Trending true stories: Actors are playing themselves in web biopics
Move over true-story films. This is the season of biographical web series. From Shama Sikander’s Ab Dil Ki Sunn, Sunny Leone’s Karenjit Kaur - The Untold Story of Sunny Leone to Kunaal Roy Kapur’s Side Hero, web series based on the true stories of these actors have become immensely popular. After the success of season one, Sunny Leone has released the second season and Shama is also working on the second part of her series.
“I wanted my story to be as close to the truth as possible. I was determined to not sensationalise anything. When it’s my own story, I thought what can be better than me being a part of it. While part one is all about why I’ve taken certain decisions in life, the second season is my crazy journey along family, friends, acquaintances and meeting Daniel [Weber]… It’s very emotional,” says Sunny. Through her story, Shama Sikander wants to encourage people battling mental health issues to open up about their problem. “My personal experience helped in making it authentic,” she says.
Unlike Ab Dil Ki Sunn and Karenjit Kaur, Side Hero blends reality with a dose of fiction. “While a part talks about how this fellow, who is connected to the film world because of his brothers and sister-in-law, plays side heroes , the rest is fictionalised. Kunaal and I thought who can do it better than him. He can take jokes on himself. Nothing can be more authentic,” says Rohan Sippy, who directed Side Hero.
Sunny and Kunaal agree that the web platform gives them better scope than TV or films to tell such stories. While Sunny feels her story is too long for a two-and-half-hour long film, Kunaal believes that TV or film does not offer the aesthetic and sensibility required for such shows.
Web also allows one to experiment. “Censorship affects the essence of a story but that’s not the case with web. Also, one reaches out to a wider audience. Plus, no one judges you on the web,” says Kunaal.
Encouraged by the response that Side Hero generated, Ridhima Lulla, chief content officer, Eros Group, says that they will produce more such content. “In less than a week’s time, Side Hero trailer received over 10 million online views, making it the most watched trailer of any Indian OTT original,” she says. Tarun Katial, CEO, ZEE 5, says that Karenjit received an overwhelming response because such stories are relatable. “Audiences like stories which are relevant to them,” he says.
Sunny Leone’s Karenjit Kaur The Untold Story of Sunny Leone, Kunaal Roy Kapur’s Side Hero and Shama Sikander’s Ab Dil Ki Sunn feature the actors themselves