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My dream of being a well-known composer has been fulfilled
By the grace of God my dream of being a well-known music composer has been fulfilled. I am overwhelmed by the response to Dil To Pagal Hai, the first film I composed the music for, after Painter Babu. Vikram Bhatt’s Dushman, starring Kajol and Sanjay Dutt, will be my next release in ’98. I hope people will appreciate its music as well.


My serial forged ahead in the ratings

1997 was a good and very happening year for me. I produced my own serial Betaal Pachisi which got a slot on DD 2 at the same time when Shri Krishna is aired on DD 1. And my serial survived and forged ahead in the ratings to become the no.1 programme. Yug, the daily soap on the freedom struggle scaled the popularity charts while I was directing it. The feature film I directed this year, Daava, with Akshay Kumar and Raveena Tandon, was not upto the mark for different reasons. I don’t want to elaborate on the reasons and get into controversies. In the coming year I will be producing and directing a mega-serial, Border, as a tribute to the Indian army. It will be a ‘genuine’ kind of serial based on real-life incidents. No, it has not been inspired by the film Border. I will also be producing and directing a feature film titled Ziddi Aadmi. Now I have decided to produce my own serials and films, because that way you have a free hand and there is no pressure, so you come up with the best.


I was competing against myself
1997 has been a very successful and a painful year for me. Successful because two of my serials, Thoda Hai Thode Ki Zaroorat Hai and Teacher, came on air simultaneously, on Sony and Zee respectively. And hurtful because both of them were scheduled on the same day at the same time. This must have made my enemies happy because this clash adversely affected my serials' TRPs. They must have enjoyed seeing me competing against myself. The entire year went in scripting and directing the serials and pleading with the channels to change the time-slot of one of the serials! But it was all in vain.

In 1998 I am hoping to start a new family soap. I am also looking forward to the Screen awards as I have entered three serials for consideration.


Border has opened new horizons for me
1997 has been exceptionally good for me. My efforts have finally paid off. My talent has been recognised. J P Dutta’s Border has changed my standing in the industry. My shows today get 100 per cent booking and that too in advance. It's a big thing for a singer. Earlier I was only known as a ghazal singer, and producers were sceptical about me singing for their films. They thought I wouldn’t be able to sing a filmi song. Border broke the myth and today I am flooded with offers. I have been signed for Padam Kumar’s Champion, Tips’ Albela, Lawrence D’Souza-Manohar Pandya’s Laawaris, Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Kareeb and several untitled projects. Border has brought me a lot of luck and I will be ever grateful to JP Dutta and Anu Malik for trusting me with the main song of the film. Sandese aate hain... has opened new horizons for me. Surely, 1998 is going to be my year. Watch out for me.


I wasn't sure which way I was headed. Now I know what I want
1997 was a great year for me. I won the National Award for Maachis. My performance in Virasat was also appreciated. Earlier, I wasn’t very sure which way my career was headed. Everything was so confusing. But now I know exactly what I want... what my destination is. I'm happy and rearing to go ahead. I have a few select films this year , which I hope will make an impression. I'm looking forward to 1998 and hoping to win many more awards.


I wish I could erase 1997 from my memory
1997 was a very bad year for me. I wish I could erase it from my memory forever. It began on an encouraging note. For the first time in my career, I had seven serials -- Tara, Umeed, Raahat, Shatranj, Cafe 18, V3+ and Gambler -- on air and I was on cloud nine. But when Chandraprakash Dwivedi joined Zee as CEO, I found myself out of the channel. He was like a suryagrahan in my career. But I am sure 1998 will be a good year for me. I have two new serials coming on air in January. Deewar, a daily soap, will commence on January 2 on DD1 while Yehi Hai Zindagi, a sitcom, will be telecast on Zee TV from January 6. Full Stop, another comedy, is likely to hit STAR TV in April. I am also making Pari for Sony and Najayaz, a family saga, for Doordarshan. And, of course, Tara, my baby, has begun repeat telecasts every afternoon on Zee. I have my fingers crossed and am hoping that Raahat and Umeed will also be back on air soon.


Chachi 420 was a learning experience, not a debacle

It was a very good year from the point of view of films. I wouldn’t call my involvement with Chachi 420 a debacle. I think it was just a good learning experience. At least I got to know what the market is all about, and how people behave in this business. And directing Jadh is a great experience because I am among friends right now. It’s a pleasure working with Jackie Shroff who is one of the nicest guys in the industry. In fact, everyone says that about him. The rest of the cast are newcomers (Arjun Ramphal, Smriti Mishra) so they are under my control. The situation is one which any director would want — everything under his command. So it’s been very good so far. Before the year is out Jadh will be 70 per cent complete. Another 35 shifts will bring our total up to 100 shifts, and we will be through by January. We’re planning to release it in mid-June next year. Then in October I will start shooting for my next project, which is untitled so far. The shooting for that should be complete by the end of 1998. It’s an Indian subject but there have already been many international enquiries about it. We sent a brief description of the subject and style to Paris, and there has been a great deal of interest about it on the international film circuit. There might be international funding coming in for the project.


With so much fame, expectations are high
The year 1997 was the year of major achievements. I made my mark this year with the qawwali album Tum To Thehre Pardesi which was released in January. It went on a record-breaking spree by becoming the largest-selling private album. It brought me many honours, including the Channel [V] award for the best non-film album. The greatest achievement was that the album has been included in the Guinness Book Of World Records for being the largest-selling private album in the world. It really feels great to open this world-renowned Bible of achievements and find your name mentioned among the achievers from all over the world. With so much fame, expectations are high, and I will try my best to live upto the expectations. My recently released album Aaj Ki Raat Na Jaa Pardesi has also been liked and is selling well, and my song Ishq aur pyar ka mazaa lijiye from Shapath is a chartbuster. I hope to continue this spell in the next year too. I am presently working on another pop-qawwali album which should be released early next year. I plan to cut many albums all through next year.


Superhit Muqabala will be back
1997 has been an important year for Nimbus, consolidating its position as one of the top production houses in the country. It produced two daily soaps and set up a production centre in Chennai. Three of its shows have been nominated for the Pinnacle Awards - 17 Sherly Road, World Cup Countdown and Farz, a daily. We also started another daily soap Shakthi in Tamil for Sun TV. It stars some of the best artistes from Tamil films including Bhanupriya, Ajay Ratnam and Jai Ganesh. Cricket In Control on MTV was another achievement for Nimbus. It features some of the most popular international cricketers such as Wasim Akram, Ajay Jadeja and Jonty Rhodes who present their favourite songs. In 1998 Nimbus plans to expand its activities and take on large scale productions - historicals, fantasies, dramas, comedies... Superhit Muqabla will be back on air in the first quarter of ’98. Rare Cricket Moments and other sports shows are in the process of being placed with different TV channels. Front Page, a political drama, is awaiting a slot on DD. Nyay, the country’s first daily soap with a legal backdrop, is being developed. Other concepts for quiz and game shows are in the pipeline.


    Created by: The One and Only Jimmy Mehra
    Courtesy: India World.