The Creative Chal­lenge

Five OTT con­tent heads present their point of view.

The Brand Reporter - - FRONT PAGE - By Su­raj Ram­nath and Su­nit Roy

Though Net­flix hates the word, #BingeWatch is the term that mil­len­ni­als like to use when they like any type of orig­i­nal on­line con­tent. But what leads them to binge watch an orig­i­nal that they are hooked on? The right type of cast­ing or di­rec­tion, name of the direc­tor, the pro­duc­tion house, the creative script or all of it?

In 2017, Ama­zon Prime Video’s

In­side Edge - writ­ten and pro­duced by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sid­hwani’s Ex­cel En­ter­tain­ment - took the In­dian mil­len­nial au­di­ence by storm.

Face­book posts, rec­om­men­da­tions on What­sApp, word of mouth and the ads from Ama­zon Prime Video made sure that it was all over the place. But what worked in its favour? Was it a com­bi­na­tion of a good script (show­ing a dark side of league cricket), fan­tas­tic di­rec­tion, high pro­duc­tion value or some won­der­ful act­ing by Vivek Oberoi, Richa Chadha and oth­ers?

Ama­zon prob­a­bly nailed it with the sub­ject that is a na­tional craze. The show was di­rected by Karan Anshuman. Puneet Kr­ishna, Ameya Sarda, Sau­rav Dey and Su­mit Puro­hit wrote two episodes each along with Anshuman who was in­volved in writ­ing all 10 episodes.

In 2018, Net­flix came to the party with Sa­cred Games, an In­dian crime thriller orig­i­nal di­rected by Bol­ly­wood’s big guns, Anurag Kashyap and Vikra­ma­ditya Mot­wane.

The script was writ­ten by stand-up co­me­dian Varun Grover, direc­tor Vas­ant Nath and tele­vi­sion ac­tor Smita Singh. The show had a pow­er­ful cast with Nawazud­din Sid­diqui, Saif Ali Khan and Rad­hika Apte play­ing piv­otal roles

Net­flix launched an­other orig­i­nal film, Love Per Square Foot, fea­tur­ing Bol­ly­wood ac­tor Vicky Kaushal, pro­duced by Ron­nie Screw­vala and di­rected by yet an­other Bol­ly­wood and ad ac­tor (Tata Tea’s orig­i­nal Jaago Re guy) Anand Ti­wari.

ZEE5, the OTT plat­form from Zee En­ter­tain­ment En­ter­prises, launched Karen­jit Kaur: The Un­told Story of Sunny Leone, which did ex­tremely well – it has just launched the se­cond sea­son. Sea­son 1 was di­rected by Aditya Datt and writ­ten by Karan Sharma (20 episodes) and Ni­ran­jan Kaushik (10 episodes).

Re­cently, Eros Now launched its first ever web-se­ries, Side Hero, cre­ated and di­rected by Bol­ly­wood direc­tor Ro­han Sippy. The show has been writ­ten by Ku­naal Roy Kapoor (the main pro­tag­o­nist) along with Gopal Datt, Kau­tuk Sri­vas­tava, Nipun Dhar­mad­hikari and Anuvab Pal.

Apart from the ob­vi­ous Bol­ly­wood and Hindi con­nec­tion in the above ex­am­ples, there is Hoi­choi, a re­gional OTT plat­form that has started off well.

Hoi­choi, that only fo­cuses on Ben­gali orig­i­nals, has been mak­ing its pres­ence felt in a big way. The plat­form is launch­ing 30 orig­i­nal shows and 12 orig­i­nal movies on the plat­form in the com­ing year.

How­ever, on­line orig­i­nals come with their own creative chal­lenges be­fore they be­come hits - or not.

We asked con­tent heads from five OTT plat­forms on the kind of creative chal­lenges they faced while mak­ing an orig­i­nal. Edited ex­cerpts of their re­sponses:

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