SIDDHARTH ROY KAPUR & CHRISTOPHER BRANCATO
Interview By: HASTI DOSHI
The increasing love for the sitcoms have brought various web series to us, but this time Siddharth and Christopher have collaborated to create some original content. Siddharth has always entertained us with his Bollywood films and Christopher has done the same by creating great content overseas. His recent project ‘Narcos’ has been applauded and gained love from all over. We got into a candid chat with the producers of respective fields getting into depth of this collaboration and further projects. Read on-
How did you guys landed up as a team to work together? And what are your plans?
SIDDHARTH ROY KAPUR – Actually, at Roy Kapur films, from a few months we are working with writers, directors and producers to develop concepts for Jio originals platform. And Jio we know is a telecom which has huge subscribers and next value add for subscribers will be the content that we will be creating. In the process of that, since we are very known to the film and television but there isn’t anyone in India that really understands original series. We thought it would be best to start by learning from the best. So we went to Carole Krischner in the west – she runs the show runners program, so we thought it would be starting point to bring some great minds down here so, she got us in touch with Chris and he is co-creator of ‘Narcos’ and have done some great work other than that too and this we know is best of him. And he’s here to talk about it to the creative community about how he does what he does. As we are in this crucial phase where we are deciding how to take the next stage to develop and take forward.
Have you earlier worked on digital platforms in any form? Because we know Chris has been working on this platform a lot.
SIDDHARTH ROY KAPUR – No, but when I was at Disney, that time for Bindass we did a fair amount of content for digital platform. We are film and television people and Chris has worked a lot within the digital space, we thought it’s a great opportunity to get him here.
How different and difficult is it to work for silver screen and on digital space?
SIDDHARTH ROY KAPUR – Well I am still learning how to work in the digital space. I suspect the difference is going to be that with the show on digital you make sure it goes for multiple seasons and you are living with that show much more and so you are looking at the franchise potential of something for which we are developing content. Not that we don’t do this for movies but we do look at the movie at much finite manner and with this it’s about building value for much longer years, so that’s one that we will be wearing when we are validating it. And the second thing is what Chris says and I would like to use that line (smiling), with TV or with digital series we invite characters into our homes and thus it’s very important to create very special and compelling characters that audiences are happy to live with many hours together.
Chris as you are conducting workshops here for the writers, what have you noticed in the style of content and taste in West and here?
CHRISTOPHER BRANCATO – Well, I don’t know much but one of the wonderful things coming to this country is meeting few wonderful writers who have written for certain films here and I am desperate to see those. And Sid is going to help me with this so that I can watch films myself and familiarize things and I am sure there would be globally successful films coming out of the market and it’s a beginning and United states already have a head start. So I am excited to see what comes out from here.
Christopher and Carol are here to conduct workshops for the writers, how did that idea come to you?
SIDDHARTH ROY KAPUR – When we were engaging with writers on discussing ideas for development, what I realized was that writers are from film or traditional television but there hasn’t been experience for creating digital original series. So we got an idea of conducting workshops because this is a totally different animal for us.
Have you started working or creating something for Jio originals?
SIDDHARTH ROY KAPUR – Yes we have actually started working on multiple ideas right now because it’s still early days and we have just started out.
Indians consume all sort of cinema and also watch Netflix which makes it difficult for you to create something original, so how are you going about it?
SIDDHARTH ROY KAPUR – That’s true because we are a diverse country and have tastes in various range. What we are doing is that we are trying to understand 140 million subscribers of Jio and create context for them that’s accessible, familiar but still different. I would again steal Chris’ line (both smiling) that, the content that they are not intimidated by, they enjoy and understand and subjects that they wouldn’t be able to watch in any other forms so they will be given a chance to. But, they would be told in a style more of an edge which they haven’t seen on regular television.
Can you address us how has the style of storytelling changed over the years whether be it Hollywood or Bollywood?
CHRISTOPHER BRANCATO – In United States, it’s slightly more. Perhaps the system here now which is you have movies and TV that is aimed at the possible audience. In United States, the movie which were real and small started falling off in favour of these big comic movies. The films which were costing a lot on making were the ones which ended up making more business globally. The edgier stories took the digital space and so we got these great stories. And now everybody recognizes that there is this golden age of television that we are in. I started off writing for movies and then television but in early 90’s it wasn’t really cool to do television, but now it’s cool to do TV and now lot of feature writers are coming into television in the US. We have 10 episode and 10 hours to follow characters and everyone doesn’t have to be hero and you can show real side of life.
SIDDHARTH ROY KAPUR – Well we all know traditional Hindi formula has been a bit of everything. This genre hasn’t gone away; we still enjoy masala films but at the same time there is this new cinema which is genre specific which are also about the real issues which we are facing and we haven’t touched those subjects and now we are doing it. In television the content caters to a broad audience and we had really interesting experiments 30 years back I think on Sunday morning television we used to watch wider range of different sort of content and when it turned competitive it turned much more on broader base. I feel there’s interesting time right now where there is opportunity to take some of that content we were doing in movies and bring to digital space with few changes.
Do you feel that now digital platform is blooming compared to film and television?
SIDDHARTH ROY KAPUR – It is a great time for content creators, the more the platform, the more opportunities. We need to give out content which is well tailored and that’s the process we are in right now. It also gives you more of broader liberty in comparison to cinema to show few things as cinema goes through a lot of certification. But at the same time we need to be careful and sensible in making stuff because we don’t want to draw any limitations in this space.
CHRISTOPHER BRANCATO – I feel the same, we can create content in different time zones. It’s a great time for television viewers and I remember my childhood days there were great shows on TV but less choices. Everybody at the end of every episode always has happy ending and they used to be hero and I like more of darker stuff. In Netflix there’s no commercial like daily soaps where you know you are writing for the viewers after the commercial break.
What future you see for your production Roy Kapur films?
SIDDHARTH ROY KAPUR – We just want to focus on making great content and everything else follows from there. And now we are focused on making original content for Jio.