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Interviews

A conversation with Angira Vats: Creative, Devon Ke Dev Mahadev, Life OK

Have you ever wondered how Devon ke Dev Mahadev , one of the most popular serials on TV currently, manages to be breath taking-ly authentic in its presentation, even when the premise it deals with is mythical? Have you caught yourself picturing the Shiva of  Devon Ke Dev in your head, while praying to a  real Shivling?  Do you find yourself continuously marveling at the continuous innovation that shows itself through  the looks given to  Mahadev and the other characters on screen?

Mahadev and all his avatars have always captured the viewer’s imagination instantly. They inspire and often exude sheer poetry. Whether it’s  Jatta Shankar’s  saffron pagdi, Jallandhar’s smoky eyes,  or Aghora’s matted hair  : all of them have generated a phenomenal response. A phenomenal response though, requires some phenomenal work. Often, we get so obsessed with actors that we fail to acknowledge the background work that goes into making them so obsession –worthy.

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Therefore today I bring you a conversation with Angira Vats, the creative director of Devon Ke Dev Mahadev on Life Ok TV. Her affable personality instantly grows on you and her sharp wit makes it an absolute pleasure to talk to her. Below she talks about the nuances of her profession, her hopes regarding the future of the Indian TV industry, the importance of audience feedback & why Mohit Raina is one of her favorites.

D&D: What exactly is Creative Direction? We have heard of directors, producers and writers but the concept of creative direction is very new for Indian audience…

photoAngira:   TV, especially in India, is an industry which works 24*7. Predictably there are challenges: coordinating with different departments within a project, meeting various deadlines on a daily basis, dealing with the channel etc. A creative director basically facilitates this coordination by looking into all these different departments and making sure that the show is put together in time without compromising on quality or the initial vision. We look into almost everything concerning the show-scripting, casting, looks, music etc. So basically, a creative director is an additional director, (if you can call them that) who works behind the camera-putting the fabric of the show together.

D&D: This sounds like a tough job. Would you say that this creative faculty, needed for putting an entertainment show together, is innate or it is something that can be learned through training?

  Angira: There are courses; but I believe creativity is not something that can be taught. It is an innate thing. Either you are born with it or not. Once you have that intuition, then you can of course hone your skills to a certain extent- with the help of professionals in an institute. There are also self taught people. Voracious reading and being in loop with everything that is happening around the world help immensely. Using this further to enrich your creativity and to be able to apply it as and when needed ,to your job, is what makes the difference in this line of work.

D&D: Would you say that the concept of creative direction is more relevant to period dramas, mythology and fantasy?  Since these shows are still a minority in the Indian TV scenario, what do you think is the future of this discipline?2013-10-142

Angira: It is true that in the mainstream serials as of now, there’s not a lot of scope for a Creative.  The tracks are similar.  There is a particular area where the story is set and then looks are decided on the basis of the stereotype projected by that particular place. For example, a Gujarati story will have a family dressed in a typical gujarati attire. The experimentation with makeup and jewellery is also very limited. So basically, when you focus on adding to the stereotype that is already very out there, the scope of creativity is limited.

It is sad that  Indian TV Academy still doesn’t have an award category which lauds creatives. I have proposed this to the channels and let’s hope that  Mahadev and Angira Vats  can bring a revolution in this field of work !  You see creating a world which you have never lived in or even read about, and to keep it authentic so that it establishes a connect with the audience in all brackets- is an extremely tough work.  So it is only justified to expect that this kind of work should be acknowledged at some level.

D&D:Totally agreed and I am highly intrigued. How do you  manage to create a world that you have never heard about? The looks created for Mahadev have been extremely striking and impressive. They instantly transport the viewers to the mythical times and the authenticity is unbelievable. How do you do it?

2013-10-145Angira: (Laughs) You are asking my trade secret.  As I said, the faculty of imagination is an inborn asset. Gathering information from everywhere for your research is only a part of the work. How you use it to your advantage; how you apply it to your work as and when required, is  where the true talent of a creative lies. It’s a continuous process and the learning goes on.

D&D: Mahadev showcases that you have mastered it to a great extent. The serial is in itself a benchmark for many but what about your benchmark?  What kind of work inspires you?

Angira: There are people who are doing great work in India and abroad. People like Satyajit Ray, Raj Kapoor, and Guru Dutt have left a marvelous body of work that teaches you about everything in this industry. TV or cinema is all about this spirit of creation and these legends have left a rich legacy behind. I also get highly inspired by international cinema. Talking of international standards, I would like to say that Anil Kapoor’s 24 is such a welcome change on Indian screens. It makes me happy to see that things are changing. The way it has been shot is very different. The look is very international. Finally there is a popular serial where the sets don’t focus on a fancy staircase with heavily made up women climbing down while dramatically delivering predictable dialogues!

931434_564950413544842_1252060812_nD&D: Case in point. Talking of predictability, I can very well predict the answer to my next question. What has been your most challenging project yet?

 Angira: Definitely, Mahadev. Very challenging and immensely satisfying. The looks I have created for Mahadev and for all other characters have been so well received by people. It certainly gives me a high and motivates me to work harder.

D&D: And who has been your favorite among all the actors you have prepared looks for?

Angira: The answer again is Mahadev. Mohit is a keen observer.  He has many queries regarding all his characterizations and when I convince him regarding a particular look, he brings that conviction on screen flawlessly. He is also very co-operative.  Even when I design looks for him that are not very comfortable,( long beards and thick moustaches), he does it readily.

D&D: How is a typical day at work?

Angira: (Laughs)  Chaotic, A lot of yelling, getting things into place- running to sets….386491_2559511541248_609359185_n

D&D:Do you have a new project in pipeline that we can look forward to?

Angira: Yes. Hatim is coming soon on Life Ok which will also, hopefully, be loved as much by the audience and will go on to break records.  The genre is fantasy and we have worked hard to bring authenticity, not just in terms of graphics, but in all aspects.

D&D:  Do you have a message for your audience?

Angira: Keep on watching good stuff. It’s all a game of demand and supply. If the audience demands quality entertainment, we get to work to the best of our abilities and that is very satisfying.

In my opinion, the family dramas ( saas -bahu sagas)  that dominate Indian TV now, have been  done to death. There’s nothing to explore in that genre. The themes are fixed, the stories are predictable. We are not giving anything new to the generation. TV is for posterity. Twenty years down the line, people would not look back and remember the kitchen politics and drama that is shown currently.

A varied portfolio will do Indian TV good. All sorts of programming should be available for all sorts of audience. The ratio should be balanced. Therefore we look forward to the support of viewers when it comes to experimentation with genres and bringing innovation to TV:  because ultimately it is all about what you want to see on your screen.

Food for thought. And while you are contemplating your TV preferences to see if they are changing, let me leave you with a final collection of Ms Vats’s  mind boggling creativity in the form of this Picture Poster!

 2013-10-144Photo Credit: Angira Vats

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About TulikaD

A full fledged dreamer. I prefer to see life pass by from a train window rather than trying to catch up with it. P.S I write if I feel like it!:)

Discussion

22 thoughts on “A conversation with Angira Vats: Creative, Devon Ke Dev Mahadev, Life OK

  1. Wonderful! Excellent questions and witty answers.. A very fulfilling and unique interview! Happy to get an insight to the world of a Creative Director!
    Bravo! 🙂

    Posted by Ishma Raina (@ishma96raina) | October 14, 2013, 1:35 pm
  2. A good feature indeed. Love reading anything to do with DKDM n its team.Looking fwd to Hatim now.Thanks T for this feature.I wish D & D all the best and the team of Hatim

    Posted by Aparna Thiyam | October 14, 2013, 1:38 pm
  3. Everytime i read your feature…the only thing that comes 2 my mind is…IT COULDN’T HAVE BEEN BETTER! Love d reading it! ur questions n her answers n haan droolworty n awesome pics too ❤ my respect for d DKDM team hs incresed e1 more! 😀

    Posted by Aakanksha Ranjan | October 14, 2013, 1:51 pm
  4. really a good feature.. and kudos to you ppl to bring out the behind the screen heroine of the show.. AV’s works have really been phenomenal in the show.. and yes.. her creativity truly takes us to the Mythical times, but at the same time looks authentic as well
    and this gain proves tht DKDM is the product of sheer brilliant team work..!!

    Posted by SUCHETA | October 14, 2013, 2:05 pm
  5. Amazing interview..!! Brilliant questions n witty answers by angira maam.!!
    HATS OFF N BIG SALUTE TO DKDM TEAM..!!
    Thanku Tulika for bring outstanding features..
    THEY r js perfect..!!<3<3

    Posted by sneha prakash | October 14, 2013, 2:07 pm
  6. Excellent move, to have this interview! I love finding out the How behind shows, and have long wanted to know more about the creative process behind Mahadev. Please tell Ms. Vats she has a major fan in me. Not just for her creativity in coming up with looks for Mohit (And Good God – there have been THAT many looks?!) much as I appreciate those pictures, but because it seems like her work combines Project managing the show along with being creative! I can attest to the difficulty of project management, this must be ten times harder!
    I know it’s her “trade secret” but wish she had explained the thought process behind at least one of the looks!

    But great interview – loved it! Thank you!

    Posted by Maith | October 14, 2013, 2:53 pm
  7. awesum…I congratulate Angira mam for a job well done…her imagination of mahadevand his various avatars are just perfect..Thanks T for yet another amazing feature!!!! ❤

    Posted by Rupali | October 14, 2013, 3:07 pm
  8. You r way beyond ur time. Love ur creations. All of them. Keep up d good work angie.
    Respect.

    Posted by Asma | October 14, 2013, 3:57 pm
  9. Just wanna thank you.Keep surprising us with such lovely treats.Great work 🙂

    Posted by Akanksha | October 14, 2013, 8:33 pm
  10. great work DD 🙂 Most of the times the people behind the camera are forgotten and all the credit is given to the actors which is unfair as these ppl work harder than the actors to make the show what it is.. I loved the interview and btw I did not know Angira vats.. and may I wud have never known unless i read this interview 🙂

    Posted by Oly | October 15, 2013, 8:22 am
  11. got to know what creative direction is(though not in detail as Ms.Vats not ready to reveal her secrets)its alwayss an interesting task to know about the unseen works that happens behind the screen.well framed set of questions and Angiraji was at her witty best with answers im glad “her fav actor among the actors for whom she designed their looks” was in your list of questions 😉 happy to know such small detalis about Mohit Raina that he’s a keen observer n asks lots of questions regarding his characters 🙂 yet another interesting feature from D&D thank you

    Posted by Hemalatha (@hemaAlatha) | October 15, 2013, 9:18 am
  12. amazing interview,really luved it…got 2 knw the real angira ji….hoping fr a mohit or mouni’s interview 😉 (greedy)

    Posted by Ankita Banerjee | October 15, 2013, 10:01 am
  13. just .please bring back sonarika ………………………please

    Posted by Aiswarya.A.M | October 15, 2013, 4:04 pm
  14. Such a lovely interview.. An awesome interview giving an insight of the hardwork that goes in. Kudos to Angira Vats for bringing in so much creativity

    Posted by Divya S | October 15, 2013, 8:22 pm
  15. Great interview Tulika! I have always felt that behind the scene people are underappreciated in Indian TV. The final product is truly a work of many departments’ and peoples’ hard work. Of course the lead actor and actress are always in the forefront and they get the most attention by the public. Am happy to see that all people involved with producing a show of this calibre are being brought forth by people like you. Looking forward to more of same from you.

    Posted by Anju (@akg_ebnj) | October 15, 2013, 9:00 pm
  16. So miss T!I have and will continue the number of times you’ll surprise us!
    First things first- The idea of an interview of a personality as magical as Miss Vats is laudable!
    Creatives’ thoughts are always a treat to read!(Honestly, more than the actors’)And just because we are talking abt this I wud like to mention Tellychakkar who has already started this *Behind the lens* column long time back!
    Tho I should stop mentioning this but ur questions! They are so insightful and brilliant that, no offense, witty answers are bound to come! And if we r talking about Ms. Vats it becomes a lot more interesting! I loved the way she defined Mohit!
    These(Ms.Vats, Mr.Utkarsh Naithani and all those people whose credentials appear or don’t appear on the bottom of our TV screen) people are the reason the show is a hit, not solely because we are watching it! I watch 4 more shows, but I never feel the way I feel for DKDM, the reason being these brilliant people!
    I guess I’ll never stop this way!
    Kudos to u for this interview!
    Love.

    Posted by simthecoolme | October 16, 2013, 2:53 am
  17. So miss T!I have and will continue the number of times you’ll surprise us!
    First things first- The idea of an interview of a personality as magical as Miss Vats is laudable!
    Creatives’ thoughts are always a treat to read!(Honestly, more than the actors’)And just because we are talking abt this I wud like to mention Tellychakkar who has already started this *Behind the lens* column long time back!
    Tho I should stop mentioning this but ur questions! They are so insightful and brilliant that, no offense, witty answers are bound to come! And if we r talking about Ms. Vats it becomes a lot more interesting! I loved the way she defined Mohit!
    These(Ms.Vats, Mr.Utkarsh Naithani and all those people whose credentials appear or don’t appear on the bottom of our TV screen) people are the reason the show is a hit, not solely because we are watching it! I watch 4 more shows, but I never feel the way I feel for DKDM, the reason being these brilliant people!
    I guess I’ll never stop this way!
    Kudos to u for this interview!
    Love.

    Posted by simthecoolme | October 16, 2013, 2:54 am
  18. So miss T!I have and will continue to lose the number of times you’ll surprise us!
    First things first- The idea of an interview of a personality as magical as Miss Vats is laudable!
    Creatives’ thoughts are always a treat to read!(Honestly, more than the actors’)And just because we are talking abt this I wud like to mention Tellychakkar who has already started this *Behind the lens* column long time back!
    Tho I should stop mentioning this but ur questions! They are so insightful and brilliant that, no offense, witty answers are bound to come! And if we r talking about Ms. Vats it becomes a lot more interesting! I loved the way she defined Mohit!
    These(Ms.Vats, Mr.Utkarsh Naithani and all those people whose credentials appear or don’t appear on the bottom of our TV screen) people are the reason the show is a hit, not solely because we are watching it! I watch 4 more shows, but I never feel the way I feel for DKDM, the reason being these brilliant people!
    I guess I’ll never stop this way!
    Kudos to u for this interview!
    Love.

    Posted by simthecoolme | October 16, 2013, 3:25 am
  19. Well I missed it.. then its Der aye Durust aye.. First of all Kudos to Our lovely Tulika di …!! Such a heart felt effort to present us with a exception beautiful INSIGHT I must say… The works, the Talents … the work pressures.. put into effect and the results ofcouse fruitful as MAHADEV … Truly mesmerizing Interview… as the concept of Mahadev.. he lovs challenges.. so his Team… And MAGIC HAPPENS 🙂 Once again Tx D & D ,for this efforts of urs 🙂

    Posted by t2thechamp | October 19, 2013, 7:20 pm
  20. detailing of each characters look makes the DKDM different. thanks to you brilliant angiraji… 🙂

    Posted by krutika thakar | November 7, 2013, 3:11 pm
  21. Dear Angira have always loved your creativity and the selfless hard work that you relentlessly put in each of your project. Your capability to take care of even the minutest of detail can be seen in not only every avataar of Mahadev but also in all the characters of the show. Its because of people like you that the show has gained such popularity.
    Great interview. Congrats to you and your team and may your next project do as well. Lots of Love
    Swarnima

    Posted by Swarnima Chandra | November 8, 2013, 5:02 am
  22. Hi to every body, it’s my first pay a visit of this webpage; this blog
    carries remarkable and genuinely fine data for visitors.

    Posted by a | June 25, 2014, 2:29 pm

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