Producer Nilanjana Purkayasstha says that her new show, Sapnon Ki Chhalaang, has been inspired by her own life. She says that the show encapsulates her struggle in the industry. “I was born and brought up in Guwahati, Assam. I always wanted to be a storyteller and Mumbai was the place I wanted as my ‘karmabhoomi’. However, in the 1990s, when I wanted to move to Mumbai all alone, my parents were afraid and skeptical… It seemed like I was chasing an impossible dream. I had no background in media and had no family in Mumbai nor any connections in the industry. I convinced them that I wanted to chase my dreams and moved to Mumbai in 1996. In many ways, Sapnon Ki Chhalaang is inspired by my own journey,” she says.
Talking about her journey in television, she says, “I got my Post Grad Diploma in Film and Television from Xavier’s Institute of Communication while working freelance on ads and TV series. After completing the course, I applied to various companies and got an entry-level job in Star Plus’ programming department in 2000. Most of my learning came from working there and, by 2006, I was heading programming for Star Plus. I turned producer in 2011 with my first show Chandragupta Maurya on Imagine TV,” she says. The promo has created a lot of buzz and the response has been wonderful, says the producer, adding, “The response has been very heartening because a lot of people have connected with the character of Radhika and the premise of a young girl coming to Mumbai for her career and the life of a young single girl in the big city.”
Talking about the USP of the show, she says, “The USP is that it is the story of how young girls make a life and home for themselves in a big city without getting married. The show is about roommates living together and the protagonist’s journey at work and finding a home with girls her age.” The cast of the show is also remarkable, says the producer, adding, “The cast has given stellar performances … very natural and real. The young girls bring a lot of energy to the scenes, making them a breath of fresh air. Everyone is hardworking and is enjoying doing scenes that are very different from usual TV shows.”
She adds, “I always look for good actors who can play the characters as naturally as possible. I also look for actors who look and sound like the characters. The aspiration value is there in the writing – good actors bring that out naturally.”
Talking about her career and how everything has shaped up, she says, “Star Plus in its heyday of having the Top 100 shows. As a producer, Chandragupta Maurya, Kulfi Kumar Bajewala, Peshwa Bajirao, Ek Tha Raja Ek Thi Rani.
She adds, “I always strive to create shows that are different from whatever the current trend is and also reflect real life as closely as possible. Most of all, I strive to create strong female characters in my shows. I think the expectation I have from myself is to do something I haven’t done before and to create shows and characters who inspire the audience to be better, to do better.”
Talking about the vision of her production house, Nilanjana says, “The vision of Invictus T Mediaworks is and always has been to make differentiated content. To take storytelling risks and make content that others don’t. We are a platform-agnostic company and we are motivated by what is happening in the society around us. We believe that if our stories can inspire even just one person, we have been successful in our efforts. We are proud to know that all our shows have touched and inspired many people and that encourages us to keep pushing the envelope further.”
Meanwhile, she has headed the writing team of Sapnon ki Chhalaang. Talking about the same, she says, “Writing Sapnon Ki Chhalaang has been very easy because I and my writing team – Srinita Bhoumick, Faizal Akhtar, Pallavi Mehta, Shashank Kunwar and Pranjal Saxena – relate to this subject and we have been writing from our own life experiences. It has been a cathartic experience for all of us and exciting because this is the kind of work we all want to do and rarely does television allow writers to write what they have experienced in real life,” she says.