Goldie Behl is making his directorial debut on television with a magnum opus — Aarambh — which goes on air today (June 24) on Star Plus. The finite show is being touted as one of the most expensive and biggest series on television. The show has also created a lot of curiosity among the audience and TV critics because of its association with the writer of Baahubali movies — KV Vijayendra Prasad, who has also written the story of Aarambh.
Goldie, who directed and co-produced the series (with his sister Shrishti Arya), says, “Aarambh is a very special show. I have tried to bring his (Prasad) vision to the small screen and give it a larger-than-life experience. I am happy that Star Plus put its money on the show.”
The show stars Tanuja Mukerji, Rajniesh Duggall, Karthika Nair and others. While Rajniesh plays Varundev; Karthika plays Devsena. Was it tough getting Tanuja on board? “Not really. She loved the concept because she loves Star Wars kind of content,” he says.
Based on the story of two clans — Aryans and Dravidians, Aarambh focuses on the age-long clash between them. “It highlights the clash between the two mindsets. While Aryans were a patriarchal society, the Dravidians were matriarchal. It’s the problem of the world and there has been an age-long debate on which is a more effective way of life — patriarchal or matriarchal,” says Goldie, who in the past has produced TV shows like Kehta Hai Dil Jee Le Zara and Reporters. The story goes back to the time when the Dravidians ruled over the Indian subcontinent and the Aryans, the nomads from the West, were in search of Saptsindhu, the fertile land they had always heard about.
The director says that it’s an added advantage having Prasad on board as the writer of the show. “We had started shooting for the show six to eight months ago, before Baahubali 2 released. But there is no denying that the timing is great. The excitement among the audience is important because it’s a high-value product,” he says, adding, “More people should watch the show. As a director and writer, the agenda is to entertain people.”
Was it an intentional move to launch the show around the release of Baahubali 2 (April)? “That’s the genius thinking of Star Plus. They wanted to launch it earlier but it took time in the pre-production. But the channel thought that it made better sense to launch post Baahubali and IPL. We wanted to avoid the India-Pakistan match too because I myself would have watched the match. So, they reworked on a new slot,” he says. The show will be aired over the weekend at 9 pm.
And how did his association with Prasad, who has written several hit films like Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Eega (Makkhi), Magadheera and others, happen? “I had gone to meet Prasad as a producer so that we could work on some stories. I landed in Hyderabad at 9 am and was with him till 6 pm. He had so much energy and he is like a child. Even during lunch, he had so many stories to tell. We had become friends by evening despite the fact that he is much senior to me (laughs),” answers Goldie. He says that Prasad had written the story of Aarambh but it was too long to be made into a film. “We, therefore decided to make it into a TV series. After listening to the story, I felt that I should direct the show more than producing it,” he adds.
Speaking of the challenges faced while directing the show, Goldie says that transforming the vision on paper to screen was a big challenge. “It is a big-budgeted project but not enough to achieve everything. So the production was a challenge too,” he says.
The director of Drona, a fantasy adventure superhero film, is inclined towards fantasy shows. “It’s not planned but I think it comes naturally to me,” he says.
With so much at stake on the show, is he nervous about the audience reaction? “There are some expectations but there’s also hope. No one has ever been able to tell what the audience wants, both in TV and films. I am no more thinking about if the show will work or not. As you mature, you will realise that your job is to work and put out a great show,” Goldie signs off.