Raj & DK: Real Talk on Writing Hit Streaming Shows From Farzi’s Directors

The director duo spoke about how things have changed since they made The Family Man
Raj & DK: Real Talk on Writing Hit Streaming Shows From Farzi’s Directors

A Raj & DK project – especially a show – has distinct features: Well-cast actors, a narrative that weaves humour and despair, and pitch-perfect writing. With a segment for an anthology (Unpaused), a hit series with two seasons (The Family Man), a recently-released show that’s among the most-watched Hindi shows (Farzi) and two more shows in the pipeline (Guns and Gulaabs, Gulkanda), the filmmakers have established themselves as one of the most successful creators in the web series market. Yet when the duo — who write, direct and produce their projects — made their streaming debut with Prime Video series The Family Man in 2019, they felt like they were entering uncharted waters. “With season 1 (of The Family Man), it was almost like re-inventing the wheel,” said Raj Nidimoru during a recent Front Row session. “I was googling ‘How do you write a series’ in those days.” 

The two tried to approach storytelling like engineers – a profession that was their bread and butter before filmmaking – and tried to reverse-engineer a good show. “Our walls were filled with plots, sub-plots, characters … [we were asking] “How do we make something more than what is out there?” Since then, the process has become much easier. “Our writer rooms are more fluid. We’re not inventing the basics now, the basics have already come to us,” said Krishna D.K. The Family Man season 1 took much longer than writing the show’s season 2 or writing their latest show, Farzi. "Farzi was probably developed much faster than all these other shows,” said D.K.

Farzi, with Shahid Kapoor and Vijay Sethupathi in its cast, also marks Raj and D.K.’s first star-studded project. Celebrities often bring their own baggage, necessities and restrictions. Some demand the script be moulded according to their public persona. However, this has never been a concern for the director duo. “We write the characters and stories first and then look to see who will fit in,” said Raj. “We’re not the kind of people stars would come [to] and say ‘Give me a hero entry’ – we can’t do it, I don’t know how to do it,” he said. 

“Every script — 99 (2009), Shor in the City (2010), Go Goa Gone (2013) – we would go [to the actors] with scripts and they would all try to change it into the format that they want us to do it in.” The scenario couldn’t be more different – and refreshing – today. “Now, thankfully when stars want to do something with us, they know they want to do something that we are doing, versus making us do what they want to do,” said Raj. 

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