SVF, Eastern India’s largest entertainment company, launched its much awaited regional over-the-top (OTT) platform.
With some of the biggest names in Hindi and Bengali film industry coming together for various web series, Hoichoi already is a success. We caught up with the brains behind this new OTT platform, Vishnu Mohta, for a brief one-on-one. Read on…
We had the chance to catch up with Vishnu Mohta, who is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of SVF for a brief tete-a-tete. Excerpts:
What was the idea behind coming up with an OTT platform like Hoichoi?
Many internet users in India come from areas beyond metros and regional language content is highly popular amongst them. That’s how we decided to diversify into digital content and came up with the idea of Hoichoi – a one-stop online destination for Bengali entertainment – to reach out to more than 250 million Bengali people across the globe.
The content of Hoichoi Originals looks very contemporary and experimental for the OTT platform. How did you conceptualize such a diverse content portfolio?
We wanted to build Hoichoi as the ultimate destination for Bengali entertainment worldwide, so we decided to come up with something for every Bengali – young or old, movie buff or music lover, student or working professional – and create exclusive content for the platform..
What are your upcoming plans for Hoichoi?
In the first year, Hoichoi will create 50 hours of original content, and by the fifth year, our objective is to produce more than 1000 hours of content. We plan to invest substantially to make some of the best and freshest premium content available on Hoichoi, to cater to Bengalis in India and globally.
What has the response of consumers been to the Hoichoi app and the content so far?
We have also received a lot of appreciation on the Hoichoi Originals released so far. One of our subscribers told us that while he had watched many films and television series that had been made on Sharadindu Bandopadhyay’s immortal creation, Byomkesh, but the Hoichoi Original – Byomkesh clearly stood out as one of his favourites. And that’s the beauty of a digital content platform and the interest – it allows for instant and direct, one-to-one feedback, and it is such feedback and viewership trends that will be very distinct beacons for us as we shape and evolve our content on an ongoing basis.
Finally, tell us about some of the shows on Hoichoi
Byomkesh, which is one of the most celebrated Bengali fictional detective characters created by Saradindu Bandopadhyay. Byomkesh slips into a much more hands-on avatar in the web series.. Set in 1930s, the series is based on the adventures of Byomkesh and his friend and biographer Ajit, who usually accompanies the former during his investigations.
Then we have Hello. The thriller stars Raima Sen as Nandita and Joy Sengupta as Ananyo, a happily married couple with two kids. Soon after Ananyo starts having an extra-marital affair with Nina played by Priyanka Sarkar, Nandita’s phone is flooded with numerous MMS-es from an unknown number recording Ananyo’s private moments outside marriage. Nandita becomes obsessed with the curiosity and the mystery grows darker when she begins to find hidden messages in every video.
Then we have Cartoon, which is a horror show starring Paayel Sarkar as Jiniya and Mainak Banerjee as Aritra, the cartoonist. When Aritra shifts to a new flat he soon realizes that there is something eerie about the house after he meets with some paranormal experiences. As the story progresses, he realizes that it’s not him but the cartoons he has drawn that are bothering the spirit residing in his flat.
Then there is Dupur Thakurpo, directed by Debaloy Bhattacharya and starring superstar Swastika Mukherjee as Uma Boudi. It is an adult comedy where Jibon Babu played by Abhijit Guha, brings home a beautiful, young and vivacious bride, Uma. However, he is blissfully oblivious of the trouble likely to brew when he agrees to let out three rooms to six young men on Uma’s insistence. Some not-so-appropriate things start happening. Five of the men are completely enamored by Uma Boudi’s charms, ready to lay down their lives for a smile or a glance from her, while she plays around with them like a fiddle.
Also, there is Holy Faak. It is the dramatic story of how a girl’s grandmother (Ratna Ghoshal) and a boy’s grandfather (Paran Bandhapadhyay) plot to bring back their estranged grandchildren together. The Original Web Series stars Anamika Chakraborty as the girl, Diya and Soumya Mukherji as the boy, Indra, respectively.
Finally, Bouma Detective is a captivating mystery – where a wife dons the hat of a sleuth and is on a mission to save her superstar husband, prime suspect in a murder case, by finding the actual murderer. The impressive cast includes Rohit Roy as Ronojoy and Aparajita Auddy as Rohini.