Being different is big differentiator in web series: Suparn Verma

New Delhi: Far from the herd mentality in the film industry, in the world of web series, being different counts, says Suparn Verma, who has directed a new digital show “Kaushiki”.

The web series market has become very competitive with a slew of international shows, movies and homegrown Indian content on a constant rise. How does one ensure a pull?

“Telling stories that are unique, local and emotionally universal is the key to stand above the competition. In commercial films one follows the herd… A certain film works suddenly everyone wants to make similar films.

“On the web, the minute someone is executing a idea, the first instinct is to do something different which is a big differentiator,” Verma told IANS in an email interview.

“Kaushiki”, a part of Viu’s catalogue, revolves around the protagonist Kaushiki (played by Sayani Gupta), a young girl who moves from Darjeeling to Ahmedabad and becomes a part of a popular and high-profile group of friends.

Glad with the change in her life, Kaushiki finds herself in a complex situation when she discovers her friends, who appear to be exciting and bubbly turn out be corrupt and live a life based on the horrific foundations of wrong doings.

The show also features Rannvijay Singh, Omkar Kapoor, Namit Das, Manasi Scott, Rajeev Siddharta and Shruti Srivastava.

In Verma’s view, the digital space is going to bring about the resurgence of the golden age of content, similar like the one in the 1980s.

“We have an educated and demanding audience who are more open to ideas. When content drives an industry instead of stars, then makers can invest in great actors who suit the role rather than play to market diktats,” he said of his show’s ensemble cast.

As a writer, Verma has 11 films to his credit. “Janasheen”, “Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena” and “Love Story 2050” are some of the titles. And as a director, he has helmed “Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena”, “Acid Factory” and “Aatma”.

However, for him, it was not a shift from the films to the digital medium.

“My career began with the digital medium, I’m one of the founding members of Having literally started social media in the country with Rediff Chat, and having set-up Rediff Radio, along with being a film journalist and critic, working in the digital medium again is a homecoming of sorts.

“The digital medium allows long format storytelling which is more layered and in-depth as compared to a film and it is also very cinematic, unlike most work on Indian television.

“So, it helps to have an early mover advantage. Also, web-series are written and made with exactly the same discipline you make a feature film. You shoot with the full series written, in one go and then you do the post (production),” he said.

What attracts him most about the platform is that it allows for layered storytelling which pushes traditional boundaries.

“A web-only film is something I would love to do because the difference in that from a normal film is that it won’t be shown in a theatre and the traditional way of marketing and exhibition in this case, doesn’t exist.

“In terms of technique and storytelling, nothing changes.”

On the film front, he says he has finished writing his next film for which he is talks with actors. But he will work on that after his next show, which he is busy writing.