Can Netflix Save Indian Television?
Can Netflix Save Indian Television?

Many young artists are pinning their hopes on Netflix to revitalize Indian TV. But are their hopes justified?

Working with Netflix by Suzanne Dias

Working with Netflix by Suzanne Dias

It all started with a Facebook post.

“I was trying to take up freelancing,” said Varun Gwalani, a 24-year-old Mumbai-based author who had just published his second novel. “I posted [asking] about [work] opportunities.”A friend saw Gwalani’s request and tagged him in a different post from an employee at Pocket Aces, a production house that had sold a series to Netflix, and was looking for new pitches.

This was a big deal — since Netflix launched in India in 2016, only a few producers had sold the company original content and Pocket Aces was one of them. Gwalani messaged her at once. “I promise you,” he wrote, pitching his novel so fast that he left typos. “The First Storyteller can be groundbreaking.” She seemed genuinely interested.

Among the young “strugglers” of Mumbai’s film and TV world, Netflix is a name spoken like a prayer. “We might work with Netflix,” a 17-year-old girl tells me with a reverential smile at a party in Bandra. The streaming company may be hot everywhere, but in India, the stakes are higher. Here, Netflix serves as an answer to a TV industry that is both thriving and stifling, weighed down by Hindi telenovelas and censorship. An entire generation has responded with a mass boycott: “The minute there were mobile phones with a 3G connection, we stopped watching TV,” said TV writer Sweta Dingwaney.

Netflix is the antidote to Ekta Kapoor — the “Content Czarina” of Indian TV and a symbol of everything wrong with the television industry. Famous for inventing the Hindi soap formula, she h

Get access to this article and many more at The Juggernaut. No ads, no clickbait — just smart writing.

logo

The Juggernaut tells untold, smart South Asian stories and news you won't find anywhere else.

The Weekly

It’s like your other email briefings. But browner. Join thousands and get the best newsletter that curates the global news on South Asia(ns) every Sunday. We also send updates on events, giveaways, our original reporting, and more. Unsubscribe anytime.

Categories

Business & TechCrosswordCultureEditor's PicksFictionFilm & TVFoodOpinionPoliticsSports
© 2021 THE JUGGERNAUT® ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Privacy PolicyTerms of Use