Naveen Kasturia is a web series veteran. He was part of two of the first Indian web series, TVF Pitchers and Permanent Room Mates. As his new web series Social hits the streaming screens, we caught up with Naveen via mobile and asked his thoughts about mainstream and web entertainment.
The first thing that hits us when we speak to people from the streaming industry is the frank, unguarded responses that we get. People coming from a background of handling airs and massaging egos will be pleasantly surprised speaking to Naveen, or any other actors in the web zone
Here’s our transcript of the conversation we had with Naveen, even as he was jetsetting between Mumbai and Hyderabad.
I used to act when I was in college. In Mumbai, I thought about making my film and then act in them.. I assisted Dibakar Banerjee. A writer friend of mine came up with the idea that we make a film about two writers who are making a film. He felt that I could act also and always encouraged me. I finally acted in a film. It happened by chance.
When we made web series, there weren’t many Indian web series out there. I think TVF’s Pitchers and Permanent Roommates gave the much-needed credibility to the medium. The change that I see is that there are a lot of web shows now. Now, there’s TV, cinema and finally, web as an entertainment platform. It has become a different medium altogether. Also, there are several streaming channels – like Amazon, Netflix, Viu, etc. They don’t have to wait for 200 people to approve their script.
It’s not like I had 8 to 10 films in hand when I decided to act in a web show. I was excited because I was planning to do this for at least a year. We were planning to do the show in 2014. Making a film was more expensive, we couldn’t afford it. It wasn’t about taking a leap – it was a natural thing to do. I wasn’t hesitant about doing web shows.
It’s the same old rule. We need to make engaging stuff, whether on the web or on the big screen. If the content you see is engaging and moves you, it will work. If there is a fixed route, everything that we do would be a big success. We were lucky that our show got popular. We were trying to make a real and engaging show, we didn’t know that the show will reach that level.
At the core, it’s a drama. Of course, there are thriller aspects to it but I won’t term it as an out and out thriller. It is difficult to slot in a thriller category. We made a thriller but one requirement was that it should be believable.
The show is about a guy whose sister has gone missing and he is trying to find her. It’s his journey, he comes across these group of people who want to help in finding his sister. My character is of a good, simple, real guy. But he isn’t a very social person – he doesn’t have a big friends’ group. He is not comfortable dealing with a lot of people. He is a tech wizard who’s working with a security company in America.
The character is different, because the character’s journey is different. The script is different. I haven’t done anything drastically different from what I have done earlier. The character that you see will be different from some that you have seen me do.
It was wonderful. When we were shooting for the TVF show, we were just beginning it all. In Social, we were already working with people who had earlier made such stuff. The set up was professional. You don’t shoot for more than 12 hours every day.
I think it’s a great thing. Even for those who want to become popular, this medium is great. If things work out, you will be a hit instantly. I am happy that mainstream actors are attempting something like this.
If a star makes a web series, there will be an initial buzz. But if the content is not strong, people are not going to watch it. The audience has so many options on the Internet, people will just stop and move on to another video. This is the harsh reality of the Internet. The people are not going to care whether you are a star or not. Look at What the Folks. It has done well.
Rana is very different from his persona that you have seen on screen. Of course, his physique is huge and daunting, there’s nothing raw or intimidating in his speech or how he interacts with others. It was great working with him.
The conversation gave us insights into how the film industry works and more specifically, how the streaming entertainment industry is poised to go in the future. What do you think of his insights? Tell us in the comments section.