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Editor Vikas Sharma gets Lifetime Achievement award at LIFFT India 2019

Vikas Sharma has edited around 25,000 teleserial episodes for Ekta Kapoor's Balaji Telefilms.

Keyur Seta

A Lifetime Achievement award usually goes to an actor, a director, occasionally a singer. But at the LIFFT India Filmotsav 2019 currently on in Lonavala, editor Vikas Sharma was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award for his contribution to television. The choice is rare on another count: Vikas Sharma is very much active. 

Sharma himself was surprised when he learnt that he had been chosen for the Lifetime Achievement award at LIFFT. “It feels very good," he said in an exclusive conversation with Cinestaan.com after receiving the award on the opening evening on Thursday 12 December. "It was definitely surprising. All thanks to [Ram Gopal] Bajaj sir and Riju Bajaj. They must have felt that I have done some good work. They are giving such encouragement for people behind the scenes, who work very hard.”

Sharma has been working in the television medium for three decades now, having started his career in 1989 when private production houses had just started to enter the Indian television scene. Joining Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Telefilms in 1998, when the software company was making its first daily soap Itihaas, became a turning point in his life.

Sharma is still employed by the banner and has edited a monumental number of episodes for it. “I did serials like Kyun Kii Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki, Kavyanjali, etc. I have done most of the Balaji shows. I have done around 25,000 episodes, maybe more. I don’t think anyone has edited these many episodes in India,” said the veteran.

Sharma also had some contribution to make in the editing of recent Balaji movies Judgementall Hai Kya (2019) and Jabariya Jodi (2019), where he got ‘special thanks’ in the credits.

Sharma said working for daily soaps is hectic, and technicians sometimes have to put in 18 hours a day. “Only people working in the industry know that the work is hectic and we have deadlines to beat,” said Sharma. “For films, you are given the release date as the deadline. For TV serials, you have to complete the episode before 9pm, though you may get the footage any moment.”

The punishing deadlines and work pressure have taken a toll of many a talented artiste and technician, including youngsters. Just last month, sound editor Nimish Pilankar, 29, died of brain haemorrhage caused by high blood pressure. He had worked behind the scenes on films like Race 3 (2018), Satyameva Jayate (2018), Kesari (2019), Housefull 4 (2019), Bypass Road (2019) and Marjaavaan (2019). 

Highlighting the incident and expressing concern over the harsh working conditions, Sharma called upon producers to provide better facilities to their technicians. "They should give them good spaces and security, just like they do for our stuntmen," he said. "Good production houses do give you good working conditions, including some rest.”

This is Sharma’s first visit to the LIFFT India Filmotsav and he was impressed with the festival. “Even the people who are attending are dignified people from the industry," he remarked. "I have gone through the list of events and they are indeed very interesting. I congratulate them and pray that the festival goes places, even outside India, and keeps encouraging people.”

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