In an industry where shows are concluded at the drop of a hat and artists give up after one defeat, producer-director Rajan Shahi’s 25-year-old journey in showbiz seems spectacular. Known for their impeccable presentations, mesmerising sets and gripping storylines, Shahi’s shows such as ‘Sapna Babul Ka…Bidaai’, ‘Amrit Manthan’, ‘Kuch Toh Log Kahenge’ and ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’, have clearly stood apart. While his enormous success is visible to all, very few know that the man started off at the grassroots level and consistently worked his way up to the incredible position that he enjoys today. A rather modest Shahi says that he is grateful to be part of the industry and still has a long way to go. “25 years is a very small journey compared to the journey of so many people around me. I have so much more to accomplish,” he says.
The producer-director says that it was his grandfather who encouraged him to be part of this industry. “The journey started in 1993 on April 13th, when I came to Mumbai. Coming from Delhi, I am happy that I started my journey at the grassroots level and had the opportunity to work and interact with creative people at that time, who left a strong impression on me. This shaped my entire philosophy. I was very lucky. I came because my grandfather was very keen that I be part of the industry,” he says
He adds, “I worked as a part of a crowd behind main models in 12 ads. Standing in a crowd and earning 500 Rs per day was the biggest thing I remember till date. But the journey from there has been amazing. I assisted various people and struggled a lot to become a director. The memories of staying with six boys in one room for more than six years are memories that I will always cherish” he says.
Rajan credits the people around him for his success. “The wishes of the unit and people around you really take you forward in life. Everybody has played a big role in my life. People around me, like my parents, Bhatt Saab (Mahesh Bhatt), Ravi Ji (Ravi Rai), Jairaj Ji have helped me become who I am today and I will always be thankful to Pearl Grey for being instrumental in giving me my first break as the director for ‘Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahi’” he says, adding, “I would love to thank all the producers who I have worked with because I have learned a lot from them and that has reflected on the 14 shows which I directed. My mother Deepa Shahi has always been a huge support. I am also very blessed to work with a good team and of course, my inspiration is my daughter Ishika,” he says.
Rajan still thinks of himself as a newcomer, he says this helps him learn more. “It’s always good to see myself as newcomer starting from zero in this industry. In fact, I love supporting newcomers as well. It’s always good to see new talent coming, not only in terms of actors but also technicians and writers. I have been very lucky that many actors, who we have nurtured, have grown,” he says.
In fact, his show ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’, is one of the longest shows on the tube. “That credit really goes to the entire team. ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’ is running with respect, good numbers and it’s a top show. It’s been a great team effort,” he says. Well, Rajan Shahi is also called the Subhash Ghai of television!