Following their enthralling crime drama , directing duo Pushkar-Gayatri is back to the OTT space as producers with the upcoming investigative thriller . In a conversation with Krishna, open up about the increasing space for writers in OTT today, the roles of showrunners and creators, and what they look for in scripts as producers.
Having had two OTT series and one big film released in theatres this year (the Hindi remake of Vikram Vedha), the duo assert that OTT and theatres will co-exist. Pushkar points out that web series and OTTs create room for writing stories on a bigger canvas. He says, “We are creating original content for OTT, specifically long-form storytelling. These stories cannot be boxed into two-hour films. But in a series, you can explore a lot more storytelling and that is its main advantage. Take any film for instance, the world will be centred around the protagonist and how he solves problems. But here, you can have many tangents for the protagonist, you can have parallel stories. So, both theatre and OTT will co-exist.”
Agreeing that we live in a golden era for writers, Gayatri says that streaming content is more of a writer's and creator’s medium. “When we talk about theatre plays, it is an actor’s medium. Similarly, when we talk about films, it is mostly a director’s medium. But in the long form, writers and creators are crucial. When you are a creator, you can get other writers and directors but it is your vision that will translate. And this showrunner or creator space is very new and exciting,” says Gayatri, the producer of the Vadhandhi series.
While the duo agrees that OTT space has opened up a huge market for content and writers have an opportunity, they believe that writers need to sharpen their craft to shine. “When you are writing for OTT, if you are not able to sustain the interest, develop the character or move the plot forward, it will be explicitly visible. In cinema, we can easily move forward. With a spectacular action sequence or a song, you can bridge the gap/holes in the plot. However, we don’t have the leeway here,” says Pushkar, adding that if people have strong content, it will see the light of the day sooner or later with OTT.
Pushkar and Gayatri claim that no director, writer, or producer can predict whether their work will win with the audiences. Gayatri calls it the magic of art and lists down the qualities they usually look for in a script. “We see if there is a “newness” in the story because some stories may work but follow a formulaic pattern. As directors and producers, we want it to have an element of freshness. In addition, the story should be gripping and the maker should have the skill to translate it on screen,” says Gayatri.
Pushkar gets into the details explaining what excited them about Vadhandhi and why they chose to produce the series. He says, “We are the first audience, so the script should excite us. In Vadhandhi, the idea of rumours, how it spreads after a murder, the victim-blaming that follows, and the way in which this whole thing is set up was new. So, apart from this, what we can help is the final crafting of the episodes. It is not just about the hook at the end of each episode. While that is important, how you lead up to the hook, and how you make your characters relatable and likeable determines whether the audience will watch. If your characters are not likeable, people might not want to watch them because they will not care about the characters or what happens to them. So, if the soul is there, we can help with the crafting.”
Talking about their role as a creator, Pushkar notes, “Making a series is a collaborative process of the writer, director, creator, actors, and technicians. So when you are approaching us with a script, we look for either a well-written show or a great idea. If you have a great idea but you do not know how to explore it, we can provide the resources and help with a team of assistant directors, dialogue writers, etc.”
Vadhandhi: The Fable of Velonie will be available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video from December 2.