Be it Anupamaa or Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai, producer Rajan Shahi is credited for creating the careers of artists like Rupali Ganguly, Hina Khan, Gaurav Khanna and others. But the producer has a very pragmatic view of what makes a TV actor a star in the industry. “For any outsider, the platform matters. You can be a good creator, technician or actor, but it is the platform that gives us a chance. I have done a number of shows as a director. I have always loved bringing in new talent whether it was Mona Singh in Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin, Rajshree Thakur in Saat Phere…. Saloni Ka Safar or Mona Vasu in Mili,” he says. The top producer says he has cast fresh faces along with seasoned actors even for his first production Bidaai.
Hina Khan is still recognized by many as Akshara from Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai. The producer reveals that he spotted her during an audition held in Delhi. Rajan Shahi says she was a complete newcomer from Srinagar and had never traveled to Mumbai. “I told my team to bring her to Mumbai. It took me almost two months to convince her father to allow Hina Khan to do Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai. My team and I spent another month and a half to prepare her to become an actress. Hina has done amazingly well,” he says. Rajan Shahi also launched Dheeraj Dhoopar in the industry.
He says he is very involved with the scripts and nothing is formulaic. Rajan Shahi says his shows resonate as they are in sync with the changing social fabric of the nation. He says that COVID-19 has changed people’s perceptions around the world. “Although society is changing, there are certain things that resonate with everyone in India. I like being close to ordinary people. I can’t relate to unrealistic stories that don’t emphasize human or family emotions,” he says. The producer says he advises his team to be as grounded as possible to know the realities of life around them. “You can’t write stories living in a fancy palace,” he declares. He credits his mother, Deepa Shahi, and daughter Shiha for keeping him abreast of what’s going on in the world.
Rajan Shahi says he has spent 30 years in the industry, starting as a junior artiste. He says there is a lot of mismanagement that he has tried to avoid. “We are working in an organized systematic way and adding more infrastructure to help us. If an actor takes work like other shows or events, the producer or the channel cannot be blamed,” he says. Rajan Shahi feels that it is the pre-planning that makes the scripts delight the fans. “You see in Anupamaa, every character resonates with the audience. Interpersonal relationships are very beautiful. You have to be organic,” he says.
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