Chitralekha Gujarati issue dated 05th September 2016

Web Series: Alternative to TV Soap Operas?

So it finally appears that the days of the done-to-death saasbahu serials telecast on TV are being numbered. These opulent but shallow TV soaps with the drawing rooms equaling the size of a football ground, the vampish women donning flashy clothes and jewelleries even in the dead of night, squabbles breaking out among family members over frivolous issues,  the tiresome stories of mother-in-law and daughter-in-law scheming against one another, with sister-in-law  chipping in suitably are on their way out, as they are steadily nudged and put on notice by what is known as Web Series, says Ketan Mistry in the latest cover story in Chitralekha.

What is refreshing is that the web series dramas are not constrained by compulsions of censorship or TRP chasing etc. So since one does not have to alter contents for TRP, the contents are not compromised. This has lent a kind of fresh air to these web series soaps which are becoming a rage, going by the indications available from the people who are in this business.

First, the reason why web series is proving a hit is not very difficult to find. India is a young country with seventy percent of people being youths and most young people are online, which is the first and only condition for web series to be successful. And today the web is no longer a medium to reach your creativity to people at large. It has become a serious and thriving business.

One of the serious players is Yashraj Films whose youth division Y Films is making waves in this field. We are told that initially they had 2500 subscribers. The number shot up to 2.5 lakhs after the release of Bang Baja Barat and now their subscriber base spans 50 lakh viewers. This is an indication of the burgeoning market that the web series has emerged to be.  Currently their Sex Chat with Papu and Papa is proving to be a raging success. This is the first fiction web series on sex education, four episodes of which have already been telecast with two more in the pipeline. The Series that has been made in 15 languages including 7 Indian languages features actor Sachin who is debuting in the web series with this venture.

Now what is Web Series? For the uninitiated it may be informed that it is akin to soap operas telecast on TV or serialized novel in Chitralekha chapters of which are published in each issue every week. Similarly these episodes are telecast on the web, which plays the same role as that of TV or a publication.

Three years ago American company Netflix pioneered in this field and made some web series which was also nominated in the 65th Primetime Ami Awards. The three series in question are Hose of Cards, Arrested Development and Hemlock Grove.

The House of Cards series which completed fourth season is proving to be extremely popular despite being telecast online. With someone as versatile as Kevin Spacey (Usual Suspects, American Beauty fame) working in the lead role, the series was subsequently telecast on TV in view of its growing popularity.

Coming back to India, our first web series was Jai Hind made by Abhigyan Jha and Mrunal Jha and written by Rahul Patel and Varun Grover who had worked in tandem and wrote as many as 348 episodes. Sumit Raghvan played the lead role in the series which was an instant hit and was later also telecast by Colours.

Some of the series that made news included Arnub Show Barely Speaking, Fathers Secretly watching Game of Thrones, Kyunki Baap bhi Kabhie Beta tha, Why Should Hot Girls Have All the Fun, Sinskari Alokenath and so on.

The most important question facing the web series producer is how to woo the audience to see your web series

As one producer puts it ruefully that our audience is ungrateful, as they would not mind spending 500 for a worthless film but they would not see something that is offered to them free of cost.

Ashish Patil of Y Films has been interviewed in an accompanying box.

Two Films Three Gujaratis & the Mahatma

The story by Mahesh Shah tells us about the contribution of three Gujaratis in making  two films on Gandhi. One is a 2-minute illusionary scene of Mahatma Gandhi who is seen walking with visitors visiting the museum in the Rastrapati Bhawan.

This virtual show was created in the museum was part of celebration on completion of 4 years in office by President Pranab Mukherjee. It was inaugurated by prime minister Narendra Modi. What is heartening was that the virtual show was conceived and pieced together by computer engineer Dhiren Desai and the part of Gandhi was enacted by actor Dipak Antani. It would be a thrilling experience for any visitor who would witness himself walking along with Bapu on every 2nd October.

The other award-winning film on Gandhi-Gandhi My Mentor– has been made by Nilay Dave who is originally from Mumbai but has been living in America for the past nine years. In his film too, Gandhi’s role has been enacted by Dipak Antani.

Not a small feat for three Gujaratis to have made films on another Gujarati known as the Mahatma.

Dhirubhai Suvagiya: Maker of Water Pumps

Sensing the scarcity of water all round, he realized tad early in life that making water pumps would not only be useful, it may also spell success. The thought motivated Dhirubhai Suvagiya who put in practice his idea and lo and behold, we have now a successful manufacture of water pumps who is heading a 250 crore industry.

There were times when only 5-7 pumps used to be made a day. Now they manufacture a pump a minute. Parthiv Vora unveils the success saga of the man himself who has sculpted his life by virtue of hard work, sheer grit and the determination to go all along regardless of odds.

The story will leave you pumped up with inspiration

The issue also carries two interesting stories: one (Jwalant Chhaya) is on the completion of the first phase of Sauni Project aimed at removing the spectre of famine from a farmer’s life. The project will be soon be inaugurated by one who announced it: Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The second story (by Samir Paleja) deals with extraordinary performances of our women participants in the recently concluded Rio Olympics 2016

The issue also has Political & Humour columns, Palak, Cardiogram, a short story Priyadarshini, Health Helpline, Jalsaghar and Mukhwas

Ishita’s Elchi:

‘If you must give up something, give up belittling others..!!’ Pramukh Swami Maharaj