Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A tribute to Waseem Sabir!

I was at my dinner table, when my phone blinked. Ignoring it I went back to start eating, when my father-in-law urged me to go ahead and look at it since he had perhaps read something that needed my immediate attention. It was a message from an old colleague and the contents sent chills down my spine. "Waseem has passed away" read the message. I pushed my plate away and got up and walked out of the house.

Calling the same friend for confirmation and details only made me go weaker in my knees. This couldn't be happening. The new year couldn't be starting this way. Suddenly all the objective believes you carry seem to fade away when a person you just saw, heard or took for granted until then, ceases to exist. Waseem Sabir is an Indian Television Director. He has delivered hit shows like Veera, Ganga, and Tamanna in the recent past. Ever since the start of his career the graph has only seen an upward trend due to his sheer hard-work, commitment and dedication until life suddenly decided to cut him short, yesterday.

Waseem Sabir, became just Waseem to us after a couple of interviews we did with him. This was year 2011 and he was doing a show called Dharampatni. He promised to give us an interview, but was busy in a shot. While we patiently waited for him to get done, he came to us and promised an interview the next day. When we pursued him this was what amused him. He perhaps was intrigued by the fact that we were more interested in the people behind the scenes than those on it. He often made fun of the same, though he simultaneously also applauded us trying something no one had tried or were interested in by then! 

After every interaction with Waseem, we took back something new. His insight into life and his perspective on various matters related to people, relationships and human behaviour often left us speechless. I still remember an interview we did with him on the sets of Veera, where he was seated with my colleague and another lady co-worker of his and he ended up making all three of extremely emotional with his thoughts on human lives. He  said "what we see of people in our everyday lives is not them, its the masks they wear to show the world what they wish to. But when one wakes up in the morning, you are yourself and the mask automatically comes off and that is who you really are and you cant run away from that! so true at so many levels, we felt! He had made his point. But in the very next moment he started laughing out loudly confusing us. On asking him what he found so funny, he joked, " I didn't know even I was capable of making women cry, not one but three at a time!" Thats how I always remembered him. He could read people like a book, and often showed them the mirror as well. He never hurt anyone, but that didn't prevent him from speaking his mind out either. 

We would always look forward to interacting with him, because he would always have something new to share each time we met him. His thoughts were clearcut and simple, and he knew what he wanted. I do not know of a single person he met that didn't like him. But if he didn't like someone he never hid it or pretended to be nice just for the heck of it. Every time we were in Bombay, he would invite us home, serve us tasty food and share his two cents on what was happening. Thanks to Waseem we never felt home-sick while in Mumbai. 

A few months into knowing him he seriously came to me one day and asked me if I wanted to get married. I was taken aback. He said, I have an alliance for you, but you must be ready to adjust to his party-going life-style. I wondered why he suddenly made this offer and joked, I would decide once I see the picture. Before I could click send, he shared a crazy matrimonial spoof video from a site. He had me in splits. He was extremely whacky that way. Even his last post on Facebook is about Taher Shah's latest video. Most people we meet from the entertainment industry either want to keep you in their good books because they are vary of the "media" or they think it is always better to maintain an image that is safe for them. Waseem never hesitated to share what he felt either on social media or outside about people or events around him. His Facebook posts are a reflection of the same. Im sure it was not that easy, as he was an acclaimed top-notch television Director and most of the people knew him either because they had either worked with him or wanted to work with him. 

We were all crazy Television fan-girls who never watched or enjoyed anything beyond love stories and romance, but Waseem just turned that around for us. Whether it was portraying the innocence in the love of a brother towards his sister or a young widow trying to find wings, or a woman wanting to make it in the world of cricket against all odds, he made the most cliche sounding content on TV appear different and sensitive each time. He always put a part of himself in everything he did and it clearly reflected in his work because anyone who knew him, knew he wouldn't take up anything that he didn't believe in. And when he did take up something one knew it would be a sure-shot hit. He just had that in him. His honesty always translated beautifully into work and he paid keen attention to detail. He would tell us every relationship he portrayed on screen derived inspiration from various people in and around his life. He was very clear about the kind of work he wanted to be associated with and what he wanted from it as well. I remember he once told us, I come at a price and people who want me very well know of it. Unlike most others who over-exhausted themselves with work, he only worked when he liked and took off when we pleased. He was a doting brother who always made his younger sister his priority. He even made a sister out of someone living abroad, he never met or saw just by the virtue of his conversation and perception of her. He would fondly call her Aapajaan. 

We at Rangmunch always felt a special connect with him and he ensured we were well taken care of and attended to whenever we visited him on any of the sets of his shows. He always congratulated us on small milestones, and cheered and backed us on big ones. He readily wrote blogs for us and shared his views on other shows without competing with them.

Its been a few years since I met Waseem, and the only contact I have had with him has been through chats and sms on occasions like Birthdays, New-Years and Ramzaans. He always made it a point to reply no matter how busy or occupied he was. I was not his best-friend, neither did I know him beyond his work or our interactions with him. But whatever little we saw and knew of him, he made sure it was worth remembering and cherishing. If he was this to a people he just knew and met once in a while, I am sure he has left an unfulfilling void in the lives of those that were a part of his everyday life. We still cant come to terms with the fact that we are talking about him in past tense since we had taken for granted there would be many more of those interviews, interactions and discussions whenever the time would come. But that was perhaps not to be. Rest in Peace Director Saab! Itni Jaldi Pack Up ki Ummeed nahi ki thi humne...!

Niharika Vidya Sagar

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Kartar Singh: The Forbidden Love !

“We always long for the forbidden things, and desire what is denied to us” ~ Francois Rabelais.

The above quote aptly describes Kartar’s current state of mind wherein nothing and no one matters to him other than Ratan.

I for one strongly believe that “Love” not only brings out the best in an individual, but at times also triggers the worst. It’s a very strong emotion and often paves way for negative feelings such as jealousy, suspicion, and obsession. Unlike the mind, the heart knows no logic and hence it fails to differentiate between what’s right and wrong.

Gurpreet’s world falls apart when Kartar confesses his feelings for Ratan in front of Chaiji. He even turns a deaf year to Chaiji’s warnings. She is shocked at Kartar’s audacity when he tells Chaiji “aap shayad bhool rahi ho hamare pind main ek pratha hai jahan parjai par chadar chadhakar usey apnaya ja sakta hai.” A tradition that was put into practice for the well-being of a woman, today has given Kartar the reason to pursue his feelings for Ratan.  

Many were upset the day Gurpreet had falsely accused Ratan for causing a rift between her and Kartar. Even though she accused the wrong person, her fears were never baseless. No one understands a man better than his wife and hence Gurpreet could sense trouble brewing in her paradise ever since Sampooran left his family. However, Kartar’s sudden outburst only brought her deepest fears to the forefront as she helplessly watched her husband express his feelings and desire for another woman.

In today’s modern society, a woman is still considered vulnerable, and if single, she becomes an easy prey for a man who then tries to take advantage of her.  As much as we may hate “Kartar” or “Bhaktawar” for eyeing Ratan, there is no denying the fact that both these characters are easily witnessed in the real world. But while Bhaktawar’s evil intentions are visible to all, Kartar hides under the garb of being Ratan’s well wisher and friend. Again it’s the presence of a Kartar and a Bhaktawar that makes Nihaal’s character aspirational. He respects and admires Ratan’s strength of character as a woman and considers her to be an equal.

Harsh Vashisth, with his acting prowess breathes life into the character of Kartar Singh. The transition from a loyal friend to being a jealous lover is seamlessly portrayed by him on-screen. However, Harsh Vashisth is nothing like his onscreen character. The actor admits, “For the first time, in my fourteen years of television career, over 25 shows, I am actually playing a rural character. I had to really reach down inside me a lot to get the feelings of what Kartar is. He is not very matured emotionally. Everything surprises him, everything troubles him. Kartar is not that confident. If he was, then he would not be leading this dual secretive life. He is actually being destructive. So no, Harsh is not like Kartar, not at all.”

So what would Harsh do if he had to face a similar situation in the real world? “If something like this had to happen I am sure with all the parties concerned I would be able to sit down and have an actual dialogue as oppose to foster these feelings until they burst out like that”, says Harsh.

As Kartar Singh continues to explore various means to get close to Ratan, it would be interesting to see Ratan’s reaction once she gets to know his true intentions. Is Kartar even thinking of the consequences? Well time would say that.

So keep watching Ek Veer Ki Ardaas Veera every weekday at 10.30pm only on Star Plus.
For regular updates and off-screen masti visit the Official Facebook Page of Veera at the link below.

Written by: Swati Ghosh

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

TRPs for Week 14, 2013!


Rangmunch.TV brings to you the Top 10 Shows for Week 14, 2013!
Fiction: Hits
Diya Aur Baati - 4.2
Pyaar Ka Dard - 3.5
Yeh Rishta - 3.3
Tarak - 3.2
Veera - 3.1
Saathiya /Madhubala / SSLK - 2.9
Balika Vadhu - 2.7
Uttaran / Qubool Hai - 2.5
Pavitra - 2.3
Sasural Simar Ka / CID - 2.2

Non-Fiction - Misses
Saraswati Chandra - 2.0
Mahadev - 1.9
Hitler Didi - 1.8 
Punar Vivaah - 1.7
Chidiya Ghar - 1.6 
Bade Ache Lagte - 1.5 

Masterchef - 2.1
Crime Patrol - 2.0
Comedy Circus - 1.9 
Fear Files – 1.8
Nautanki - 0.7 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

"Tractor race was indeed an amazing experience," says Sneha Wagh!


Star plus’ show Veera, produced by Beyond Dreams Entertainment (P) Ltd., recently put forth a visual extravaganza by organizing the Rural Olympics for the very first time on Indian Television. The highlight of the sequence however was the tractor race which featured Ratan, the female protagonist, competing against all men. It was indeed woman-empowerment at its best. 

But this is not it. Actor Sneha Wagh, who has a passion for driving volunteered to do the action sequences herself and exhibited immense strength and courage in doing so. The entire event was brilliantly shot and executed. 

We bring to you an exclusive interview of Sneha as she shares her experience with regards to the tractor race and her recent trip to Amritsar and Golden Temple.

How did it feel to be the only woman riding a tractor at the Rural Olympics?

Sneha: It was indeed an amazing experience. There were so many tractors, all decorated colorfully and I was the only woman among all the men around. To be honest because I love driving, when we did the first master shot of the tractor race I actually came first even though the script did not demand Ratan to be the winner. The entire direction team kept telling me “Mam aapko first nahi aana hai.” But it felt really good when all the women standing in the crowd started clapping for me. They were really proud of me.

How did the men react to your driving skill?

Sneha: After seeing my josh in the first master shot, the men took the competition very seriously and during the second master shot they were all determined to defeat me. Unlike men, I had to stand on the break inorder to stop the tractor from moving ahead and it was hilarious. Nonetheless everyone around were very impressed with my driving skills and praised me big time. 

How did it feel to get mobbed in Punjab?

Sneha: First two days were absolutely crazy and we had no idea as to how we would go ahead with the shooting. People were pulling and pushing and there was complete chaos around. Fans were continuously calling out our names ...Ratan Parjaeeji, Veera, Ranvi, Nihaal.  Infact Waseem sir even now teases me by calling “Ratan Parjaeeji”. But then again the fans’ reactions were overwhelming because it was purely love.  Since our show is based in Punjab, one gets to witness such heart-warming love of viewers as you visit the interiors of Punjab.

Tell us about your experience at the Golden Temple?

Sneha: I visited the Golden Temple for the very first time.  It was an amazing feeling. It was as if the divine power was calling me...come...come!!! Even though we were shooting, we were not very sure if we would get an opportunity to go inside the temple. But the moment the shoot got over, a few of us from the cast and the crew got the opportunity to go inside the temple and pray. 

So are you a very religious person?

Sneha: I am spiritual but not religious. I am not someone who visits temples regularly. I believe in the universal power and that belief is very strong.

(As shared with Swati Ghosh) 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Nihaal Singh: The Unsolved Puzzle!

Some people unexpectedly walk into our lives with a new ray of hope and give it a whole new meaning. Nihaal Singh in Star Plus’ “Veera” is one such mysterious character. 

One day he comes to Pritampura looking for Sampooran Singh and lands at Ratan’s doorstep. While he claims to be Sampooran’s friend, his awkwardness when responding to Ratan’s queries always makes me believe that there is more than what meet’s the eye.  As a viewer, Nihaal’s character intrigues me every time I watch him onscreen. I can sense his inner turmoil, as though he is trying to conceal something very grave. But the question is what and why?

Though Nihaal continues to be an unsolved mystery, he has definitely won my heart with his sheer goodness and selflessness. He is a Godsend who stands by Ratan, Ranvi and Veera through thick and thin. Nihaal’s presence reinstates the fact that with every challenge God also lends us a helping hand. 

Nihaal met Ratan under the most unlikely circumstances, but her life’s hurdles have always gotten him restless and like a Good Samaritan he ensured the well being of her family each time. Without having to say a word, he understands Ratan’s greatest worries and deepest fears. Despite her initial rejection of him, Nihaal’s unconditional help and support reminds me of this dialogue which says, Jaanta hoon aapko sahare ki zarurat nahin main sirf saath dene aaya hoon”.        

It’s really ironical how Sampooran Singh, who claimed to have loved Ratan with all his heart, walks away one day leaving his entire family in a lurch. Not for once did he think as to how Ratan and his children would face life in his absence. On the other hand, Nihaal Singh, inspite of being a stranger has always ensured Ratan and her children’s well-being, a trait every woman would look for in a man.  Nihaal unknowingly has become a father figure for Ranvi and Veera and a pillar of strength to Ratan even though she is oblivious to this fact. 

After establishing the character of Sampooran Singh so strongly in the initial episodes, it’s quite a challenge to establish another character of equal strength and aura, and also entice the viewers to come forward and accept him. But I must admit that the makers have succeeded in establishing Nihaal Singh as an integral part of the ongoing story and viewers have acknowledged him for all the right reasons.

In an exclusive interview with Rangmunch, the Screen-play and Dialogue Writer Raghuveer Shekhawat said, “Even though Sampooran was seen only in the first 15 episodes, his character was so strong that we had to bring in someone who could be at par with him, especially when we are talking about a father, Ranvi’s father, Ratan’s husband.  When we conceived the character of Nihaal, one thing was clear in our minds that the character has to reflect a lot of depth and warmth. We wanted viewers to constantly wonder if Nihaal is Sampooran, or is he going to take his place or exactly what role is he going to play in the story.  So somewhere we knew that there would be a constant comparison between Sampooran and Nihaal. In short we needed a character which has depth, is  strong, can portray varied emotions like guilt, warmth, attachment towards kids  and someone whom people can love in return. For me Nihaal will be a very aspirational character as the story unfolds.”

“The only people worthy to be in your life are the ones that help you through the hard times and laugh with you after the hard times pass” ~ Anonymous

Even as Ratan awaits the return of her Sarpanchji, it would be interesting to see when and how she finally realizes what Nihaal means to her and her entire family.  I am eagerly waiting for the day when she would let go off her past and accept Nihaal to be her present and future.

Watch the unraveling of this unique bond of Ratan and Nihaal on Veer Ki Ardaas Veera every weekday at 10.30pm only on StarPlus!

Swati Ghosh