Thank you for your hunger for pop culture and your reams of comments. It makes us feel like we are genuinely companions
Dear FC Community,
Anupama Chopra here. I’m the founder and editor of Film Companion. I’m proud and happy to be celebrating the fifth anniversary of our platform with you. In these years, our tribe has grown to over 7 lakh subscribers on YouTube and millions of readers on our website. Thank you for your hunger for pop culture (especially film), your reams of comments (including the not-so-flattering ones) and your unstinting support. All of it makes us feel like we are genuinely companions. We might argue and disagree but we enjoy each other’s company.
The name Film Companion comes from a quote from the American film critic and philosopher Stanley Cavell who said: The writing about film which has meant something to me has the power of the missing companion. When we uploaded our first video – a review of Kick – on July 25th 2014, I had little idea of what lay ahead. I loved Cavell’s quote. And I and Smriti Kiran (the co-creator of FC) knew that we wanted to create stimulating film journalism. We didn’t know anything about being YouTube creators. The idea that it would expand into a digital first publishing platform hadn’t occurred to us yet. We were foolishly optimistic. There was no business plan. But there was a skeleton team, the ability to produce videos, and great excitement. We popped open a bottle of champagne and sat in front of the screen, waiting for the view count to go up. Needless to say, it barely moved!
There are 26 people on the team now – writers, producers, social media mavens. This doesn’t include six consultants and one intern. We even have a business head – the smiling but steely Naved Farooqui! We also have Film Companion South - a team in Chennai headed by the mighty Baradwaj Rangan, who somehow combines the ability to write great criticism with a talent for making really bad puns. I got Baddy on board by telling him that my vision was to be ‘the Avengers of film journalism.’ With critics like Rahul Desai, Sucharita Tyagi and Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri, I think we are well on our way. We review Hindi, English, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Punjabi and Bengali films. We talk about streaming shows, short films, comedy specials, film books. We are a pan-Indian entertainment platform. We curate and celebrate good content and great artists. We don’t worry about language, length, budget, delivery method.
As an anniversary special, the editorial team, led by Mohini Chaudhuri, trawled through dozens of Indian films to find the best non-Hindi films made in the last five years. We had a great time exchanging notes and arguing about the films that finally made the cut. I must share here that Mohini has a fondness for Punjabi cinema – Diljit Dosanjh’s Instagram feed has given her hours of joy. A typical day in FC involves chatting about Diljit’s latest social media post (I love the dancing across Canada ones), discussing films or shows we’ve seen, figuring out new ways to approach content and artists and always, how to dive deeper and stay engaging. There is also the hustle to be a financially sustainable platform without resorting to gossip or click-bait headlines. How do you attract eyeballs and money without editorial compromise – that is the question!
The search for answers is exhilarating. There are days when I feel like Sisyphus pushing a rock uphill only to have it roll down again. But the beauty of being digital first is that you get to go again and again and again. You keep experimenting with formats and ideas. You stay excited because genuinely, you have no idea what will stick. The hate can get frenzied but more than anything, I feel your passion. And that inspires us to work harder. As Melvin Udall said to Carol Connelly in As Good As it Gets: You make me want to be a better man.
Thank you for making us a part of your pop culture journey. It’s been a privilege to be your companion.