EXCLUSIVE: Sameer Nair, CEO of Applause Leisure, on digital revolution, declining TV viewership, variations, and censorship- “The perfect half about storytelling shouldn’t be the story, it’s the way you inform it” : Bollywood Information – Bollywood Hungama


Over twenty years in the past, on the flip of the century, the quiz present Kaun Banega Crorepati hosted by Amitabh Bachchan proved to be a sport changer for prime time Indian tv. On the identical time, reveals like Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki, Koffee With Karan, The Nice Indian Comedy Present, and Sarabhai vs Sarabhai, amongst others gave a brand new definition to prime time TV and made it the first supply of leisure in majority households. And the person chargeable for the above-mentioned reveals is – Sameer Nair.

EXCLUSIVE: Sameer Nair, CEO Applause Entertainment, on digital revolution, declining TV viewership, adaptations, and censorship-

EXCLUSIVE: Sameer Nair, CEO of Applause Leisure, on digital revolution, declining TV viewership, variations, and censorship- “The perfect half about storytelling shouldn’t be the story, it’s the way you inform it”

Sameer, who began his journey with Star Community in 1994 went on to deal with a number of portfolios. At the moment, he’s the CEO of Applause Leisure, a manufacturing home that’s behind profitable reveals like Rip-off 1992, Undekhi, Prison Justice amongst others. In an unique dialog with Bollywood Hungama, Nair mirrored upon the success of Rip-off 1992, adapting worldwide reveals for the Indian audiences, declining TV viewership, the digital revolution, censorship, and altering tendencies.


All of the reveals we now have performed earlier than and after Rip-off is identical form of premium drama collection on OTT. It’s high-quality storytelling. It is referred to as cinematic tv if you’ll, and it takes a solid of very gifted actors, administrators, and writing and cinematography, and to inform compelling tales. Rip-off was one of many first reveals that I began work on after we began Applause. So Rip-off has been within the works since 2017. It simply occurred to be our twentieth launch or one thing. However the actuality was, it was one of many first reveals we began engaged on. However it’s one thing that got here collectively very well. It took us three years however the writing, the casting, Pratik Gandhi himself, Hansal Mehta, and the music from Achint, all these little issues, all of them got here collectively very well. I feel the story was this complete cautionary story about rags to riches and you already know, a colourful character like Harshad Mehta whom you’ve got heard of however do not know sufficient about I feel a lot of these issues got here collectively effectively so I imply it is success it isn’t that we put any extra or any much less effort in it you already know, we do the identical for all of the reveals.


If you take a look at our full record of 30-32 odd reveals which have been launched, it divides up about evenly between variations, books, and originals. The unique motive why we did variations was simply to get a speed-to-market in place. We had been a brand new firm and we needed to get issues going rapidly. If you do variations, we’re trying on the good, common tales that we imagine can get reimagined in an Indian context. That is why we did Prison Justice. That is why we did The Workplace, Your Honor, the upcoming present Rudra. We’re additionally doing the Indian adaptation of Fauda. We imagine these tales will be reimagined in an Indian context, and reimagined effectively, that is why we choose them. Then, it is actually a operate of, staying true to the unique thought and plot whereas making an entire vary of little tweaks and adjustments. There are additionally totally different procedures. If you do a present like Your Honor, the authorized course of in India is totally different from the method within the US, or in Israel, for that matter. The characters, setting, dialogues, the best way folks converse, all change. American reveals, would not have home assist, proper? It is arduous to think about an Indian situation with out home assist, simply easy issues like that, which as an viewers, you do not discover. As a result of it is to not be observed, it is only a factor. So we deal with all that. However from our scheme of issues, it isn’t an adaptation, it is an Indian present.


I do not know whether or not you may say that you’ll not have any viewers. However the TV viewership has been declining during the last 5 to seven years. However that can be a operate of know-how, and never simply content material. As a result of even Hotstar reveals you all of the TV channels, and a variety of viewers are consuming TV content material on the streaming app. So it isn’t essentially to say that they stopped watching Star Plus, they simply watch Star Plus on Hotstar. The medium has modified and that may proceed to alter. In that context, as this new medium grows, this can discover its personal form of leverage. There will likely be, in fact, the premium, ultra-premium drama that we’re at the moment doing. However I feel there can even be a center floor after which there would be the saas bahus and related reveals. Over a time frame, our consumption methodology is not going to develop into primarily pushed by streaming and OTT, although as audiences, we’ll proceed to look at all types of issues.

I feel what streaming has performed is that it has revolutionized the best way we devour content material. And that isn’t going to return. Now, whether or not you select to devour Rudra or whether or not you select to devour Anupama, they’re each obtainable on Hotstar. And I feel that is the form of revolutionary factor that is taking place now.


If you say you can’t anticipate what may offend folks, the factor is that something can offend anybody. It will depend on what your start line is. In case your start line is an agenda, and in case your start line is to make a political level, or to create one thing which is offensive, then largely it finally ends up like that. In case your start line is to inform a narrative, and in equal half displays society and an equal half holds a mirror to society with none vested curiosity. Storytelling shouldn’t be activism. Storytelling is storytelling. We’re within the enterprise of leisure. Within the technique of leisure, if you’re to study one thing, and if I will inform you one thing that makes you assume, then that is an consequence. It may’t be the start line. I feel that is the form of mistake folks make. So so far as we’re involved, we’re telling tales, we’re fascinated with telling tales of all kinds- tales that make you uncomfortable, tales that make you chortle or cry. Take a look at Prison Justice S2; with a lot dialogue occurring about marital rape, we did an entire collection on that matter. It is to not say we’re not. However I do not assume we step out to do it like an activist place. That is not our intent. We’re entertainers who need to entertain and enlighten and inform.


I feel it is a actually good factor as a result of it makes content material creators work tougher. I feel what it requires all of us to do now could be to repeatedly enhance the standard of our personal storytelling. Beforehand, I feel perhaps the Hindi trade lived in its personal bubble and the south trade lived in its personal bubble, and other people lived in their very own little echo chambers. Now, these echo chambers are being destroyed. I feel it is a good factor that we have gotten a worldwide village lastly. And that we’re capable of see content material, anybody is ready to see content material from anyplace. I feel it is good. I feel it is good for the world, most likely it’s going to make us slightly calmer.


We acquired to be real looking to your personal market within the price range that we will afford. So clearly, it pushes everybody to make higher high quality. That’s true. However then the market it’s popping out of can be outlined by its personal financial state. The US is outlined by the US market, Korea is outlined by the Korean market, it is a query of that. So it is to not say that every part is simply cash, but it surely is a crucial issue. So when will we make a film as dramatically, with visible results like Spiderman, I feel it will take us some extra time. As a result of perhaps our market cannot afford that sort of expenditure. The US has a particularly strong home market, it permits them to make a $200 million film, after which they will go and present it to the entire world and now proceed to earn bonuses and royalties on that $200 million {dollars}. It roughly interprets to Rs. 1500 crores. So for us to make a film that prices Rs. 1500 crores is a distinct factor.

Nair additional additionally spoke about how Hindi cinema can be making very rooted tales which individuals discover relatable. “You need to make tales which can be rooted. However what they are saying about leisure, is that it isn’t at all times one factor. Any person makes an entire bunch of tales which can be rooted and sincere and gritty, after which someone comes and makes a whole whacked-out comedy, you need to do this. It may’t be such that every part must be rooted. The better part about storytelling is that it isn’t the story, it is the way you inform it. I can inform you a totally loopy story that isn’t rooted in any respect. But when I could make you chortle and maintain your consideration, I am nonetheless profitable,” Nair concluded.

ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: “In some ways, Ajay Devgn was our solely selection”- Sameer Nair, CEO Applause Leisure, on working with the famous person in Rudra- The Fringe of Darkness


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