In this exclusive e-mail interview for Cine Blitz, SSUMIER PASRICHA tells JYOTHI VENKATESH how he bagged the interactive show Khel Paheliyon Ka on Flipkart as host.
Tell us about the show Khel Paheliyon Ka?
It is a very interesting show on Flipkart TV. As the host of the show Khel Paheliyon Ka, I set out to give very simple riddles as questions. Three riddles every day in every episode. And I also give the cues to solve the issues, probably seven to eight cues enough for 30 seconds for people to solve the riddle and by chance if you make a mistake, we even give you a lifeline called magic eraser and you can correct your answer within that span of a short time and if all the answers are correct, you get to win some exciting prizes.
What are your thoughts on this kind of genre and the show that you are playing on Flipkart Video which has ventured into interactive content?
It was very interesting when I was offered this show, is that I was not very confident whether I’ll be able to pull it off because I hadn’t done game shows ever before. But when I heard the concept and they sent me the reference, I was like wow this is something interesting, which I have not done. And for recording the initial two to three episodes, it took me some time but once you get the hang of it, it flows. I love the whole thing. You know how Pammi is a character that we have created from before so in this show also we have knitted a story along with it. There are two fun storylines running, one with Pammi and one with the show.
Can you tell us about how you bagged the job of hosting this show by Flipkart Video?
Indian Storytellers has ties with Flipkart Video, and I was approached by them with this concept. They were looking for a new character and asked me if I was okay doing this. I had worked with Indian Storytellers before, and I was quite happy to take this up as well.
Since this show is based on riddles, were you good at cracking riddles when you were in school and in your early days in college. Were you a comedian at that stage?
See for me riddles have been a massive part of the fondest memories I have had from my childhood. It started right from the song Ichak Dana Bichak Dana and so we’ve grown up with riddles. So this reminded me of my childhood actually where I’m asking you riddles and giving you cues like we used to do in our early days so it’s a great project for me and I just love doing it.
Hosting an interactive show is different from usual content productions. What has been your approach towards shooting interactive content?
See it’s a live show where you already have the audience present and there is a lot of scope of improvisation which can be done at a time, because if you have your audience, it’s fun, you can crack the jokes and then one thing leads to another, whereas when you’re doing something like this, it’s a set format, there is a set script. Yes, you can improvise here and there, but you do not know how the audience is going to react, at the same time. Because I will only get to know once the Flipkart Video team tells me that we are getting very good response and people are enjoying your stories.
So that’s the one main difference, but otherwise I’m still trying my best to retain as basic as Pammi Aunty and what people will look forward to. You know when there is a brand, like how Flipkart Video is a brand, Pammi Aunty is also a brand on its own so people know if they are looking forward to Pammi Aunty, what kind of fun and humor they will be expecting, so I hope I am doing justice to that.
This show is set to be a blend of both entertainment as well as education. How do you bring that forward in your character as a host of the show?
In the show, we are weaving both entertainment and education with the help of Pammi Aunty. What we are showing here is that Pammi Aunty in this pandemic wants to change her job with the ever-changing scenario. You know how suddenly someone wants to be an RJ, someone wants to be an influencer, and someone wants to be matchmaker. So, what Pammi here does is that she wants to shift gears in her career and discusses these thoughts with her friends. This is where she poses these questions where viewers win exciting prizes. So, we have merged Pammi Aunty with the show’s storyline where it’s interactive and fun with a tinge of humor.
Tell us a little about your experience shooting for the show during the pandemic with regards to the safety and the precautions etc taken?
I am thankful for the Flipkart Video team for easing this journey for me. As I am based out of Delhi, the shooting was done here and avoiding the back and forth between Delhi and Mumbai. Everyone had RT PCR tests done, including the director, the staff and myself. We transformed my house into the set of the show to ensure limited contact with the outside world. While general sanitization was followed at regular intervals, only 3-4 people shot at home with me and so we maintain our social distance with loads of people.
Can you tell us about a few programs or shows that you have hosted in the past?
I was the first person to host the Filmfare Awards in the Middle East, red carpet as well as the main show. I have also hosted the Punjabi Filmfare Awards and the Zee Cine Awards. I have also hosted a lot of private shows and events. As Pammi Aunty also I have hosted conferences and shows and it is interesting because catching any character as Pammi Aunty is a blessing, as she is able to do it all. Yeah, I have done some really interesting work in the past, especially hosting shows.
Tell me what other projects are you working on apart from Khel Paheliyon Ka?
My movie ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’ with Ayushmann Khurrana is due for release soon. I am also working on a talk show which is in its pre-production stage so can’t reveal more at the moment. Otherwise, thankfully, my pharmaceutical business keeps me occupied.