, do you really believe that the content era is platform neutral?
The audiences are shifting platforms. Young people are lesser on TV and more on the net. If someone wants to watch digital content, he or she watches it alone. On the other hand, film viewing is a more communal experience where you go with family or friends. Television is again for the whole family. There are habitual preferences when it comes to content.
The number of people watching TV in urban areas is declining rapidly. Does that bother you as a TV producer?
We have stopped making shows for urban audiences. Everyone is catering more for the rural belt. The volume of audience is not low. It is shrinking in cities but expanding in villages. So, content is more about them. We are a country of one billion. No medium is going to die. It does not bother me. I am happy with the growth in digital content as I now own an app (laughs).
There are rumours that Naagin 3 is inspired by Jaani Dushman – Ek Anokhi Kahaani?
We have a very easy way here. It is particularly prevalent in India that the story must be that. It is the story of vendetta. It is about a girl taking revenge from five men who tried to rape her. So, it can be a bit of #MeToo also. It busts the thought that a woman will never get back. It is vendetta done differently.
Rakshanda Khan said that you are a puppy in front of Laksshya. How has your life changed with the arrival of your nephew?
Again, I got late as he refused to let me leave the house. It is scary. I never believed I could love a child so much. People would show me videos of their toddlers saying hello and I would wonder what’s so great about it. Now, I have become that person. Whenever someone says Laksshya, I start showing his videos. He had a nightmare recently and I was so stressed. I could not sleep the whole night. I have realised there is no bigger joy than a child in the house. No money, work can bring that smile that a child brings to a home. It is a pure stress-buster to see him roam around the house. My house is not the same as it used to be two years ago. It is a different home. Tusshar is a disciplinarian. He has told us not to enter his room after eight pm as it’s his bed-time. We are more scared of his dad. He wants to make sure that he has proper timings to sleep and wake up. It’s like do not be like your aunt, she has no timing for anything.