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CEO INSIGHTS MAGAZINE - Conceptualizing Creative Ideas For Leading Tv Channels & ShowsAYESHA KHAN (CCO)

Updated: Mar 19

Being creative and understanding your target audience are important for a Creative Director yes, but Communication and partnership with teams is most essential to bring out the best from every department be it preproduction, shoots or postproduction. Ayesha Khan has been a movie buff since she was a child, so much so she would watch Television even during her school exams! Ayesha later leaned towards storytelling and after graduation decided to pursue a Masters in Mass Communication from Jamia Millia Islamia University. She started her career as a Post Production Assistant for an advertisement production house and is now the heading the Studio Division for 1GEN, a social innovation startup.

Ayesha Khan, Chief Creative Officer 1GEN spoke with CEO Insights in an exclusive interview about her journey in the television industry and her experience as a story teller.

Highlight your professional background and enlighten us about your unique skill sets and qualities that set you apart from your industry peers.

Following graduation, I was drawn to story telling and opted to pursue a master's degree in Mass Communication at Jamia Millia Islamia University. In 1999, I graduated but the industry was in a downturn, and there were hardly any employment openings. So I went to work as a Post-Production Assistant for an advertisement production house called ‘Shot In the Dark,' which was owned by one of the most talented Directors of the time, Shamin Desai and needless to add, learnt a lot. From advertising, I moved to the Television production house Miditech in 2000, which was then based in Delhi and was planning on making a show for Star Plus for the first time.

My foray into television began there, and I've had the pleasure of working with some incredible creative minds over the last two decades, including Siddharth Kak, Sriram Raghavan, Shivam Nair, Anubhav Sinha, and others… I like to think I have never worked a day in my life because I have always loved telling stories and considered it my calling.

I believe I have done it all, from post-production assistant to assistant director to Creative Director and Writer for channels like Sony and

Star Plus just to name a few. Television has served as my "Karmabhoomi," as it were. Though I enjoy working on thrillers the most, I have recently developed an interest in nonfiction and documentaries.

Please share with us about your journey as Chief Creative Officer. What are the challenges you encountered during your professional journey?

Every show has different challenges. For example ,as a Creative Head on Sony's 'Prayshchit-Gunaahon Ke Zakm' one of the shoots was most challenging as we chose to shoot in Chambal because the plot was based on a real life Dacoit, and we wanted to make the visuals as authentic as possible. Imagine a crew of 80 people in the ravines, including actors, with the local police warning me to pack up at 6 p.m. because some local dacoits had heard about our shoot and wanted to come to watch it! Needless to say, there are many more things that must be considered in addition to creative work, such as constant fire fighting and thinking on your feet. But, as most people who have worked in the television industry will tell you, this is exactly the thrill and adrenaline rush that everyone craves; it's just another day at work! In terms of 1GEN, I believe that every creative person dreams about working on a larger than-life canvas, and 1GEN has been one of those Canvases for me. When Paul Singh, the CEO of 1GEN Studios told me about the company's vision, I felt a rare sense of synchronicity, and here I am now Directing a Documentary for them.

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