After 2 and half year CNWK had a sad ending. Everyone is waiting for Kapil to start new show with another channel.
CEO Raj Nayak has now decided to speak out.
Q. You refrained from speaking about the issue all this while, what made you change your mind?
A. Whatever transpired between Kapil Sharma and us was a private matter and I wanted it to be that way. We have a lot of respect and love for him. But our silence was being misinterpreted. Our niceness was being misconstrued as our weakness and since much has been said, I felt it is important to set the record straight once and for all.
Q. What exactly went wrong between Colors and Kapil Sharma?
A. Kapil Sharma was on television for over 10 years, first on ‘Laughter Challenge’ and then on ‘Comedy Circus’ before he did ‘Comedy Nights…’ with us. He is a nice person and is extremely talented. We gave him a platform and co-created ‘Comedy Nights…’ with him. It was the channel’s decision to call it ‘Comedy Nights With Kapil’ (originally the show was to be titled ‘Comedy Nights’), as we felt that it would give him a sense of ownership and his loyalty to the show would be 100 percent. We even helped him set up his production company. The success of the show meant that we had a person who suddenly became a star and found it difficult to manage his success. He started renegotiating and asking for more money which we gave, but the more important and worrying thing was that he violated his contract by hosting shows on competitive channels in spite of having an exclusive contract with Colors for TV, which we felt was not ethical.
Q. What about Kapil’s allegations about the channel giving ‘Comedy Nights Bachao’ more prominence and even diverting celebrities to the show?
A. Film stars do integration for movies and want to be on non-fiction shows that rate well. We would encourage stars to appear on both shows. Kapil’s insecurity or those of people around him was when the problem began. His managers started panicking when in terms of ratings, ‘Bachao… ‘ started doing well and better than ‘Comedy Nights With Kapil’ in some episodes. And instead of working with our creative team and finding ways to reinvent and make the show ratings better, they kept living in denial and started casting aspersions on the channel. Both the shows were equally important to us. To ensure that both succeed, we kept promoting them with equal weight. We were clear as a channel that the success of either show need not necessarily be at the cost of the other. For us, they were both mutually exclusive.
Q. Was ‘Comedy Nights Bachao’ started with the idea of easing out Kapil’s show?
A. Not at all. We didn’t do ‘Comedy Nights Bachao’ by choice. Instead, we requested Kapil not to make his show once a week as it was financially not feasible to us. He said he is busy with movies and doesn’t have the time. He did not give us a choice and made his show a weekly and in the process, also doubled his fee. He ensured his personal remuneration didn’t suffer, but caused a big financial loss to us. The truth is that we were forced to make CNWK once a week. And since we had built the weekend 10 pm slot as comedy, we had no choice but to bring in another comedy show in the slot vacated by Kapil.
Q. How tough was it to actually let go of Kapil’s show, given that it was one of your top shows?
A. In a normal course, no channel would let go of a good show. But it has to also be economically viable and more importantly, business has to be conducted in an ethical manner. For many reasons, the decision to let go of Kapil has been very tough. It has has been an emotional show for us. Together, Kapil and our creative team created magic. He is extremely talented, probably one of the best in this genre. We never asked him to go. He was not happy with us and implied that we couldn’t have another comedy show on the channel. That was unacceptable to us. He chose to walk out. He is a nice guy being misled, I guess, by others around him for their own survival. I am very fond of him and feel really sad to see him go.
Q. Does it worry you that Kapil is going to be on a rival channel?
A. I am not worried. I feel sad that after all that, we as a channel had done to package him, promote him and treat him like an integral part of the Colors family, he has chosen to move on. Our best wishes are with him in his future endeavours. I am sure he will experience the difference. There have been fights in the TV industry and the warring parties have even patched up at a later date.
Q. Will Colors and Kapil too come together some day?
A. My team and I love Kapil Sharma the person and the artiste. We have not had any issues with him. He had issues with us. We respect his talent and would be happy to work with him in the future. The only condition being that he has to have a good set of managers and the terms of engagement should be mutually acceptable and respected.
Q. What is your equation with Kapil?
A. Personally, I have a great equation with him. He wished me on my birthday and I wished him for New Year’s. Professionally, we have had our differences. I am answerable to my organisation and I have to act and make decisions in the best interest of the channel.