She loves the goings-on behind the camera as much as she likes being in front of it. After producing an ad film, a travel show and a music video, June has turned line producer and stylist for Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa Bangla, a dance reality show to air on ETV Bangla soon. A t2 chat…
What prompted you to become a line producer?
Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa is a very popular show and I thought how about bringing it here.... I started talking to BBC Worldwide Entertainment, which owns the property. They seemed interested and it took me almost six months. That’s how it started. Besides, I have a production house, Magic Loom, since 2006. I have done various shows for STAR Jalsha and Rupashi Bangla and I am also doing a show, Safar Sutra, for TravelTrendz. I’m not content doing just one thing in life. That’s why I am also doing the styling for show host Jisshu Sengupta and the judges (Koel Mallick and Remo D’Souza), so I am really having a ball! I wouldn’t call myself hyperactive but I like to keep myself busy. Production is something that comes naturally to me and I find it very challenging.
What’s your job as a line producer?
A line producer is someone who executes on behalf of the producer, especially for those stationed out of Calcutta. When they have to produce something in Calcutta, they hire a line producer. They have a supervising producer and a creative director here; we have to work hand in hand with them.
What are the areas a line producer needs to look into?
Everything. All the nitty-gritties of production, from food to floor to the studio to celebrity management, pick-up and drop of the cast and crew, budgets....
Do only production houses based out of Calcutta hire a line producer?
Normally, yes. But even producers based in Calcutta hire line producers sometimes. Suppose someone wants to produce a film and doesn’t have any experience, he can hire a line producer. It’s very challenging. If anything goes wrong, you will be held responsible. Sometimes it can be very stressful.
And you are ready to take this stress?
Absolutely! That’s what I said, I love challenges and I am very happy doing this. Good production houses are tying up with us and good shows are happening in Calcutta.
What’s the difference between a producer and a line producer?
A producer is someone who puts in the money, like BBC Worldwide Entertainment is the producer of Jhalak. It’s their copyright. Magic Loom has no investments. The moment you invest, you become a co-producer. A line producer has no financial investment. You are overlooking the entire production. Remuneration comes from the producer.
Is the job of a line producer similar to that of an executive producer?
EP is on a much lower scale. The responsibilities of a line producer are far greater than that of an EP.
Does a line producer have a say in the creative department?
No, not at all. That’s completely their baby.
As an actress, your job is creative. Doesn’t it feel bad not having a say?
No. And what’s good about it is because I am an actress, I know exactly what an actor or actress is looking for. The producer is comfortable with me because they know their actors are in good hands. I understand their problems better. I know exactly when a person is feeling low or when a person needs something.... At the same time, this production job has made me very responsible and more aware. Earlier I would go a little late to the sets. I don’t do these things any more because I know each second is money and a lot of hard work. I don’t take anyone for granted any more.
What is a day like in the life of June the line producer?
My day starts by 8am, sometimes earlier. As soon as I wake up, I leave for the sets with my team and check if the rehearsals are going fine, celebrities are on time…. You cannot wind up and call it a day. Maybe you leave the studio physically but even when you go home, you need to sit with your team and do a meeting about issues or problems. As long as the production is on, you have to be on your toes 24x7. You keep doing mental homework all the time. The technicians should be happy, the junior technicians should be happy. My stars should be happy, choreographer should be happy….
How much has life changed after becoming a line producer?
Not much. Everyone keeps asking me how I juggle so many things! I am doing two new daily soaps for STAR Jalsha — Sakhi and Mouchak. So while I am shooting, I keep track of what’s happening. My phone is always on!
Does that leave you with enough time for your kids?
Of course, it does. My kids (Shivangini, 17, and Shivendra, 19) are grown up and they are excited about what I am doing. My priorities are my work and my kids. I have stopped socialising completely, so I have a lot of time in hand.