Exclusive | Campus Beats creator Palki Malhotra: It's a natural gift to identify stars, inherited it from my father

30 September,2023 11:01 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  Tanmayi Savadi

In an interview with Mid-Day, Palki Malhotra spoke about her show Campus Beats and more


Amid a wave of crime thrillers and intense dramas, Palki Malhotra-created Campus Beats is here to break the monotony. Headlined by Shantanu Maheshwari, Shruti Sinha, Tanvi Gadkari, Sahaj Singh Chahal, Harsh Dingwanii, Tanya Bhushan, Dhanshree Yadav and Teriya Magar, the 10-episode show released on September 21 on Amazon MiniTV.

The creative mastermind behind the series based on college life, friends, romance and much more is Palki Malhotra, who has created some masterpieces on Indian television during her illustrious career. As Campus Beats continues to draw audience, the creative producer and writer spoke to Mid-Day.com exclusively about her idea behind the series. She further opened up about her tryst with dance-based shows, the process of casting and the inherited talent of identifying stars in newcomers. Here are the excerpts from the interview.

Palki's idea behind Campus Beats

Sharing the story behind the conceptualisation of Campus Beats, Palki said, "I always wanted to do a dance-based youth show like Dil Dosti Dance for the longest time. Since the second season of the show wasn't materialising, I thought of creating something in a similar universe. The idea came to me during the pandemic when people were moving towards K-Dramas. While they are doing a great job, we have done that much before them."

Her vision behind Campus Beats was to make a show that becomes the audience's best friend amid all the chaos that's happening around people. Palki said it was a conscious decision to not enter the dark and intense space this time. "It was a conscious decision to keep Campus Beats clean. While working on it, I felt the world we live in is already chaotic and in such cases, we cannot make entertainment more chaotic. We had to add elements that could be enjoyed by all but without losing the relatability. Since childhood, we have chosen to be entertained by light-hearted and vibrant things. My vision was to keep Campus Beats clean and fuss-free. I wanted to make the show look and feel hopeful and positive hence avoiding topics like ragging and bullying. We wanted to make the show our audience's best friend."

Palki on having a soft corner for dance and training real-life dancers to get into the skin of their characters

The star cast of Campus Beats is from a dance background. Palki along with her team ensured that the dancers were well-trained and ready to face the camera. "The cast of Campus Beats comes from a dance background and I was clear about this. It's very easy for people to sit on chairs and dismiss people saying, "They're dancers, cannot act." It's my expertise to identify the right person for a character, and bring him/her on board and train them properly. We picked dancers and did rigorous training with them. They went through proper auditions and understood the craft of character-building. That's when these dancers faced the camera for the first time. If you train them efficiently and they'll do wonders," she shared.

She further added, "Also, I have a soft corner for dancers. I believe they are never given enough chances and they're extremely talented people. I took real people and brought them into the reel life."

'It's my father's blessing that I can naturally identify stars'

When asked Palki about her process of identifying stars in newcomers, she replied, "I feel I have a natural gift to identify great talents. It comes from my father. He was an acting coach. I feel I have inherited that from him. I just know that this or that person will make it big. Even when Shantanu Maheshwari came on Dil Dosti Dance, he wasn't an actor but I knew that he would do it. I feel proud that he did a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film (Gangubai Kathiawadi). I take personal pride in my actors' successes."

She continued, "I have a strong gut feeling along with a calculative mind. I can read whether a person will try to become a character or just wants to become a star. I also have a judgement of giving the right person the right role. If a person is good-looking and can create a good fanbase, I give him/her fewer dialogue and focus more on the vanity part and highlighting the glamourous part. I believe it's my father's blessing and I have a solid understanding of the market."

Calling herself a 16-year-old at heart, Palki added, "If I look at a person and feel that I can be his/her fan, he/she will make it big. I have been a fan of Karan Singh Grover, Shilpa Anand, Jennifer Winget and Shantanu Maheshwari. When I saw Kushal Tandon for the first time at a party, I knew isko hero banana hai. He's doing so well for himself now."

Palki's take on TV vs. OTT

Sharing her opinion on the difference between TV and OTT, Palki said, "There's a lot of difference. With TV, there's a certain narrative. You cater to a family audience and a particular lifestyle. It has to be more inclusive of everything and everyone. It isn't for a particular target audience. OTT is specific. You are paying for a particular platform so people are specific. Due to this, it makes you sharpen the content more. You have to churn episodes daily on TV and don't get enough time to polish the show. OTT gives that freedom as you get enough time to make a show and release it at your own pace. The choice is in the audience's hand so we have to be more particular and crisp. This is exactly like TV vs. films. If you're watching Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani on TV or phone, it's just another love story. What makes it brilliant is the visual richness on the big screen. The grandeur is missing on TV. Otherwise, the medium is not bad at all."

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