Mumbai: With Netflix being one of the pioneers of the digital evolution of entertainment content, even films and Television are sensing a threat from the fast-growing medium.
‘Narcos’ has been one of the shows that has simultaneously gained from the emerging medium and also contributed significantly to its popularity.
One of the creators of the show, Christopher Brancato recently landed in India to lend words of wisdom to the writers striving to create fresh content for Jio’s Netflix-like platform.
The man behind getting Brancato coming all the way to India is popular film producer Siddharth Roy Kapur, tasked with the massive responsibility of creating content for the medium.
“We felt it could be useful to benefit from the best minds in the business, who have created material that writers and producers we are working with admire, and every second pitch to us was we’ll do it just like ‘Narcos.’ So we thought why don’t we get the guy who did ‘Narcos’ and tell us how he did it,” Kapur says.
Kapur got in touch with Carole Kirschner, Director of the Writers Guild of America’s showrunner program, who approached Christopher and arrived with him here for the Masterclass sessions.
About his first-ever visit to India, Brancato says, “I’m extremely excited to get the chance to come here, in particular to meet and work with writers from this industry. It's almost the biggest gift in going to other countries and getting the chance to talk to them and see how they work. The writers at this workshop are extremely high-level, and I don’t think there’s much difference between my discussions with them and my discussions with writers in Hollywood. It would be exciting to be a writer here right now.”
Despite the differences in terms of content and audiences, Branchato feels that his talk to writers would be relevant, “I feel writers all face the same challenges, they have the same fears, and there’s a lot of common ground.”
Calling the interaction ‘positive,’ the writer feels, "it’s all a matter of making some shows, and taking some risks.”
The popularity of Netflix has also grown by leaps and bounds in India, but the streaming service has a tough battle on its hands in terms of competition, but Branchato is optimistic.
“I’m very sure that Netflix can grow exponentially. Though I don’t know the specifics of their operation, I would imagine that they are aggressively trying to do things that draw people to the surface.”
Kapur, who has produced some of the biggest hits of the country, also shows similar optimism to the digital medium which has been alien to him.
“It is a challenge but an exciting challenge. While one is developing movies as well, that’s something we're really focused on, this is an excellent opportunity for us to be able to really work in a space that is quite unexplored at this point of time. That’s the reason we felt that this session was so valuable,” he says.
Talking about the show which has made him a popular name worldwide, Brancato says, “If you told me during the making of the first season of ‘Narcos’ that I’d be sitting in India two years later and talking to people who had seen ‘Narcos’, I would think you are crazy. It was a very difficult show to make. It was incredible and fun.”
He continues, “Netflix was very hands-off in terms of allowing us to shoot in Columbia, in terms of giving us certain freedoms, not just creatively. Columbia is an incredible country, it’s a safe country. And I got the chance to work with actors all over Latin America, something I wouldn’t have the opportunity had it not been if the show was not based in Columbia.”
How about a Bollywood adaptation of ‘Narcos’? “When we started ‘Narcos’, Netflix was not all over the world yet and I remember joking, ‘When we open in India, we could do D-Company, you open in Russia and you do whatever their gang is called. Every country has its cartels and criminal organisations; I think you don’t want to be repetitive, because drug dealer stories are actually pretty similar, so in order to find an angle for a story here, I’d personally be researching on what makes the story here different than other gangster stories,” Brancato answers.
“I’m pretty sure given the last few days of my interaction with Chris, he’d find it an exciting challenge to take up,” Kapur laughs.
The fourth season of ‘Narcos’ is currently being shot in Mexico and would revolve around the story of a different drug cartel this time....