SonyLIV 2.0 celebrated the second anniversary of its relaunch with a grand evening with its partners.
To mark the two years in its new avatar, the platform announced a slew of upcoming originals, including fresh seasons of popular shows like 'Scam', 'Maharani', 'Avrodh', and 'Rocket Boys'.
The platform will soon foray into Tamil originals with its web series 'Meme Boys', 'Tamil Rockerz', among others; followed by originals in Telugu and Malayalam.
Sudhir Mishra is set to direct 'Tanaav', starring Manav Vij, Sumit Kaul, Rajat Kapoor, Shashank Arora, Arbaaz Khan, Zarina Wahab, Ekta Kaul, Waluscha De Sousa, and others. Set against the idyllic backdrop of Kashmir in the year 2017, 'Tanaav' tells the story of a Special Unit, their bravery and courage.
On the other hand, Nikkhil Advani will don the director's hat for 'Freedom at Midnight', a political thriller/drama that highlights several incidents from the year of India’s independence.
Kumud Mishra, Vidya Malavade, Sandeepa Dhar, Shekhar Suman, and others will be seen in the dramedy 'Dr Arora', a show documenting the interesting life and times of a travelling sex consultant in a country where people are either too scared off talking about intimate problems or treat it like a taboo.
Huma Qureshi and Sohum Shah will return with 'Maharani 2', while Abir Chatterjee will star in 'Avrodh' season 2.
After the super-successful 'Scam 1992', filmmaker Hansal Mehta will return with 'Scam 2003: The Telgi Story', which revolves around Abdul Karim Telgi, who became the mastermind behind one of the most ingenious schemes in Indian history that spread across multiple states and shook the entire country.
Nikkhil Advani is also set to helm 'Rocket Boys 2', while Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari will present a unique, intense poetic love story between two different thinking characters with Saiyami Kher and Pavail Gulati's 'Faadu'.
The other projects to be released on the platform include 'Pulwama Key No 1026', 'Jazz City ’71 – Fight for Language', 'Good Bad Girl', 'Garmi', 'Summer of ’77 – Children of Freedom', 'India’s First Election', and others.
The platform also hosted a 'Creators’ Round Table' - a panel discussion on ‘Taking Indian Stories to the World’.
The roundtable saw pathbreakers from the entertainment fraternity namely, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, Hansal Mehta, Nikkhil Advani, Rana Daggubati, Sameer Nair along with Danish Khan, Head - SonyLIV, Sony Entertainment Television & StudioNext. Moderated by renowned film critic and journalist, Rajeev Masand, the roundtable saw panellists share their insights and views on what motivates them to tell the kind of stories that they do, the importance of creating stories with the accurate balance of both Indian and global flavors, and what the future looks like for the Indian OTT space.
At a time when long-form OTT content is garnering immense headway, creators are often asked what it takes to bring such wonderful stories on screen. Masand asked the panellists if Originals or long-form content require a different muscle when compared to films.
Hansal Mehta said that the time spent with OTT content is much more than traditional film content. “I feel this is the joy of the long format. You develop the story for a longer period of time and live with it longer. A creator is not limited by the confines of a formula. You are liberated to try new things and work with an ideal cast. Although it is time-consuming, it has freed me. Filmmaking is a different joy altogether. With OTT, there is so much that we can do now. There has never been a better time for a filmmaker or director to exist and this is a creatively satisfying period,” he said.
Ashwini Iyer Tiwari says that the research and creative process is much intense for long-form content. “It depends on the number of episodes you have. It needs an intensity, and you need to choose, schedule and plan your shoot wisely. You want two camera setups, and a different perspective. It is not easy. You can explore the intensity but adjust it according to your comfort. I can choose who I want to work with and narrate what I feel is correct for the story. It is beautiful to see actors getting into characters, as a result,” she said.
For Nikkhil Advani, a film is a sprint and long-form OTT is a marathon. “It is just the way in which you approach and train people. The level of concentration and stamina needed to keep over eight episodes running is not simple, and we do work with so many channels,” he said.
Danish Khan shared some data to speak about the success of OTT. “When ‘Scam 1992 came’, we were a small app, and had the ability to pull audience. So, people still see our first episode and subscribe. However, when Rocket Boys released, we found that 50% of the audience came from the south. Such is the power of OTT and its reach,” he said.