Interview By: Sagar Desai
Samar Khan, a content creator, creative producer, director and an important person behind films and web series like ‘Shaurya’, ‘Test Case’ and many more, talks to us about the importance of creating good content, collaborating with directors and more in a candid chat with us here at Super Cinema.
“I think it’s really important for all content creators to be aware of the world that surrounds them”
How has been your journey so far as a director, a creative producer and a content creator?
I just think that my journey has been of a content creator, so whether I have directed a film, or whether I have been a creative producer or whether I have been a show runner, I like to create content and which is what I believe in, whether it was ‘Living with a Superstar’ on Discovery, whether it was ‘Shaurya’, now the ‘Test Case’ and the other shows I am working on and stuff, I just like to create content and tell stories. So whether I become a director or anything else on it, I don’t really have a problem.
How important it is for a content creator to observe the various norms of society?
I think that without observing society and without observing things around you, you cannot be a content creator, it is not possible, so I think what helps me is the fact that I started my journey as a journalist. I was with NDTV, where I worked with Rajdeep, Barkha, I was the entertainment journalist but having worked with names like Rajdeep, Barkha and Sreenivasan Jain, I learned to observe things around me and it gave me an understanding of human behavior and the political scenario, so my interest was always there and all the social, political thing and all the things that I observe, I try and incorporate in stories that I want to tell and I try and bring that element into it and I think it’s really important for all content creators to be aware of the world that surrounds them and to be aware of what all is happening because if you include that in the content which you create it gives your story a root, it makes it rooted, it makes it real, so that is very important.
How important is the collaboration between a writer and director?
I think it’s very important for someone who is working as a creative producer or is working as a content creator to have a great relationship with the director. What we need to understand is also that this new medium of digital has also underlined the collaboration that needs to happen between content creators and directors. So there is a great amount of collaboration that needs to happen. I was extremely lucky that on ‘Test Case’ I had a great relationship with Vinay Waikul who directed it, once he is directing, he is the captain of the ship, I mean he is someone who will run the show, he is the one who will run everything but you need a great understanding between the two so that you don’t step on each other’s toe, you are aware of the boundaries and you have to be on the same wave length of what you want to say in your story and what the director also portrays, so it’s very important to have understanding between the two.
What role does the content creator play while casting the actors?
In the web series today my role is not just of writing, as the creative producer of the show or someone who has come up with the concept of the show, it’s collaborating; you cannot take away the contribution of someone like Ekta because she contributed a lot to the story, to the way it was developed, the way we were visioning it. So it’s collaboration in every department whether it’s casting or whether it’s anything else it has to work as a team, everyone has to work together.
Is digital going to take over multiplexes in future?
Like I said, I am not someone who can look into a crystal ball and say what will happen in the future, I know that for right now it is a brand new avenue and it is a great platform because you can make only 200 films in a year, Bollywood produces 200 films a year but there are 20,000 stories that are worth telling, there are only a few actors, a few stars but the digital medium is breaking all that, it is breaking the star system, is giving you more freedom, is giving you more opportunities to tell new stories, so it’s a great medium. I don’t see it as competition there is Television, there is Cinema and now there are theater and there is digital, so the more there is the better it is because then you are able to view content in different places, I don’t have to go to a cinema theater anymore to watch a movie, I can watch it in the comfort of my house and I can legally pay for it, it is a great way that piracy can also be brought down, you can pay for it and you can watch it. I have seen so many films on Netflix or Amazon on Eros Now which I have not seen in theaters but I have officially watched them, I have watched them by paying for it, so the revenue is going to the content creator, so it is generating more work, generating more money and it is bringing down piracy.
What inspires to be a part of the film industry?
It inspires me to tell you stories, I just believe that we are all story tellers and that fact that you can meet so many people and who can tell you stories, which other profession gives you this opportunity to meet so many new people, interact with so many new people, story tellers, so it’s just the excitement of be in a profession where you can tell so many stories. We are all story tellers, we have our stories in life to tell, we have grown up in a country where Bollywood have been such a large part of our growing up, we used to watch movies, looking at that fact that what a great industry this is. So it is just that , it is just the excitement of lets think of a new story today, a new character so all those kind of thoughts when they come to you, they kind of inspire to do stuff.
As a creative person how does one feel when there are unnecessary internal and external censors and controversies on creativity?
There is no complete freedom anywhere in the world, we are also in a country and at a time where we know that everybody are more sensitive and there are also lots of political things and other things, the whole Padmaavat thing, it’s stupid, so you just feel sad, we are doing our jobs, doing something where we are just trying to tell a story and then people come out and just protest, you obviously feel sad about it but you continue with your work, job and say listen let’s just try and find a way around it, so it’s obviously sad, not a good thing.
After Test Case what are your upcoming projects?
I am working on something which is based on the surgical strike as a creative producer, there are a lot of things I am doing but it’s too early to talk about it. I think that ‘Test Case’ had done well which is a kind of story that I wanted to tell and we are all very happy that people have loved it and the credit goes to the entire team, this show would have not happen without Ekta and her complete belief in it, it could have not happen without Endemol putting their entire belief in it, Nimrit who did such a great job, all the actors, so right now it’s just to enjoy the moment and the success of ‘Test Case’.