‘SCRIPT’ING SUCCESS!

Nikhil Ballal

How was your childhood?
SL-I am a pakka Thanekar. I use to stay in
100 sq. feet patra room in Sulewadi near
Naupada. When I was in seventh standard my
father’s company shut down. He
became jobless. Despite of this
critical situation he fulfilled all our
needs. Our poverty didn’t stop me to
dream of having a Mercedes car.
(smiles)
I was an extremely studious child.
Before entering tenth standard I
joined a class in our school. We were
asked to write essays on plethora of
topics. My teachers would appreciate
my essays. One of my teacher
also told me “Shirish Eke Divshi tu
khup motha lekhak hoshil”(Shirish one
day you will be become a big
writer).

So did this make you a writer?
SL-No. This didn’t motivate me to
become a writer. My father always
wanted me to become an IAS officer.
But my love for dramas and short
plays compelled me to optfor arts
stream instead of science. My father
was very annoyed with my decision
of joining arts despite scoring 81%.

How were your college days?
SL-They were amazing! My
mother always wanted me to be a
hard working person so she forced me to take
up a job. During my college I did all type of
work. I worked as a courier boy, as a
mechanic in garage and also in pesticide
Company. I managed my studies, work and short
plays ( Ekankika) simultaneously. This
helped me later in my life.

When did you become a writer?
SL-Though short plays servemy purpose as a
writer but did not fetch me money. Hence, in
order to support Ekankikas financially I
took up a job in daily Tarun Bharat. While
working I got an opportunity to interview
eminent personalities of Mumbai. It was a great
learning experience! Sushil Surve was my
Guru then. One day I was hesitant to interview
police commissioner because I was not given I
card by my office( identity card). That day
Mr.Surve toldme
PatrakarHadacheastatBhadyache nave. Those
lines motivated me so much that without any
second thought I went to commissioner office.
My body language convinced the security that
I am a genuine journalist. They allowed me to
enter his office. This gave me tremendous
confidence to succeed in life! Whatever I earned in Tarun Bharat I
would put that money in Ekankika(smiles). But
the expenses of Ekankika grew day by day
in which the major expense was paying the
writer for every show. In order to minimize
the expenses I decided to write my own script. This is how I
became a writer! My first written Ekankika was ‘Sutti’.

How were the initial days after
becoming a writer?
SL-They were tough. I used to have
constant tiff with my parents. Finally they
gave up and went to our hometown Sangli. I
was all alone as my sister also got married
by then. I use to get calls from various producers I
would meet them with my scripts but nothing
materialised. One day my friend told me to
meet a person in Dadar who was launching a
serial. I was so impoverish that I had to borrow
money from my sister to buy a railway ticket!
She gave me ten rupees. I bought a ticket for
eight rupees.
After patiently standing outside Shivaji
Mandir for an hour with the remaining two
rupees I decided to buy a newspaper to while
away some time. Don’t ask me how I went back
home that day (Laughs).
A walk in interview ad in the newspaper
caught my eye. It was a Chate Classes ad. I
went to their office and got selected as a
Marathi professor for Bhiwandi Branch. I
dedicatedly devoted my service to the class.
In no time I became one of the most popular                                                                                                                                professors of Chate. Mr. Chate were impressed
by my work and promoted me as a
branch manager of Thane. Usually it takes
about 8-10 years to become a branch
manager but in my case it took only 15 months!
My hardwork was well rewarded.
I resigned Chate just one day before my
engagement! Perhaps I may be the only person
in this world to do so (laughs). After our
marriage I tried my hand at many businesses
but none of them worked.One day my wife
told me “enough of it and just concentrate on
writing”.
Her support gave me confidence
andI started meeting producers,
directors, channel executive producers
for work. Finally I got an opportunity
to write for a HemaMalini Production
‘Sonkti’. I also got a golden opportunity
to work with Mr.ShailendraDake of B R
Chopra films. People started appreciating
my work and in 2003 I was
felicitated with ‘Mata Sanman’. In no
time I got offer to write 11 serials.
Balaji Telefilms also hired me!

How did you manage doing 11
serials at a time?
SL-After doing all types of job in
college my body and mind were
prepared for this challenge. I use to
work 22 hours a day! I recollect once I
narrated dialogues of PavitraRishta
while doing GanpatiAarti. Some of my
serials were Pavitra Rishta,
BadeAccheLagtehai, Tereliye, Baire
Piya, Sarva Guna Sampana,
Swapnanycha Palikade, Krupa Sindhu,
BrahmandNayak,Aadishakti,Vrundavan,
Kanyadaan and Devyaani. No need of
telling you about their
popularity!(smiles). With the blessings
of Swami Samartha audience loved my work.
Most of these serials topped the chart of TRP’s.
Till today I have written 9500 episodes.
What has been your success formula?
SL-You can win this world with sweet
tongue! I don’t have a single enemy! To be a
successful television writer one should have lot
of patience! Irrespective of his experience
when a producer rejects my script I never
argue I instead take it as a challenge and
meet his requirements. By God’s grace I can
write the same script in ten different ways. One
of them is bound to be accepted.

Were you not afraid of your idea or
concept getting stolen?
SL-No never. It didn’t happen with me at all.

Do you face problem in getting payment
for your work?
SL-Yes sometimes. Best idea to recover
money from your producer is start working in
his next project(laughs). Trust me..it works!

Has your dream come true?
SL-Yes. God has been extremely generous
towards me. I never expected that I will have
two luxurious cars and three houses in Thane.
As far as owning a Mercedes is concerned the
day is not far!

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