He is one of television’s eminent and celebrated producers currently who needs no introduction.
Hailing from Cuttack, Orissa, Yash Patnaik began his career as a journalist, moved on to be an active part of the entertainment industry and is currently the head honcho of Beyond Dreams.
Even at the age of 43, Yash’s charm is inevitable. His warm personality makes one comfortable while chatting with him. Dressed in a khaki kurta in his white sublime cabin, Yash’s persona complements his king size chalet. In his decade long career, the producer has associated with most of the Hindi GEC’s in the country and now Yash plans to expand his horizons in the regional, kids and horror space.
In rendezvous with TellyGossip, Yash takes us through his journey beyond dreams…
We were awestruck with the creativity that has been put in while creating his office space. Startled with the intricate décor yet subtle display, we greeted him taking a glimpse of the colossal shelf behind his seat which holds a collection of books signed by Yash himself. Point the beauty of his cubicle to him, Yash, with his archetypal smile says, “This is our kitchen for TV shows. We cook all our stories here with a lot of passion and masala. So, the kitchen has to be good if the food is expected to be high-quality!”
A sojourn as old as the GECs in India –
It’s been a long journey for Yash who started his career as a journalist and is now the proud owner of one of the biggest production houses in the country. The conversation regarding his expedition is rather a pleasant one to hear. “The journey has been a long rollercoaster ride! As an outsider with no connection with anybody in the industry, it’s a journey worth a lifetime. After studying mass communication in my hometown, I came to Mumbai in 1996. This was the time Sony TV marked its entry into the market and with the emergence of satellite TV in India, my entry in the entertainment industry coincided. I can easily say that I’m as old as the GEC’s in India,” he narrates.
My first job paid me Rs 1600 only –
As mentioned earlier, Yash started his career as a journalist. His first job paid him Rs. 1600.
“I used to draws cartoons to earn more money. I used to get Rs. 500 per painting and that used to be my luxury. If I could take a rickshaw ride; it used to be my luxury,” he says. Along with this, he also interviewed personalities like Balasaheb Thackeray. Taking a growth in his career, Yash to the post of the Programming Head of a local channel before joining Zee TV.
He further adds, “In 2000, I moved out of Zee TV and joined a production house that doesn’t exist anymore. I also worked with Fireworks Productions when they had a baby called CID at that time. I learnt a lot from BP Singh (head honcho, Fireworks).” After working with them for seven and half years, Patnaik parted ways with the firm. “At one point of time, I wanted to dream more, I wanted Fireworks Productions to do better but they were comfortable churning content in the thriller and horror genre. I didn’t want the company to be limited! I cannot change someone else’s business based on my ideologies and ideas. It is not fair to put my vision and thoughts so I left the company in 2006,” Yash shares. It took the owners (of Fireworks Productions) a while to accept his departure.
While one journey ended, a new one began! Post his expedition with Fireworks, Yash started working for his own dreams. The new journey was as rough as it gets. Today Beyond Dreams is one of the largest production house in the industry; but when it started, it had a handful of three to four staff members. On his ‘humble beginnings’, Yash recollects, “Our first few shows were appreciated but they didn’t do well. I didn’t know how to cope with failures and business of failures specifically. We lost a lot of money and I was down and out.” He further adds, “We have never made or followed any particular formula for making a show successful.
Unlike many production houses, we have never repeated our success. I believe that once you start repeating, you’ll tell stories in not so good ways and then the entire creativity fizzles down to things related to business only. People think I’m foolish to not repeat my success!”
Once a journalist always a journalist
Yash, since his childhood, was fascinated with stories and characters. To start this voyage of stories, he picked the journalism boat first. “Journalism was always a stepping stone for me. It was never an end game. It helped me to build a soft exterior. I always knew that if I fail in achieving my vision, I’ll fall back to journalism. Once a journalist is always a journalist. You can’t take the journalist out of me. I think, every youngster who comes to media should do journalism at least for a year.”
Creativity and ratings can’t marry
Post his journalism experience, Yash created a furore in the television industry with his unique concepts. Some worked, some didn’t. Despite being critically acclaimed for a few shows, some of them didn’t go well in terms of ratings. The conversation between us soon shifted to the nostalgia of old TV shows. Talking about shows like Saans, Bhanwar and other such shows, Yash initiates, “We had some great stories and great directors at one point. Our content was great till one time and then came the rating system. It corrupted our system. Creativity can’t be measured in mathematics; literature and mathematics are two different subjects. Creativity and ratings can’t marry. Consequently, lots of good shows didn’t do well, while others did.” He further points out that we are an ad revenue based industry and not subscription based.
Fate on Kuch Rang 3
A brief look in Beyond Dreams’ resume and one will find that their latest offering Kuch Rang Pyaar Ke… will be a prominent asset. Undoubtedly the romantic series is the pride of Yash’s work. “Kuch Rang is non pretentious. We tried to be honest with people with the show. I’m extremely proud of the show. A good content might not give you a two point ratings but it will touch the audience’s heart and will be remembered for a long time.” The series came back for its’ second offering on popular demand.
The producer is in no mood for season 3!
“There’s no possibility for season 3. I think we’ll tell new stories. I don’t want to be a producer that will re-tell same stories again and again. We’ll do something else. Kuch Rang (KR) may come back later on, after a long time.”
Yash and Dev – all the same?
A storyteller’s inspiration has a major importance in his narration. The better the inspiration, the better is the story. Ask him about his inspiration and Yash, with his dimpled smile says, “I’m inspired from my real life. You will find that there will be some traits of Mamta (Patnaik, his better half) in Sonakshi (Erica’s character in KR). There will be some traits of my mother in Ishawari (Supriya, KR). Dev (Shaheer, KR) is someone that has resemblance with me. Personal lives do get mixed with work. I think somewhere for your storytelling to be real your source behind has to be real.”
Yash is currently focusing on his new show, Ishq Mein Marjawan and working on new platforms with digital series like Black Coffee.