The king of comedy, Sanjay Kohli, who has three super hit shows on air namely Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai, Jijaji Chhat Per Hai and Happu Ki Ultan Paltan, speaks about his life and career.
1. How will you sum up your journey as a maker?
> My journey as a maker has been very fruitful and has been a learning process.
I came from Delhi to enter with the intention of being part of the advertising world. At the very onset, I got the topmost ads in the country and after that, I never looked back. I was India’s number one model and have modelled for various competing brands in the country. After this, I started my own production house with my wife Binaifer Kohli. It is one of the highly renowned production houses. We made big shows which were very successful.
2. What has been your initial challenges when you started as a producer? Please share. > Basically, we were producing a lot of ad films, so it was a lot of fun. But when we started producing TV shows, we realised that the TV world was not organised. We being very strong at preproduction, we already had an edge over the others. Also, we already knew the importance of creative thinking. The setbacks that we faced initially were that people were laid back, not very professional. It was an era where people thought that they were the face of the show. Back then, the contracts were not very tight. It was all a learning process but a little harrowing in the beginning.
3. Your production house is mostly into producing comedy shows, why is that? Please share the reasons.
> That’s not true. We have produced lots of good soaps too. FIR, May I come in Madam, Jijaji Chhat Par Hain and Bhabiji Ghar Par Hai have become hits. Our newest show Happu Ki Ultan Paltan has been topping the charts as well. So, I believe that everybody specializes in something. We specialize in comedy and we know the mantra and pulse of the audience. Hence, we enjoy working in comedy and now it has become our forte. My team is my strength including Manoj and Shashank.
4. According to you, what should be the basic ingredients of a good comedy show? Please define.
> The basic ingredients of a comedy shows are its characters and how well defined they are. When we are shooting episodes, it’s not like work, we enjoy every bit of it. It’s like we are being paid to have fun.
5. Your better half Binaifer has a huge role to play in your career, how she completes you?> Yes, Binaifer has a huge role to play in my life. She completes me in every way. We both have our fortes and our departments to handle. But we are both there for each other. We have immense confidence in doing what we do as we both know that the other counterpart would be behind to support. We complement each other by backing each other by our expertise.
6. As a producer, what are your aspirations now? Please share your future plans.
> God has really blessed us and we have got everything. We are now in the process of making a movie. We only do what we enjoy, we don’t look at the money part. We do what we like and are passionate about. Money follows inevitably
7. De-stressing is a must in today’s stressful life, how you unwind yourself?
> Yes, it’s very important as the job we are doing is very time-bound. Many young people have heart failures in this job only because of the fact that its time-bound. I de-stress by playing pool volleyball, badminton or gym. So, I like all sorts of sports, it also helps me to de-stress. Sometimes, I watch new episodes of a serial to de-stress. The easiest way for me to relax is to make a new episode. It naturally helps me de-stress.
8. Who has been your all-time favorite comedian and why?
> Charlie Chaplin is my all-time favorite comedian. He never needed to open his mouth. He did everything through his eyes and gestures, which is so very difficult. Whether it was a sad or happy scene, he made sure the audience knew what he was feeling.
9. In your life, career one person whom you admire, look up to? Share your reasons.
> The one person who I look up to and admire in my life is my mother. She became an army widow at a very young age of 32. In spite of that, I have not seen her ever without a smile on her face. I have always followed her values and example.
10. Happu Ki Ultan Paltan has got tremendous feedback from the audience. What is your take on that?
> Happu Ki Ultan Paltan has got tremendous feedback and love from the audience. In fact, it’s the most difficult show to have been made in our career as it’s not a conventional show with a conventional hero with a conventional dialect.