Hanif Sanket is a high profile TV host and director for “Ittyadi”, the most popular TV show in the country. He also hosts the programme “Panch Phoron”, besides writing and directing TV plays. The proud recipient of the Ekushey Padak, Hanif Sanket claims the distinction of being the only TV host and director to make a mark early on. The Daily Star recently caught up with Sanket.
How do you explain the popularity of “Ittyadi”?
Sanket: From its very inception, I was determined not to make a stereotypical, inane show, but to create a unique programme. We have over 24 channels; but among these “Ittyadi” is still popular, isn't it?
What is usually your focus for “Ittyadi”?
Sanket: The priority is on raising awareness because awareness is the key to development. From the very beginning, we have worked to create awareness about street accidents, environment, tree plantation, waste of natural resources, reading habit etc.
Over the last few years, you have been shooting “Ittyadi” in historical, traditional and significant locations in the country. Why so?
Sanket: We did shows at Dhaka's Nagar Bhaban, Lalbagh Kella, Ahsan Manzil, Jatiya Shangsad Bhaban, Comilla's Shalbon Bihar, Tajhat Zamindar Bari and Bogra Mahastangarh. The reason is that through 'Ittyadi”, the new generation will get to know about about our rich heritage.
What would you consider your biggest achievement in “Ittyadi”?
Sanket: The greatest reward is the love of the audience. I have a sense of responsibility, so I try heart and soul to be conscious and to entertain them.
Why has ”Ittyadi” aired only on BTV so far?
Sanket: BTV is available in the rural areas but other satellite TV channels are urban oriented. I will have to go back two years to explain this. According to a BBC survey in 2011, BTV had a 58 per cent viewership of the audience and “Ittyadi” had 75 per cent popularity. But now, BTV has lost a chunk of its audience.
You have directed plays and gained popularity along the way. But why aren't you regular in that field?
Sanket: I believe in doing quality dramas. So I have directed only two dramas for Eid. We put in a lot of practice before shooting so it takes time.
Tell us about your first play.
Sanket: BTV once caled on me and Humayun Ahmed, asking us to switch roles: for me to produce a drama and Ahmed to produce a programme. He went on to produce a progamme named “Ronger Baroi” while I directed “Kusum Kusum Bhalobasha”.