New Delhi: Television mogul and ace producer Ekta Kapoor turns 46 on Monday (June 7). The boss lady is known to have broken many barriers and has been ruling the television industry for more than two decades. Ekta has also proved her mettle as a film and OTT show producer. But this was not her original plan. The success magnate wanted to get married at 22 and ‘live a very mediocre life’ as confessed by her in an interview.
“At 17, my father [yesteryears actor Jeetendra] told me to either get married or go work instead of partying like I wanted to. He told me that I won’t get anything other than my pocket money and to earn some extra cash, I worked with an ad agency. I was perfectly fine with the situation and thought I would live a very mediocre life, get married at 22 and settle down to a life of enjoyment. Unfortunately, or fortunately, nothing we plan ever happens,” shares Ekta with Outlook Business.
Hum Paanch aired when Ekta was just 19 years old
Ekta Kapoor’s father and veteran actor Jeetendra, was offered a chance to create software for a London-based channel TV Asia by his friend Ketan Somaia. This job was handed over to young Ekta. But before she could sell the software, the company got sold off to Zee Channel. “I decided to make five or six pilots with the concepts I had in mind. Meanwhile, the channel got sold to Zee TV. Here, I was trying to sell software that no one was ready to buy and there, our partnership had fallen to pieces. We lost all of our investments and were down to our last Rs. 2 lakh. I decided to shoot the pilot for a show called Hum Paanch and sold it to Zee. By the time I was 19, it was on air,” shares Ekta.
The show was an instant hit and helped Ekta taste success for the first time.
‘I married television’
Once Ekta got into the business of production, she fell in love with it and there was no looking back. “I started enjoying production. Some shows were making a lot of money and some were not. But once I started enjoying the challenges, I became obsessed about production. I ate, drank, slept and married television. It was not for the money — I was just pleased with the content that I was making,”m says the boss lady.
‘When Rajinikanth calls, people listen’
Ekta Kapoor early on her career decided to take her show down South but reminisced about facing a strong resistance from the local industry down there. “When we (Ekta Kapoor and Jeetendra) met him (Rajnikanth) at a party, he told my dad that I was very bright and that I would go a long way. When I was travelling to Tamil Nadu for a slot, I realised that there was a bias against north Indians, which made it very difficult for me to get the slot. But when Rajinikanth calls, people listen,” tells Ekta.
Her show Kudumbbam became an instant hit in the South and was later remade in Hindi in 1999 as ‘Ghar Ek Mandir’.
Ekta Kapoor’s mentors
Ekta Kapoor plans to give back to society and mentor people as she had received guidance and support when she was young.
“People probably saw some spark in me and have been mentors to me as well. People such as Makarand Adhikari and Rajinikanth have been important to my success. Sameer Nair and Uday Shankar, who gave me a chance to come back to Star; Subhash Chandra, who gave me Pavitra Rishta in 2009 when even I didn’t believe in myself… there are so many people I could be grateful for. To give back is to mentor. If you see a spark, give it a chance,” shares Ekta.