Shreyas Talpade talks about his new OTT venture ‘Nine Rasa’

He’s a man who dons many hats — brilliant actor, director and producer and now OTT platform creator. That’s right, Shreyas Talpade’s ‘Nine Rasa’ is India’s first OTT platform that has created more than 1,500 jobs for technicians, actors, writers, lightmen, etc. It cements one unique idea that showcases theatre and other performing arts to promote talent — it was conceptualised with the intention to help the theatre fraternity. The platform was kick-started on April 9, 2021 and will stream full length plays, one-act plays, stand-ups, dance, poetry, story reading and documentary. Read on as Shreyas talks more about this…

You are successfully traversing various spheres of filmmaking. What do you have to say about this new venture?

To be honest, life comes a full circle at times! And, this is one of those moments. Mark Twain has rightly written: 'The most important days of your life are, one is the day when you are born. And the second is when you know the reason why you are born'. Somewhere we keep looking for that one purpose in life. I feel probably this was my purpose in life where I had to do something like this. I have been thinking for the longest time that theatre has given me so much, what have I given to it? Yes, I agree that 2020 was a disastrous year. But it also gave us an opportunity to think beyond what we were doing. To get out of the comfort zone and think out of the box. The whole process of 'Nine Rasa' was started to help the theatre community in some way or the other. Gradually, people started associating with us and today, we are at a place where we have announced the date of the formal launch. The idea is 'Theatre ne laake yaha tak khada kiya, toh hum theatre ke liye kuch na kuch karne ki koshish toh kare'. Now how much this effort becomes fruitful, it all depends on you all.

What was the intention of opting for a title, Nine Rasa, which is typically derived from Indian classical?

That is where everything originates from right? Our life also has all the nine rasa, and we play around them through our entire life. It is also rightly said that: 'Zindagi ek natak hai, hum sab kathputliyan hai'. It's like going back to the basics, and we wanted to have a name which denotes expressions, performances, and that is why the name 'Nine Rasa' is apt for theatre, also it has a global appeal.

How many plays are ready to be executed?

As of now, we have 100 hours of content ready, which we will execute after certain intervals. On this app, you will see all things related to the OTT platform. Foremost, there are plays in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, English and Hinglish and other languages will follow. We started shooting for it as soon as the unlock was announced. We had planned a couple of things in Malayalam, Bengali and Tamil, but we had push it owing to the rising Covid cases in Maharashtra. But, next month probably we will begin shoots with south Indian languages.

The whole process of 'Nine Rasa' was started to help the theatre community in some way or the other... The idea is 'Theatre ne laake yaha tak khada kiya, toh hum theatre ke liye kuch na kuch karne ki koshish toh kare'.

What kind of a push do you need for Tamil and Telugu languages, and how do you approach it?

There are plays — either full-length or one-act plays and entertaining plays also. The idea is to take theatre to the masses — theatre which was limited to the auditoriums only, but by the end of the day, it is also a form of entertainment like any other mediums, right? Take it to the masses and show the people that it has an entertaining side, too. It has comedy, thriller and horror as well. The magic that people create on the stage is something that we are looking forward to delivering in front of people.

Will you be shooting it all at once with sync sound and ask people from other states to re-dub it?

We will be appointing people from the North and South soon. For example, the play in Marathi will be done in Marathi only for its people. But the subtitles will be in English. Once the launch is done, we will then know the response of the people for a particular play. So, thereafter, we can dub the same play in multiple languages also. We feel it’s important in whatever language it is released, it should be known for that first. If it is Tamil it will come in the same language with English subtitles, if Malayalam then with Malayalam subtitles.

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