Entertainment Tollywood 22 Feb 2017 Tollywood takes the ...

Tollywood takes the digital plunge

Published Feb 22, 2017, 12:00 am IST
Updated Feb 22, 2017, 7:02 am IST
Low investment and creative freedom among other reasons has big names from the Telugu film industry investing in the digital video space.
Stills from the web series Nanna Koochi
 Stills from the web series Nanna Koochi

Nearly a year after Niharika Konidela’s web series Muddapappu Avakayi hit screens, the digital space for Telugu content has been looking up. The series helped producers understand the interest of viewers in the format, and gave way to new ideas.

The digital space has since been replete with several online creators such as Mahathalli or stories like Posh Poris and Coffee Shop Love Stories. Now, the popularity of the platform is luring prominent names from the film industry to invest. Producers such as Sukumar, Kona Venkat and Thammareddy Bharadwaj are among several more who are diving in.


Creative Satisfaction
One wonders why established names would venture into this new arena, especially considering there’s not a lot of money to make. “There’s a great deal of work satisfaction. With no restrictions in terms of creativity, which you face in production of TV and cinema, this make you a lot more happiness because you get to do what you like,” Thammareddy says. “There aren’t stringent censor issues,” reasons Thammareddy, who is still busy with the “most important phase” of pre-production of his upcoming web series.


Preparation is the key
Pranith Bramandapally, who’s directed Niharika’s Mudapappu..., and is worked with her in her next production Nanna Koochi, also vouches for pre-production. “We shot Nanna Koochi for just nine days but were able to do so only because of a month-long pre-production.

Preparation is the key to cut costs and get the best end-product,” he says, adding, “When we started work on Muddapappu, we started off just like that! And while working on the series, we understood how to handle a huge project.”


Making good use of free time
Another name who began work on a web series is Kona Venkat, who started off just because he had “time on his hands”. “I was in the US when someone approached me, and I thought, why not! The content was decent, the experience was new, and the investment would be low too,” shares the well-known writer, whose Ram & Juliet has been received well.

Future Gains?
But one wonders what the financial gains in such ventures are. “That doesn’t really matter. Because the investment is so low that if the project doesn’t work out, the loss would be negligible, as opposed to an investment in a feature film or a serial on television,” shares Thammareddy.


Pranith points out that more than anything else, this is an exercise on how to run a production. He shares, “For the web, production design isn’t something viewers care about. They just want fun content, and when we can give them that, they lap it up. For a filmmaker or producer, this is a learning experience on how a good product can be worked on at a low cost.”

The appeal of the medium might be a work in progress but our makers are learning fast, and by the time the trend is in its zenith, it appears sufficient inroads would have been made.