Riding high on the success of Main Monica (MM), Ranjeet Chitrakaar is open to making more such interesting content. In fact, season two of the series is also being planned. The writer and producer talks about MM’s success, future plans for his production house Creative Play and also opens up about his journey so far. “The USP of Main Monica is that it is a realistic, spontaneous and reactive story, laced with humour based on day-to-day silly situations that any person can relate with, everyday plain and straightforward dialogues. To top it up it has a non-linear fractured screenplay, which does not let you settle. It also has murder, kidnapping, ransom, chase, songs, comedy and drama, that is every element required for a mega blockbuster. And, above everything else is the simplicity of the story narration,” he says.
The show has been very well received considering the main form of advertisement is word of mouth, according to Ranjeet. He adds, “People are really enjoying the nuances of the character and their scenes. They especially love the characters of Rajveer, Lingapalli, Mangu and Jasbir a lot. We personally love every character and how well each actor has played their parts. A lot of hard work and sacrifices has gone into making it, every feedback matters.”
Creative Play is working on more such content. “Our core being concept development and writing, and we have some more concepts in similar genres that will be made into series’. We are also working on a very big project, which is in the fantasy-drama-comedy space and also venturing into feature films,” he reveals.
Looking back, Ranjeet shares about how and where it all started. “I was never good at academics, most of my time as a child was spent on the cricket ground. I’m talking about a time when Mumbai was Bombay and there were open spaces, playgrounds, no other channel apart from Doordarshan and every man and woman walking in the area knew whose kid you were. My studies were my mother’s nightmare. On the other hand my elder sister was the bright kid of the family. Growing up in a Sikh family we spoke Punjabi at home and that gave me a good control over the language. I had a pretty smooth sail as a child, zero pressure from my parents to pursue a fixed path. My dad was an amazing artist and a top publicity designer of his time producing posters for all the major production houses like Yash Raj, Johars, Kapoors in the 70s & 80s. Both my mom and dad being ardent film lovers, our home would always be filled with melodies of old Hindi film music and conversations of art and Bollywood. I feel my dad’s passion for painting and storytelling instilled the love for my art from early days. My childhood was spent in Mulund, a small suburb on the central railway line of Bombay. Our home was in a refugee camp at the foothills of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. What else a kid wants when he has a National park as his backyard. I loved to trek and many times after climbing the hills, take a dip in the Tulsi Lake and start imagining my own stories. Sports, nature and animals made me calm, shy and a daydreamer. I was an above average student, studied at the last minute and never repeated a grade. One comes to know many things about themselves after introspecting their journey and in that process I recalled that, I used to like writing essays a lot as a kid and in my youth my favorite thing was to sit with my dad over drinks as we both jammed over stories and characters until it was almost dawn. That’s how storytelling got ingrained in me,” he sounds nostalgic.
Ranjeet started his career at a young age. He was in college when I asked a senior for a summer job. “My first job was as a Production Assistant (PA), a designation just above spot-dada. Nothing is impossible and there is no answer as ‘No… it can’t be done’ is the lesson taught to me by my first boss. After that I moved from one broadcast channel to another. While working as creative head in Movies Now, I met Paromita Ganguly and Amber Wasi in 2014. We could understand each other’s jokes and never got bored of each other. We became friends and that helped in taking the big step of quitting our jobs and launching ourselves into the big ocean with Creative Play. We became the slaves of your high self-expectation (laughs). First couple of years we produced short format content for Discovery, TLC, Colors, Star Plus, Star Gold, Food Food etc. We launched Zee Theatre and a UK based OTT platform Lebara Play and produced branded commercials, shows for Quaker, Tropicana, Glenmark, Pepsi, Mahindra etc. In 2015, we had started developing Main Monica into a web series. After years of writing and developing characters and their worlds, finally in 2018 the series got approved by Amazon Prime. We finished everything from writing, casting to shooting by 2022 in collaboration with Arre studios,” he shares.
The success of MM has started 2023 on a happy note. “The goal has always been the same. I want to have fun and don’t want to let my work become dull and boring. I love to write real stories inspired from events and real characters and produce good cinema. With the feedback we received for Main Monica, we are pretty sure the concepts that are getting cooked in the warehouse will be appealing to viewers. Observing the changing taste of the consumer, the stories are getting refined and defined now and will be out soon,” he smiles.