The trend — the original Telugu web series produced by major digital players, is slowly gaining momentum. Series such as Gangsters in Amazon Prime was amongst the first to catch on the emerging trend, Zee5 gradually picked up, and leading the race currently in terms of Telugu originals.
Zee5-produced web series like Gods of Dharmapuri, a fictional political drama in the backdrop of Rayalaseema, which was released in October 2019 received a good response. And the platform is well ahead in the race with its latest — Chadarangam, and Losers which is scheduled to release in April.
Chadarangam, a new web series premiering from February 20, is a political game of power with senior actor Meka Srikanth in the lead role. The nine-episode series is how Gangadhar, an actor-turned politician, who storms the political arena to become Chief Minister of the State after floating a new political party.
The story is a leaf taken out of the life of a former Chief Minister of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh who was also a matinee idol. Taking an incident out of his life just before his foray into politics and giving it a contemporary touch, Chadarangam was bankrolled by actor Manchu Vishnu and directed by Raj Ananth.
With the theme — ‘there are no accidents in politics, only orchestrated plans”, the story revolves around the events that led to the formation of a political party by the key character, a celebrated superstar.
Any viewer with knowledge of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh politics can easily relate with the characters and understand whom the scenes are referring to. Even producer Vishnu acknowledge the fact that the main theme and the characters of the web series are taken from real life.
Vishnu says that before starting this series, he took the advice of his father and veteran actor Mohan Babu and senior writer Paruchuri Gopala Krishna about the happenings of the period on which the narrative is based. “I like history and we took an interesting part of history and showed it in a different light,” Vishnu said. Gopala Krishna who also works for this political drama said that it was made based out of real incidents but with a contemporary touch.
Speaking on the growth and success of web series, Vishnu says, “This is the future. Whoever turns blind eye to digital, will lose out in the race,” He adds that just like there was some resistance when cinema moved from silent cinema to musical and mono sound to DTS, it is a transitional phase, and actor Srikanth got convinced to make his debut in the digital world after understanding these aspects.
Noted actor Nagineedu, who plays an important role in Chadarangam, too, echoes the same view. “Web series has become an extension of cinema, especially as relaxation during late working hours, as the audience can watch it episode by episode, unlike movies.” Chadarangam is edited by senior editor Marthand K Venkatesh and actor Chalapathi Rao plays an interesting role.