Exclusive | Happy to make storytellers dream come true: Star Plus' Banerjee

One may have the proverb ‘Change is the only constant’, multiple times; however, what better place to know this than the media and entertainment industry. While ideas, concepts, business, friends and competition change with every passing day here, many times what does not change are people behind this. While we have heard of media stalwarts staying loyal to their organisations for years together, these stories are a rarity now.

However, there is one name that has stayed with the Star Network for some years now – Gaurav Banerjee. Off the 15 years spent in the television space, Banerjee has spent ten years with the Star Network.

He is considered as one of those media professionals, to have witnessed the network transform over the years and been a part of the change himself. Banerjee, not only played a pivotal role in shaping Star Plus' content around ‘Rishta Wahi Soch Nayi’ theme but has also closely seen the network grow and evolve over the years.

Adgully when caught up with Gaurav Banerjee, General Manager – STAR Plus to take a look back at his glorious 5 year stint at Star Plus.

Commenting on his journey, “I have been associated with brand ‘Star’ since 2004 and joined Star TV in 2008 and correctly mentioned, its 5 years at Star Plus! Personally for me, it’s been a really interesting time where I have really grown personally and professionally, supported by the investment the company has made in me. The company has taught me a lot and offered me a lot of opportunities to learn, right from the launch of Star Jalsha, Star Ananda, after which I was also involved in the launch of Star Pravaah, followed by the launch of Life OK. It’s been many channel launches that I was a part of, teaching me something new, every time!”

As the channel travelled new routes, Banerjee was a part of the transition that Star Plus has witnessed from a soap opera destination to a new spot for high scale mythology and reality formats like Mahabharat and Raw Star. Sharing some of the milestones, he believes are crucial and special for him, he said, “Sasural Genda Phool was my first show on Star Plus and that remains very special today as well. I think that was a very different show, which came in with a lot of meaning and substance. Another great opportunity was Diya Aur Baati Hum which has now grown over to become the biggest show on Indian television being the consistent number 1 and thus will remain very special to me. I have also had the pleasure of being a part of the teams at Mahadev on Life OK and Mahabharat at Star Plus, which have been absolutely amazing experiences. Speaking of other channels, on Star Pravaah, I was a part of the show launch called Raja Chatrapati which was aimed to change the scale at which regional fiction / mythology is done. When I look back at the five years, it has given me great joy to make story-tellers dreams come true”!

Banerjee mentions that over the years, the key learning he has had is ‘There is no formula to success on television. “Never believe that you know it all, because you actually don’t! I believe there is still a lot more to learn and one is only as good as ones team. So one of the major things that separates us at Star Plus from others in the game is the superlatively passionate team at the channel”

With an extensive stint at the network and changing roles and responsibilities at, speaking about how he perceives this and has coped up with it, he said, “I started off very young at the network and have learnt a lot over the years. To work in genre or language like Marathi, which I know nothing about, or to go back to my roots in Bangla and be a part of Bangla news and entertainment channels, the company really encourages one to take onto new paths and responsibilities.

With a long standing career, shedding light on some of the trends he foresees in the television space, Banerjee said, “I think what we are now hopefully beginning to see is the primacy of story-tellers and stories and we not a medium for anything except story-telling; and everything that we should do is just enable them to do this in a better manner. I feel it is important that we have now started to understand the dream of a story teller and encouraging them in the right manner by assisting them to know what our audiences wish so that they can sharpen their story telling. So, I think to me, the big change would be ‘story first’! The second big change is that there isn’t any formula by which we can manufacture success, however for the longest time people have believed that there are only two kinds of programming tricks – one is to buy a non-fiction format, rent a bollywood star, put tons of money on it and present a show and the other one is just do similar set of stories repeatedly. But we have realised that there is tiredness of these concepts and thus we need to find new areas and backgrounds to stories. Hence the more efforts we make in that direction the better it is for us”.

Concluding the conversation on a light note, responding to our query of ‘if not at Star Plus then what you do’, he said, “After watching parts of our new show Everest, it has to be mountaineering!”


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