Sitcom from Singara Chennai

Trend-setters: Shree Karthick and Swaminath Ramanathan of Madboyz Entertainment.  

At a time when the small screen was battling to find a renewed mode of entertainment, two 25-year-olds from Chennai introduced the concept of web series. Meet Shree Karthick and Swaminath Ramanathan, founders of Madboyz Entertainment , who conceptualised and acted in the online series, Happy to be Single.

Asked how it happened, they say, “We wanted to introduce something on the lines of popular sitcoms from the West like Friends and How I Met Your Mother. Short films were aplenty here. We did not want to venture into regular serial concept as well. So we hit on the idea of a web-series,” explains Karthick, director and lead actor of Happy to be Single.

The first season of this youth-oriented series had five short episodes (10-12 minutes each) and was aired in November-December 2013. “Despite working with leading technicians from mainstream cinema, we managed to wrap up the series at a minimal cost. A short film of about 10-15 minutes made with the same technology costs around Rs.50-60 lakh, but our series cost only Rs.2.5 lakh,” beams Ramanathan. Distributed by Sony Entertainment India, through their YouTube channel, the series was well received across the country with an overall viewership of 200,000.

Even though the team was apprehensive about the idea, leading film stars praised them. When the team made their debut, director Venkat Prabhu tweeted, “It’s a new trend, going to be a revoultion.” Lyricist Madan Karky, director Karthik Subburaj (of Pizza fame), comedian-singer Premgi Amaren, actor Amy Jackson, director Balaji Mohan, Dhananjay of UTV Pictures, R.S. Prasanna of Kalyana Samayal Saadham fame were among the celebrities who endorsed their attempt.

Although the idea of web-serials is in its infancy in India, the duo hopes that the medium will go places. “Simple improvements like title sponsors for the series, in-video advertisements on YouTube and brand promotion within the serial’s storyline can generate the required revenue,” says Karthick. “New media is evolving and people are accepting such innovations. Given some time and support from major media houses, Indian web-serials can definitely match the standards and viewership of foreign sitcoms,” says Swaminath.

After the success of Happy to be Single’s first season, the team is gearing up for the second season in a couple of months. “We are in talks with a leading channel to air it. And we are also shooting a short film, Vyugam, for a leading Tamil channel.” Apart from in-house production, the duo is also currently shooting for character roles in mainstream cinema. Here’s wishing the Madboyz the best!

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 5:30:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/nxg/sitcom-from-singara-chennai/article5862462.ece

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