Posted on 19 May, 2016 by Team Wishberry
If you’ve spent enough time on the interwebs, you would’ve noticed the recent surge of web-series, and really GOOD ONES at that. Well, we for one are loving it, because it seems like such perfect leverage of the internet to amplify awesome content. One such web-series that has us by our funny bones is Marathi Casting Couch – an undercover celebrity interview show that spills into the Mocumentary/semi-fiction genre. The web-series is the brainchild of the Bharatiya Digital Party (BDP), which is the combination of three companies, each of which bring their own expertise to the table. There’s Gulbadan Talkies led by Sarang Sathaye, Paula McGlynn and Anusha Nandakumar who look after the creative side of BDP. Then there is Nek Iraada Films consisting of Ashish Mehta, Mohit Takalkar and Abhijeet Bhosale. This has been around since 2012, supporting new voices in films and allied media. The third company is White Copper Entertainment led by Nachiket Chidgopkar, which focuses on marketing and entertainment initiatives. Nek Iraada films and White Copper entertainment look after the financials and marketing end of BDP. What makes Bharatiya Digital Party truly interesting is the collaboration between the three companies. “All three companies have known each other for a while now and the need to provide fun, quirky and contemporary Marathi content is what led to the formation of BDP”, explains Anusha. It’s not just any quirky content; it’s quirky content in a regional language that make Marathi Casting Couch such a hit among the citizens of Maharashtra. Anusha explains further, “Regional digital content is an untapped market and there is a huge audience in this, waiting for quality content. With BDP we want to provide a platform for people to watch and consume content that is accessible, relatable and has the charm and sensibilities that will be appeal to Maharashtrians.” The origins of the web-series go way back, when the director and the actors worked together during college days. The actors, Amey and Nipun, were known for their harmless flirting with their seniors, when they were in their teens! Nevertheless, it’s easy to tell that the web-series is a sincere effort to make more and more space for contemporary content in Marathi. Anusha tells us, “Marathi cinema and theatre is far more global and contemporary, compared to its regional counterparts. But somehow we haven’t made a mark in TV and digital yet. Regional web content is also the next big market, according to us and many others.” Each episode is well thought out and well scripted, but in spite of this, creative sparks fly on the set and the next thing you know, the cast is no longer bound by a script, but are just rolling with the times. The crackling, rib-tickling equation can be easily seen in the episodes. Says Anusha, “The cast is let loose in each alternate take and we later rack our brains at the edit table. There’s so much going on, we might just get a whole different full-length series out of the edited bits!” As for the guests who make it on the show, the team tries to choose actors who have Marathi as well as Hindi and international reach of audience. This is so that, the series can appeal to a crossover audience, in spite of being in a regional language. However, their prime focus remains the regional audience. However, in spite of its fun and the fact that they’re all friends working together, the project is not without its fair set of challenges. Anusha elaborates, “The biggest challenge was to bring in investors. At first we spent every single rupee from our pockets to make a pilot and get out there. However, we have quite a good number of eyeballs now. Another challenge is the penetration of high speed internet and people's knowledge about such content. We have lot of ground level work to do. And we hope to build an audience and a platform for other content creators too.” But, as is the case with every creative endeavor, it’s the feedback and love from the community that keeps this team going. Anusha adds, “What's most exciting is that in less than a month we have a loyal audience base. We aren't spending a lot on marketing as we want to know our organic market and grow from there. We are super excited by the demand!” As are we, because we can’t get enough of this web-series! Check out their pilot episode with Radhika Apte here. Subscribe to their awesome channel here.