The young, enterprising producer Farhn P. Zamma, who is the creator of the popular show Ek Maa Jo Bani Lakho Ki Amma talks about his ambitious project, landing a casting coup with Shabana Azmi and creating finite TV shows.
To start with; how did you cast a stellar talent like Shabana Azmi for your TV show? Did you have to try hard to convince her?
To start with, we were sure that we wanted to make a film on this subject, and we wanted to make it with Shabana ji. Unfortunately, things were taking time and the concept was okayed by Zee team. We also didn’t want to hold ourselves back with this the subject and decided to start with a premium, finite show which is aired on weekends. The story demanded a young Amma who’s is left alone with a 2-year-old kid. We wanted to show her struggles, and Urvashi (Sharma) suited the bill perfectly and gave an excellent performance. But when we wanted to take the leap, we couldn’t manage Urvashi’s look without prosthetic. Plus, we wanted to keep the story more believable and not resort to old methods like giving Urvashi a few strands of white hair. So, we were back with our option number one, Shabana ji. She accepted the role after our first presentation but had no idea that we need to start the shoot in September. So, she completely denied and said wouldn’t be able to manage because she already had a film which was nominated at Cannes Film Festival. But after a lot of efforts on our part, Shabana ji agreed. Although she had to really stretch her existing schedules and go out of the way to make it happen. But we now have our Amma with us.
Has Shabana Azmi added a lot of brand value to the show?
She is a female Amitabh Bachchan, so yes she has undoubtedly added a lot of value to the show. After working with her, I can say that with acting, experience does matter. Plus, she has such a pedigree coming from a family who has produced India’s greatest writers. She would help us out with better lines every time we looked to improvise, because writing is in her blood. So yes, it was truly a casting coup. Asif Shaikh has been great help in roping in Shabana Azmi. Asif Shaikh’s support and effort in making Amma is worth an applause.
How risky was it, that at a very young age, you produced a show with such a unique story?
There is always a risk. To be honest, my struggle to be here started when i was even younger. But yes, I do feel blessed to have actors like Ashmit Patel and Yuvika Chaudhary. on the show. With this, we are taking things to a whole new level.
Do you think if your show would have been a daily soap it would have been more successful?
Yes, I feel like that a lot of time when I compare it with existing shows. But the whole idea was to be in a different league altogether. And one can’t be a pioneer with old parameters and benchmarks as targets; be it TV ratings or other programs.
Recently Subhash Chandra Tweeted about the show. That must have been a big motivation and encouraging?
Dr. Subhash Chandra has always been a motivation, not just for me but for millions of young people. I am happy that i had an opportunity to work with a man who was my own role model when I was ten years old, watching his show Business Bazigar.
What are the current trends in the TV industry according to you?
I wouldn’t know that, because there can’t be any trends in a creative industry. Here, anything which becomes a hit becomes a trend.
What do you feel about the response to the show Amma?
We are happy that until now, we are getting positive response to the show. This is the only fact that kept me and the team motivated to keep making the quality show.
Which TV shows do you love to watch?
My mother is a big TV freak so I watch all the shows with her whenever I get time. But I recently tuned in for newly launched shows produced by my friends called Badho Bahu by Dipti Kalwani and Mehek by Saurav Tiwari.
Who are your favorite Bollywood actors?
I am a big fan of Dhanush, He proves that talent has nothing to do with looks. In end, it’s the attitude which truly matters.