Hyderabad: The second edition of Indiajoy 2019 the biggest gaming, media, and entertainment festival in India, kicked off on Wednesday in Hyderabad. The event witnessed 30,000 visitors ranging from college students to industry experts to film personalities to government representatives. The first-day of the 4-day event saw discussions and collaborations around over-the-top (OTT) space and VFX industry.
Telangana IT and Industries Minister K T Rama Rao inaugurated the event along with IT department principal secretary Jayesh Ranjan, Telangana VFX, Animation and Gaming Association (TVAGA) president Rajiv Chilaka, Indian film producer and distributor Allu Aravind and Amazon Prime Video, director and head content Vijay Subramaniam.
Speaking at the inaugural, Aravind said that although he has 30 plus years of experience in the film industry, the OTT is a new medium and he is still learning. “There is a lot of ambiguity about if digital medium will steal cinema away. But, I would like to say although 85 per cent of today’s viewing is happening via mobile, the cinema, OTT and TV will co-exist in India,” he said adding that Hyderabad is going to be pandal where a marriage between content and technology will happen and the Minister will be the priest for this successful marriage.
The event is supported by the Government of Telangana and it has lined up nine power-packed world-class events that include IGDC (India Game Developer Conference), Desi Toons, VFX Summit, InfluencerCon, Investor-Publisher Connect, E-Sports, OTT Pulse and the Indiajoy Music Fest.
Soon after the inaugural, OTT Pulse and VFX Summit started with leading digital platforms experts taking the stage with multiple panels and keynotes. Some of the interesting panels at OTT Pulse, were about the Rise of Regional Content On OTT, Creative writing for OTT, Storytelling for New Age Media, where popular film directors — Mallik Ram, Anish Kuruvilla, Tharun Bhascker Dhaassyam, Nandini Reddy and David Freeman participated. The audience were enthralled and star-struck by seeing all these film personalities under one roof.
At the VFX Summit some of the interesting sessions like State of the Art 2019 & Roadmap 2020 – 2023 by Biren Ghose, 38 years of Digital. VFX & How We Got to Where We are Now – Tim’s Historical Perspective, Tim McGovern and Green Gold presentation of Kungfu Dhamaka VFX Binayakdas & Kaizer Mandal.
Only strong content will survive, says ‘The Family Man’ makers
Hyderabad: There is a lot happening in the digital world with many trying their hand at content in the form of web series, however, only strong content and strong platforms will survive in the future, say Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK, directors of immensely popular Amazon Prime web series ‘The Family Man’.
Speaking at Indiajoy, the international digital entertainment festival being held at HICC here, the duo said various OTT platforms available today were giving a lot of scope to creativity. Unlike cinema, where the narration has to be done in two to three hours, a web series allows the director to explain the plot in detail through various episodes. Moreover, web series tell stories naturally and in a realistic way.
“There will be audience for both cinemas and web series. However, the space left by cinemas will be filled by web series. While making movies, we keep box office openings and fan following aspects in mind and direct it, which restricts the content to some extent. In the case of web series, you can explore the plot as much as you can,” said Krishna.
The directors said ‘The Family Man’ was very well received by the audience, with the response encouraging them to prepare for the next season with much better content.
Regional language to be next big thing in OTT space
Hyderabad: Regional language is going to become the next big thing in the Over The Top (OTT) entertainment space in India. Web series like Gods of Dharmapuri (GoD) on Amazon Prime Video, B Tech on Zee5 or The Grill on Viu app are proof of the growing popularity of regional content on national OTT platforms. And according to filmmakers, this space provides them a chance to experiment.
Speaking at Indiajoy 2019, Pelli Choopulu fame and national award winner Tharun Bhascker Dhaassyam said: “The OTT space definitely allows us to experiment and brings out the honest story-telling character of a director and writer.”
Supporting his view, Awe film director Prashanth Varma mentioned that OTT does not have a set target audience and this gives an opportunity to upcoming directors to try new things and pull off scripts which they normally would not do in mainstream cinema. However, the directors also cautioned that not everything is rosy in the OTT space and it is important to have good writers and casting directors in order to raise the bar.
“Writing for OTT is different from writing for a movie, and it is important to keep asking what audience will take back from a said episode. The feedback from fans for a particular season will give a lead for the story for the next season. However, going forward it is important to have a writing team or rooms to tackle the various arches and loops in the digital medium,” said Anish Kuruvilla, director, GoD.
On the question of censorship and regulation, Bhascker informed that there should not be any censorship in the OTT space and the choice should be left to the audience on what they want to watch and what they reject. “OTT should disrupt everything else and it should represent the truest form of democracy,” he said.
— Sruti Venugopal
‘OTT platforms given big push to woman-centric roles’
Hyderabad: Popular OTT platform ZEE5, which has been providing web content in various languages, is all set to release 20 originals in Telugu soon. Aparna Acharekar, Programming Head of ZEE5 said OTT platforms have given a big push to woman-centric roles and content related to them.
“ZEE5 is getting closer to the audience each day and has been able to register daily users of 8.9 million,” she said. Launched in India on February 14, 2018 with content in 12 languages, the ZEE5 mobile app is available on web, Android, iOS and smart TVs and is making all efforts to offer best quality and content through their web series, she said.
Prasad Nimmakayala, Creative Lead, ZEE5 (Telugu) said they had selected 20 scripts out of 300, which have best content. “Cinemas and web series are different to each other and have their own importance,” he said.
Students have a quality time
Hyderabad: The two-day VFX Summit, which is part of the Indiajoy 2019 conference being held at the HICC, is providing a perfect learning platform for students of animation, VFX and CGI. Students of various colleges and institutes from Hyderabad got an invaluable opportunity to meet the biggest names of the industry including Srinivas Mohan, Arpan Gaglani and Ronak Sanghadia.
Sessions explaining in detail the breakout of visual effects used in Kung Fu Dhamaaka, Shah Rukh Khan’s Zero, and Disney’s Lion King stood out attracting students and enthusiasts alike. Many students were also seen interacting with the industry experts, seeking tips from them. Suchit Mukherjee, the Visual Effects supervisor for Mission Mangal will be one of the speakers on day two of VFX Summit.
Enthusiasts throng stalls
Hyderabad: The halls of HICC were thronged by gaming enthusiasts, as international developers and institutes set up their respective stalls. Photography, Cinematography and Visual Effects students and enthusiasts also had a lot on cards with many stores from Hyderabad and other cities setting up stalls exhibiting the equipment used in their respective fields.
Hyderabad-based and international Institutes offering courses in various aspects of digital entertainment and filmmaking also made their presence felt with their own stall, which attracted all.