How the Indian film fraternity fell in love with the wide world of web series

Dishya Sharma
Oasis

Anil Kapoor, Facebook

The pilot of Anil Kapoor-starrer Oasis, airing on Amazon Prime Video, hit the platform recently to much acclaim. It also marked Kapoor's debut on an international web series platform.

The show received positive response, but more important is the fact that a traditionally big screen Indian actor felt comfortable enough to jump platforms.

Now you may ask: What's the big deal? Kapoor made a TV appearance in 24, right? Yes, he did mark his TV debut with the iconic series 24. But his debut on a web series platform could open the floodgates for bigger names to follow suit.

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In the past few years, a new wave in Indian cinema is driving the industry in a different direction.

Filmmakers, actors and story-tellers are shifting focus to web series. Last year alone, a large number of web series went viral, and many of them featured familiar faces.

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If you haven't watched any Indian web series yet, you can begin by watching these three: 

TVF's Tripling: Struggling at different junctures of life – either one struggling from divorce, joblessness and hopelessness – three siblings get together to plan a road trip. A trip that starts in a hope of running away from their struggles sees Chandan, Chanchal and Chitvan bond over road trip problems and find their relationships changing.

Little Things: Spread across 15 minutes each, the five episode series focuses on the emotion every couple goes through rather than the situations they are put into. As the title suggests, it focuses on the little things of a relationship.

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Permanent Roommates: Tanya and Mikesh are in a three-year long-distance relationship who have regular quarrels yet they plan to get married. The story takes a turn when, on a date together, Tanya pukes and on the visit to the hospital find out that she was pregnant. The series shows the ups and downs of the permanent agreement. 

Remember A Man's World, or the six episode series Love Shots released by Y-Films? The young production house is managed by Yash Raj Film, and the series was tagged as a TV miniseries; a relatively new concept for India, and released on YouTube.

The new story-telling style depicted six unconventional love stories featuring Saqib Saleem, Shweta Tripathi, Farida Jalal, Mohit Marwah and Saba Azad in different roles.

Love shots

Y-Films, Facebook

Web series already play host to the likes of Sumeet Vyas, Naveen Kasturia, Amol Parashar, Biswapati Sarkar, Gopal Datt, Mithila Palkar and Dhruv Sehgal, so what's up?

The reason, many industry experts believe, is that the platform offers a better and wider space for artisitic exploration.

"There is massive freedom. Two episodes of the same series need not be of the same length. Some stories are better told in sketch formats, others in video listicles, still others in a 25-minute episode, and others in 50-minute episodes. There is no arbitrary length of episode like there is on TV.

"Lastly, the audience is the final judge and everyone's performance can and should be judged on the engagement they generate with their content," Anirudh Pandita, co-founder, Pocket Aces, a digital media entertainment company, told International Business Times.

The targeted audience in this case is the youth. And youngsters are always on the lookout for different generes of shows to watch. Most actors want to connect with their age group of viewers and want to touch on the fan base that sends things viral on the internet.

The large world of web series offers different content, a space to reach out to audiences and also showcase their talents through different roles.

Swara Bhaskar

Facebook/SwaraBhaskar

Talking to International Business Times, India last year, actor Swara Bhaskar, revealed, "The web space is the new, exciting and imaginative space to work in and at this point, it is not being censored, which is good for India.

"It is a very intimate space and you can watch it in the intimacy of your room or in an office or alone. So I think there is a different kind of connection that allows you to watch in a relaxed way and in a different way."

Even one of the most popular TV shows, considered a classic today, Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai is returning on the web series platform. Forget A-list actors, even big banner production houses and film-makers like Vikram Bhatt and Nikhil Advani are producing web series this year.

While the platform is still growing, it won't be long before Indian web series will stand at par with the best coming out of Brazil, the UK, US and other parts of the world. 

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