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Web series is the need of the hour, says director Dibakar Banerjee


Kolkata: Dibakar Banerjee, who has directed one of the short films of ‘Lust Stories’, is fascinated by the web. He says, “Perhaps, this is why I did this film. I have always wanted to push the envelope, when it comes to films. When the web series is taking the internet by storm, we released ‘Lust Stories’. I am really eager to see how the response is.”

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Welcome to the world of web series where content-driven films are capturing the imagination of the viewers. These films have substance and are constantly experimenting with new subjects. ‘Tripling’, ‘Permanent Roommates’ or ‘TVF Pitchers’ may not have popular faces, but they are in the top of their league – courtesy, good content.

Actor Naveen Kasturia, of ‘TVF Pitchers’ and ‘Bose: Dead /Alive’, explains, “I think people want to watch good content now. ‘TVF Pitchers’ was one of the web shows that started the trend in the country. Viewers wanted to watch engaging content, and that is how they got hooked to the show. They perhaps left television because there is no good content that is available in the idiot box now.” And the internet has content for all.

“There is audience for every kind of show on the internet. That is why people love such shows,” Naveen adds.

Also read: Karan Johar’s “Lust Stories” to clash with Salman Khan’s “Race 3”

A good web series can even give a Bollywood film a run for its money because of its content-which is original and fresh. “Let’s get real about the statistics of Bollywood releases. If a film doesn’t have a youth star it doesn’t work. Only Salman Khan-films are working. So, where does the entire good cinema go? Such is the condition of today’s feature films,” Naveen says.

But what about theatrical releases? “The biggest problem with theatrical cinema today is that too many films are chasing very few theatres. None of the films gets what it deserves. And by the time the story or the content catches up, the distributors decide to remove them from the theatre. Such is the irony. So we thought it was perhaps a good time to release Lust Stories on a web portal,” Dibakar says.

Actor Jaideep Ahlawat, who is part of ‘Lust Stories’, says, “Web films are a big threat to films. They will have to up their game thoroughly to survive. Big stars don’t star in content-oriented films. Anything alternative on screen is sidelined.”

Vivek Oberoi, who did ‘Inside Edge’, says, “I don’t know much about the research. But the logistics are very different. Releasing a film is a huge task. Whereas, when it comes to releasing on the web, we do not have to deal with distributors.  Films are far more superior technically, in terms of sound and looks. However, the web fraternity is also picking up slowly. ‘Bose: Dead / Alive’ and ‘TVF Pitchers’ were at par with most films.”

And then there is no Censor Board. Randeep Jha, of ‘Lust Stories’, says, “We can experiment a lot and there is a lot more freedom to storytelling on the internet as a platform. Films are ruled by censorship and television is reachable to everyone, but the web is a very personal space. All of us have smart phones and we can decide for ourselves what we watch. And, interestingly, the web is producing such content.”

Also read: ‘Namastey England’: Parineeti Chopra and Arjun Kapoor look cute in the new still

Marathi actress Amruta Khanvilkar is now doing a web series, ‘Damaged’ after a solid performance in Raazi. And she belongs to a genre of actors who like to experiment. “I am part of the clan who want to be in good stories – be it on web or celluloid. As an actor you shouldn’t restrict yourself. As for me, I have always loved new challenges. For me, my priority is to reach out to my audience and the more the merrier.”

Actor Sumeet Vyas, who rose to fame with ‘Permanent Roommates’ says, “You cannot take a risk with the time of movie buffs, as there are limitations. And obviously, there is hardly any audience to watch a documentary or an English drama. For the content on web, the story is easy and simple and not larger than life. That is what attracted me the most to this medium.”

Yes, it’s a new platform and needless to say it is here to stay.

(The writer works for Eastern Chronicle, Kolkata)

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