Any time is prime time

Vikram Gupta, director of Man’s World feels that the web series format is definitely the future

While web series are a popular format of entertainment in the West, India had still not quite woken up to it. Over the past couple of months, however, we seem to be making some inroads into this particular medium. The Viral Fever, a popular online entertainment network in India, paved the way with their recently launched series TVF Pitchers that saw an overwhelming response. Its success seems to have revved up other players too, including movie making giant Yash Raj Films, that recently launched a web series titled Man’s World. Sony network’s experiment with #Lovebytes has also paid off handsomely with a million hits in a short span. With these big names entering the fray, television’s apprehension about the Internet being its greatest competitor seems to be growing.

Vikram Gupta, director of Man’s World feels that the web series format is definitely the future. “This format has just touched down and it has already hit the ground running.But, I still think it is in a very nascent stage and needs to find its feet first.” Created in partnership with the UN for its Sustainable Development Goals Mission for gender equality, the series doesn’t only have a big brand name backing it, but has also brought in powerful credentials of actors Kalki Koechlin and Parineeti Chopra along with international director Richard Curtis, who is a collaborator in the venture.

Telling us what he thinks is setting web series apart from television, director Vishal Mull who made #Lovebytes says, says, “Its biggest USP is that it can be real. I think this format can be a great way to clear through all the clutter that is now there on TV and bring something that is new and at the same time relatable to the target audience.”

But TVF’s Arunabh Kumar has his own apprehensions about what the format should ‘not’ become. “Everyone knows that TV has some of the poorest quality content. So when we came up with the country’s first web series, our intention was clear that we wanted to bring an alternative. Indian TV is tough and monolithic, but net is much more free. However, this can be good and bad because it can lead to a lot more crappy content as well,” he cautions.

Vikram feels that the web series format has ample room to explore without even competing with other formats. “It is well known that television in India targets a very specific demographic. And there is a particular time when people usually watch TV, say for example prime time. And as for cinema it is still stuck in the weekend mould. But web does not have any such limitations. Anyone, anywhere can watch it at any time. So the format certainly has a lot of leg-space to grow.”

Be it bold storylines or provocative dialogues, the lack of shackles on the Internet, has helped the format break free of the mainstream mould, says film critic Mayank Shekhar. “I am anxious to see how this turns out. And in my opinion, there is no clear definition of what is mainstream. It is like a big banyan tree with branches. The centre slowly shifts to whatever is more popular and has the bigger reach. Web series is the perfect example because it was something that was an underground thing until months ago and now you have names as big as YRF entering it.”

( Source : deccan chronicle )
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