Movies

Kannada cinema ushers in a new dawn with directors taking to web series

Enthused by the success of other Indian languages, a young breed of talented filmmakers are now betting big on the emergence of OTT platforms

A nascent, but definitely a silent revolution is brewing in the online space of Kannada entertainment spectrum. Web series or shows meant exclusively for the internet community is slowly catching up. Basically enthused by the success of web series in the neighbouring Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi entertainment scene, young breed of talented film makers are now betting big on the emergence of web series. For them, web content is more democratic, as it is available to the netizens across the globe, round the clock.

The number of web series has reached a double digit now and every creative mind is looking at the possibility of making a web-series. This new entertainment format is catching the attention of the audience since web series encourages them to anticipate and keep them waiting till the next set of episodes are uploaded. Few film makers are of the opinion that a movie limits their creativity, which will not be the case with web series.

Though web series in Kannada is a fall-out of digital renaissance and taking baby steps in Karnataka, it is showing all the indications of taking giant proportions in the next few years, with the improvement in bandwidth and smart phones getting cheaper. Those talents, which were earlier experimenting with short films, have found an avenue through web series.

Director of Ambi Ning Vayassaytho, Gurudat Ganiga is working on a Kannada web series for Netflix. The concept is being currently worked on and the cast is being finalised for the pilot episode says Gurudat, without spilling out any other details.

Danish Sait and Saad Khan, who caught the attention of Kannada audience with Humble Politician Nogaraj are busy in putting together a 10-episode series, which will be a mix of Hindi and other languages. Describing web-series as a dragon that needs to be fed, Danish Sait says: “the idea of putting up a series is creatively focussed.” He is planning to shoot the series by November end.

Shivarajkumar is essaying an important character in a web series, being produced by his daughter, Nirupama. It is said that, Shivarajkumar is also enthusiastic in acting in a web series, considering the possibilities of the medium. Industrialist Sanjay Gowda is making a six episode web series titled, Kranthipura, directed by Girish. Krantipura is likely to be streamlined on YouTube channel. Sensitive film makers such as B.M. Giriraj and others are also thinking of entering web world through this platform.

Sagar Puranik’s By2 Bengaluru, Pratap Kumar’s Joint Family, Anish Tejeswar’s Bengaluru Queens, Ravindra Joshi’s Hingadre Henge, Nakkare Nagri Bittare Bidri, Vinayak Joshi’s Loose Connection and Joshile are some of the attempts on web series platform in the last two years. Netflix's dystopian web series Leila was helmed by Deepa Mehta, Shanker Raman and Kannada’s own Pawan Kumar of Lucia fame. Pawan has directed two episodes of Leila.

The desire of audiences for binge watching (marathon viewing of television for long hours) television series is changing because of the advent of web series to a certain extent. “Web series will be future of Kannada entertainment market”, says Ravindra Joshi, whose web series, Hingadre Henge, succeeded on the online platform. Web series is tailor made for younger generation. In the days to come, this format will make the audience to hook on to their mobile phones and laptops. Many creative minds, with the support of technology is opting for web series, as it is easier and advantageous for them compared to making film. With little effort they can take their content to every corner of the globe, where Kannada films and television serials could not reach. “It is an opportunity for young film makers to build their profiles. It has positive and negative impact. One can be successful with good content or fail, if the content doesn’t work. It is a double edged sword and should be used with care,” observes Rishab Shetty, with a caution note.

Web series is a perfect platform for creative minds observes film maker, Pawan Wodeyar. “It has scope for creativity. In the days to come, people will opt for watching web series than visiting multiplexes. Which is why many corporate companies are coming forward to produce web series. It is possible to break the framework of film making in web series,” he notes.

Noted film maker Yogaraj Bhat also acknowledges the opinion of Rishab and Wodeyar. “It is a good development as far as the entertainment format in Kannada. If creative minds opt for popular literary works for making web series that would be a great contribution,” he says.

But, cultural and sociological experts are raising one pertinent question. Is there any statutory body on the lines of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which will regulate content? According to them, web series producers are experimenting with free hand they have got now. Will it affect the moral health of the society? Most of those involved in making web series argue that there is no question of censorship on the internet content.

Divya Ganesh Prasad Gontia, a Mumbai based advocate has also petitioned the Union Government to regulate Over The Top (OTT) content, following allegations of OTT platforms streaming anti-national content. It is to be noted that several channels claim that they have self-censoring mechanism and it is based on the basis of guidelines issued by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). Industry experts oppose the very idea of censorship for OTT platform.

Film academicians are arguing that, censorship of OTT platform does not exist in the West. Same yardsticks should be adapted even in India. Objecting the very idea of censoring the OTT content, film makers including Adarsh Eshwarappa, Hemanth Rao, Simple Suni and Santosh Anandram observe that the very idea of having watchful eye kills creativity. If censorship comes in, who will judge whether a particular project is right or wrong? However, the present NDA government is considering framing a broad policy framework to regulate OTT media platforms on the lines of existing regulation mechanism for print and electronic media.

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Printable version | Jul 11, 2020 8:19:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/online-fever-is-catching-up/article29972894.ece

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