After a successful two-and-a-half year stint on Colors channel, ‘Comedy Nights With Kapil’ came to an end a few days ago. Clearly, there was a huge fall-out between Kapil Sharma and the channel. While Kapil has spoken about the issue, Colors refrained from making any comment so far. But CEO Raj Nayak has now decided to speak out. Excerpts from the interview…
You refrained from speaking about the issue all this while, what made you change your mind?
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 is is important to set the record straight once and for all.
What exactly went wrong between Colors and Kapil Sharma?
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 per cent. 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.
What about Kapil’s allegations about the channel giving ‘Comedy Nights Bachao’ more prominence and even diverting celebrities to the show?
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.