Shashi-Sumeet relive their love story with SET’s ‘Yeh Un Dino Ki Baat Hai’

MUMBAI: Hindi GECs launch 100s of new shows every year to cater to the changing appetite of their viewers. Many shows are inspired by real-life events. Sony Entertainment Television’s (SET) ‘Yeh Un Dino Ki Baat Hai’ is one such show inspired by a real-life love story. However, there is another interesting anecdote about the show that has got lost in its success. That is, the show is based on the real-life love story of its makers Sumeet Mittal and Shashi Mittal.

The husband-wife duo runs a production house by the name Shashi Sumeet Productions. They have churned as many as 28 shows so far including the supremely successful ones like Star Plus’ ‘Diya Aur Baati Hum’. However, ‘Yeh Un Dino Ki Baat Hai’ is close to their hearts as it allows to relive their love story once again.

The romantic drama chronicles the adolescent romance between Naina and Sameer. The show takes viewers back to the 90s when things like telephone or TV were considered a luxury. In an era, when very few shows survive the weekly rating onslaught ‘Yeh Un Dino Ki Baat Hai’ has already crossed 100-episodes riding on the back of teenage romance theme.

The seeds of the show were sown when one fine evening SET business head Danish Khan met the Mittal couple over a casual chat. Khan told the couple that he was toying with the idea of creating a show around the 90s era. As if by fate, the couple told the SET head honcho about their love story. Fascinated by the Mittals’ love story, Khan decided that the story will make for a good TV viewing if told properly.

“90s was an exciting era, it was a defining era for India and I wanted to do a show around that. I was discussing this with Shashi, Sumeet and they got nostalgic. They started talking about their life, their romance and how they met in the 90s. When they were telling their story it got so long that I told them to do one thing ‘do story around yourself, don’t worry just tell your story’,” Khan told about the genesis of the show.

Once the show was commissioned, the production house started doing research to create the groundwork for the show. SET along with Shashi-Sumeet team created a chronological chart of the events that took place from 1988 to 1999.

“We had created a chronological chart around the film releases, product launches, the big events happened in between that timeline, which serials were launched, which cricket matches were played. So we created the chronological database and then the writing process started,” added Khan.

For the Mittal, writing the story was the least challenging part as it was a walk down the memory lane for them. The bigger challenge, however, was recreating that era on the screen. However, the producers have overcome that challenge as the show has successfully re-created several aspects of the 90s.

According to Sumeet Mittal, recreating the 90s era and making it relatable to the viewers was a difficult task. “We spent almost six months to re-create minute nuisance from the 90s. It was challenging to bring back the things that are almost vanished today. Also, we didn’t want to go through legal hassles so we got rights for everything, which took a lot of time. In fact, we also acquired rights from DD for their shows like Chitrahaar and Mahabharata. Sony also helped us in getting the music, they were like you just write which song is needed for which situation and we will get it,” he noted.

Music is one of the main USP of the show as it features playlists from the 90s from movies like ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’, ‘Chandni’ and ‘Aashiqui’. The producers had to acquire rights to those songs from music label T-Series.

“Music is a key part of the show. T-Series helped in bringing that part alive. We got great support from T-Series, Doordarshan and several other brands and sponsors. It was a great concept and great story so everybody kind of lent their support. We told Shashi-Sumeet that you write a story to bring forth all your memories and we will get all the rights that are required to create those memories,” Khan said.

Recreating the 90s era meant that the production cost will also be higher than a regular fiction show.

Sumeet said, “Production cost went high as we had to re-create the whole 90s in Film City. We got the space surrounded by mountain so for two months we did the exercise of levelling the ground followed by construction, so it was literally like making your own house kind of deal.”

For Khan, more than the cost the bigger task was to get minute details and nuances of the show right.

Fortunately for SET and Shashi Sumeet Productions, the punt has paid off as the show is doing well for the channel. As it is not a finite series, the show has a good chance of having a long run.

“It is not a finite series and going by the response the story is good to hold so we are not in rush. We can also tell our story easily for a longer period,” Sumeet concluded.

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