For several of our Bollywood stars, television was once their stepping stone on the way to fame and fortune on the big screen. Several directors like Anurag Basu, Tigmanshu Dhulia and Imtiaz Ali too started their careers helming television shows. But with big moolah being associated with TV shows and soaps, several filmmakers seem to be making an effortless transition onto the small screen, thus foraying into production of various ambitious tele-serials.
Long before Ekta Kapoor ‘revived’ Hindi television with K-titled shows, there were some small screen gems spearheaded by filmmakers…
>> Kundan Shah’s Nukkad (1986)
>> Ramesh Sippy’s Buniyaad (1986)
>> Govind Nihalani’s Tamas (1987)
>> Shankar Nag’s Malgudi Days (1987)
>> Gulzar’s Kirdaar (1993)
Debut production: Badhaai Ho Badhaai (2002)
Last release: Shootout At Wadala (2013)
What’s new: 24 marks Anil Kapoor’s debut on television. Although he has produced films earlier, he maintained a safe distance from the small screen -- until now. Produced by him, the drama series is based on the American series of the same name and the veteran actor is reprising Kiefer Sutherland’s role in a fight against terrorism.
What’s next: Welcome Back (2014)
Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Debut production: Straight from the Heart (1999)
Last release: Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi (2012)
What’s new: Based on a Gujarati novel by the same name, Saraswatichandra marked the maverick director’s television debut. Prior to this endeavour, SLB has never been associated with the small screen before. However, the declining TRPs and the recent tiff between the production houses involved didn’t reflect well on his repertoire.
What’s next: Ram Leela
Debut production: Aamir (2008)
Last release: Lootera (2013)
What’s new: Starting off as the writer of a TV series called Kabhie Kabhie back in 1997, Anurag stayed away from the idiot box for the most part. As of now, he is planning to helm a TV serial starring Amitabh Bachchan -- a first for both of them. The 20-part series is produced by Endemol and Saraswati Creations.
What’s next: Ugly
Debut production: Swades (2003)
Last release: Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey (2010)
What’s new: Since a film on the life of Buddha -- that Ashutosh was strenuously working on didn’t fulfill -- he is keen on collaborating with Shekhar Kapur for a television series instead. Expected to have 50 hour-long episodes, it will be a biopic of Buddha and his transformation from Siddhartha to the Enlightened One.
What’s next: A period drama based based on Harappa and Mohenjo-daro civilisation.
Debut production: Susman (1987)
Last release: Well Done Abba! (2010)
What’s new: No stranger to the tube, the acclaimed filmmaker is currently working on Samvidhan, a television series for the state-run Rajya Sabha TV. Shyambabu’s last TV production was the celebrated Bharat Ek Khoj (1988) based on Nehru’s Discovery of India, which was telecast on Doordarshan.
What’s next: Not announced
There are several filmmakers in the West who made a transition to small screen. And how.
>> In the new millennium, Steven Spielberg has produced more television series than movies.
Known for switching genres,
>> Director David Fincher (of the Fight Club fame) not only came up with a political drama called House of Cards but also won an Emmy for the same.
>> The Untold History of the United States is the three-time Oscar-winner Oliver Stone’s newest television production.
>> Martin Scorsese’s latest TV venture is the period drama Boardwalk Empire.
>> Writer-producer Alan Sorkin (who wrote The Social Network) is currently busy with the second season of Newsroom. Last week, Jeff Daniels won the Best Actor Award (Drama) at the Emmys for his performance on the show.