Tracy Dsouza, the front-runner of Girlyapa on TVF shares her experience bringing to the screen one of India’s largest women centric entertainment channel to the world. We also ask her about Girlyapa’s future.
How did the Channel begin?
We understood that nobody was doing content for women. We realized that half the population are women, so why isn’t anybody doing something on women? That was the initial thought. I then got on board the writers and got to work. All the stories are female centric.
Are the scripts inspired from real life?
Most of the scripts are inspired by real life events. All of us experience something or the other that are stories that can be shared Like ‘ Why should Hot Girls’, which Shruti Madan had written comes from her personal experience. Then there’s ‘Mom, I’m not a virgin’, that also comes from Vaishnavi Prabhu’s experience. There are times when we might not experience something personally but still want to do a video around it like Maa Ke haath main steering which was written by Shreyasi Sharma.
How is the shooting experience?
It’s a very lively set and yes there is sometimes madness but there is also a method to the madness. The scripts are intended to be funny and relatable; the audience should enjoy it. But it is also the actors who matter a lot like we have Srishti Srivastava or Mallika Dua who add their own value to the script. When we have actors who believe in your vision then the shooting experience can be even more fun and will show up on screen.
Will we see a consistent script with Mallika Dua and Shristhi?
I think Mallika and Srishti both add a lot of value and spunk to the script by their own improvisation. When the first video did very well and infact is one of our most viral hits. We realized that we could create different scenarios repeating these two characters. The second episode we did was ‘Abki Baar HR’, which has a lot of relatable insights that we experience on a day to day basis with the HR. We have the third episode planned, which will release in September.
Do you think the show is a shock to television viewers?
The millennials or the Internet generation who watch our shows don’t spend time on television. Television has very negligible shows for a female audience. Even if there’s a show that tells a woman’s story, it’s written by a guy – so that is his version of a woman’s life experience. Or the idea of a progressive story has a female protagonist who will abuse or dress bold and is seen as someone who has no morals. It might come across as a shock for such an audience who enjoy these shows but it isn’t something that is out of the world. It’s the most basic experience that has been talked about openly for a longtime. it is us girls telling our story and telling the world how we feel. People are so used to seeing the male perspective; this is the first time they are seeing something that presents the female perspective directly from us women. There are no suppressive filters in our scripts – it is very real. There might be times when the script might come across as slightly sensitive, we filter it out naturally. We don’t want the script to come out as abusive. But if we believe in something, we go ahead with it.
Any references or inspiration for your crew?
We do watch a lot of international shows and some of the writer /comediennes like Amy Schumer, Tina Fey. Etc. In India we don’t really have a reference point for female comedy and hence its important that we ourselves experiment and learn from it. I’m hoping that the examples we set will influence other female creators soon. If the women out there are doing it, why not us here.
Will we see Girlyapa content on other platforms?
We are just creating content right now. Our focus is on being good at what we do. We are open for new associations, but we will always be there on TVF Play.
Where do you see the streaming platforms in five years from now?
The technology and the audience is rapidly and dynamically evolving. Video has become a major part of the social media user experience in this digital era. The primary video consumption screen has moved from the traditional Television to Computers/tabs to Mobiles. Internet has also creeped to the Tier 2 and Tier 3 regions. The entire nation is getting connected digitally. With the digital initiatives and policies introduced by the Indian government, cheap data packs by Telecom providers and the rampant technology growth and adoption to smart phones/smart TVs/digital devices will result in an entire movement of video consumption mainly to streaming platforms. Live streaming will also become an inherent part of consumption.
And finally, do you think censorship will do any good for the streaming world?
I think any censorship will curtail and limit creativity. There’s been such a leap in digital – it wasn’t even existing three years back. It is growing so fast; I am sure people are thinking of censorship. But as content creators, we are already self-censoring.