Reeling in Happiness: Growing popularity of lighthearted & positive content in times of Covid pandemic

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The occurrence  of Masaba Masaba points to a telling inclination   erstwhile   it comes to onscreen entertainment, that of the increasing  popularity of lighthearted and affirmative  content. And it's casual  to spot    why.The occurrence of Masaba Masaba points to a telling inclination erstwhile it comes to onscreen entertainment, that of the increasing popularity of lighthearted and affirmative content. And it's casual to spot why.

Before releasing her web bid Masaba Masaba successful August past year, writer and manager Sonam Nair felt precise unsure. The lighthearted Netflix bid connected the real-life mom-daughter duo of Neena Gupta and Masaba Gupta had some of them playing themselves. “I was sceptical astir releasing specified a rubric past twelvemonth since everything astir america was crumbling… I asked myself whether radical would similar to ticker specified airy entertainment, exploring the problems of Masaba and her manner shows… oregon would they similar to devour movies similar Contagion arsenic it is an existent reflector to what’s happening astir us. But the other happened arsenic radical got hooked connected to airy viewing,” says Nair, who is known for films similar Wake Up Sid, Gippi, etc. She is present acceptable to merchandise the 2nd play of Masaba Masaba soon.

The occurrence of Masaba Masaba points to a telling inclination erstwhile it comes to onscreen entertainment, that of the increasing popularity of lighthearted and affirmative content. And it’s casual to spot why. Thanks to the pandemic and the consequent lockdowns, the past twelvemonth has been pugnacious for many. Most of america person been cooped wrong homes, turning to shows and movies arsenic the lone root of amusement to capable the agelong hours of isolation. A tendency to flight from the world has made galore of america devour feel-good content, deriving joyousness and contentment done it. Be it mushy romances, household dramas oregon classical comedies, these shows and films person been the cleanable conveyance to flight the harsh world astir us.

“The pandemic has unilaterally resulted successful higher contented depletion crossed TV, OTT and mobiles… the maturation has been genre-agnostic. Happy stories, arsenic good arsenic edgier contented has been consumed vigorously,” says Mumbai-based Sunir Khetarpal, a shaper astatine Athena, a contented improvement and accumulation company. “Once upon a time, they utilized to accidental astir multiplexes and buying malls that ‘you physique them and consumers volition come’. Similarly, during the pandemic, the mantra has been ‘you nutrient contented and enactment it connected the optimal platform, it volition garner viewership’. Obviously, the underlying parameter being that contented needs to beryllium good, clutter-breaking, differentiated and truthful on. Even large stars are not indispensable,” adds Khetarpal. Athena is producing the Anurag Kashyap-directed and Taapsee Pannu-starring Do Baaraa (2:12), arsenic good arsenic the Amit Sharma-directed Hindi adaptation of The Intern, which stars Amitabh Bachchan and Deepika Padukone.

Movie-makers contiguous are keeping the happiness origin apical of mind. “Slice-of-life, happy, feel-good,” says Tanuj Garg, managing spouse of movie institution Ellipsis Entertainment, which co-produced Neerja, Why Cheat India, Tumhari Sulu and is presently co-producing the Indian adaptation of the 1998 German thriller Run Lola Run—titled Looop Lapeta, the comic thriller volition prima Taapsee Pannu and Tahir Raj Bhasin. “Our endeavour has been to marque clutter-breaking contented and springiness immoderate caller endowment to the industry. We are waking up to the powerfulness of casting caller faces and this experimentation has worked for us,” says Garg, who formed Manav Kaul with Vidya Balan successful Tumhari Sulu.

Feel-good rules

For many, nutrient is an important binding origin successful relationships. The 2021 Telugu romantic-comedy movie Ninnila Ninnila, too, shows emotion blooming implicit nutrient betwixt Dev, an overweight chef, and his co-worker Tara. Dubbed successful Hindi, the Ani Sasi-directed feel-good movie is disposable for on-demand streaming connected ZEE5.

Reality and intrigue person ever been large onscreen, but blessed contented is simply a necessity now. “People are bushed of being scared, home-bound and restricted. So bully stories, blessed endings, laughter and, astir importantly, prime contented is valued. Happy stories get the astir emotion present erstwhile radical crave togetherness, quality interaction and escaped aerial to breathe,” says Mumbai-based Gautam Chaturvedi, director, Pine Tree Pictures, a movie accumulation company, which has produced astir 500 documentaries, firm and grooming films for nationalist and backstage enterprises. Talking astir however helium spent the lockdown with family, helium says, “We watched a movie unneurotic astir each day. We had ne'er done that before, but enjoyed that togetherness, particularly arsenic we tried to take joyful films that would support our minds distant from the regular quality of illness and death.”

When it comes to OTTs, the new-found popularity of its contented has opened immense maturation and concern opportunities. Netflix, which has implicit 204 cardinal members worldwide, announced that it volition put Rs 3,000 crore connected contented successful India. “The twelvemonth 2020 was hard… a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings. But 1 of the things that got america done were the stories we enjoyed—alone and unneurotic with our families and friends,” says Monika Shergill, VP, content, Netflix India, adding that content—like the fashionable thriller Raat Akeli Hai and drama movie Ludo—has raised the bar. “Romances similar Love Aaj Kal, Ginny Weds Sunny and Mismatched were astir popular… successful 2020, the viewing for romanticist stories connected Netflix successful India accrued by astir 250%,” shares Shergill.

As per a 2020 Nielsen report, the emergence successful the fig of radical staying astatine location could pb to an astir 60% summation successful the magnitude of contented they consume. Additionally, ‘TV Universe Estimates 2020’, released by Broadcast Audience Research Council India (BARC)—a associated manufacture assemblage that represents broadcasters, advertisers and advertising, and media agencies—reported that 210 cardinal Indian households present ain TV sets, an summation of 6.9% from 197 cardinal successful 2018. Simultaneously, TV-viewing individuals besides witnessed an summation of 6.7%, reaching 892 cardinal from 836 cardinal successful 2018—an summation of 56 cardinal individuals successful 2020. “We person been capable to ascertain that TV continues to beryllium the surface of prime for Indians. With an further 13 cardinal TV households and an accidental for different 90 cardinal households that are yet to ain a TV set, India’s broadcast ecosystem continues to person a important imaginable for maturation successful years to come,” says Sunil Lulla, main enforcement officer, BARC India.

Thanks to TV viewership increasing, Zee Entertainment saw important maturation past twelvemonth during the lockdown. The TV viewership of Zee English clump of channels grew by 75% during the lockdown, arsenic per Kartik Mahadev, concern head, premium channels, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL). “Given the discourse of the lockdown, the assemblage finds contented connected tv compelling and comforting. English amusement (movies positive wide amusement channels) connected TV caters to 218 million-plus viewers (as per BARC). The lockdown showed america that viewers take to ticker tv for the curated contented acquisition it provides, making TV a large assemblage acquisition for household and friends. Consumers privation to determination beyond passive viewing and look for means to lend and explicit themselves. This is wherever TV tin play the relation of an enabler arsenic the largeness of the mean and mainstream scope tin mobilise participation,” adds Mahadev. Zee Café offered unsocial interactive acquisition with world shows specified arsenic Dance With Me and Chef Vs Fridge, a fashionable competitory cooking show.

Viewers are progressively looking astatine discovering prime contented with self-curation being the trend. Zee-owned &PrivéHD has a peculiar curation of overseas connection movies to assistance viewers research a caller satellite of differentiated content. “Cinema lovers, who travel crossed overseas films done word-of-mouth, but don’t find capable proviso oregon a wide destination, tin spot overseas films successful the Privé World Box Office,” says Mahadev.

Fragmentation of contented volition summation erstwhile theatres marque a comeback gradually, feels Khetarpal. “Content depletion is simply a derivative of respective variables, which proceed to beryllium dynamic… There volition beryllium contented specifically designed for OTT platforms and TV. Every movie volition not find an assemblage successful cinemas. Viewership inertia developed betwixt 2020 and 2021 shall guarantee that determination volition beryllium capable assemblage wanting to illustration contented astatine homes oregon connected the determination and this benignant of contented volition not beryllium designed oregon made with an volition of theatrical exploitation,” helium says.

Comedy is king

Be it films, shows oregon standup, drama is an evergreen genre and has ever recovered takers. Take, for instance, the all-time favourite award-winning bid Modern Family, which ran connected TV from 2009 to 2020. As of August past year, the amusement had won 22 of its 81 Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series for 5 years successful a row. Then determination is The Simpsons, which premiered successful 1989 and is 1 of the longest-running sitcoms connected television. It has won 34 Emmys retired of 78 nominations till date. The latest TV sitcom to regularisation airwaves is Schitt’s Creek, which won the Golden Globe this twelvemonth for champion TV drama bid due to the fact that of its sharp-witted writing. The Canadian amusement has gained immense popularity connected Netflix for its wholehearted drama and characters. The 78th Golden Globe Awards this twelvemonth besides saw mockumentary Borat Subsequent Moviefilm winning champion question representation (comedy oregon musical).

Comedy is simply a beardown penchant among young viewers today, says Vijay Subramaniam, manager and contented head, Amazon Prime Video. “During the clip erstwhile unfastened mics were opening to hap crossed the country, we picked up this genre to physique a precise beardown drama portfolio, starting with 14 drama specials successful 2017, which did precise good for us, adding galore much Amazon Funnies by the champion Indian comedians on the way. Today, we diagnostic adjacent to 50 exclusive standup drama specials with much to come,” adds Subramaniam. One of their originals is the standup bid Comicstaan, which is aimed astatine uncovering caller voices successful comedy. Between 2 seasons of the bid (2018-20), Prime Video has launched and promoted 26 caller comedians. Their comic offerings person expanded with Jestination Unknown and One Mic Stand, successful which celebrities tried their manus astatine standup.

Another of their bid that is uncovering large flavour with viewers is Chacha Vidhayak Hain Humare, whose 2nd play was launched this year. The relatable drama stars comedian Zakir Khan, who plays Ronny Pathak, a antheral who leads a treble life. “I person picked up nuances and quirks from radical I’ve met successful existent beingness to make characters successful the show. In today’s stressful times, erstwhile audiences are spending a batch much clip astatine home, they invited contented which is airy and tin beryllium enjoyed astatine each times. The satellite needs to perceive much stories of the communal man, and this amusement has been created keeping this thought successful mind,” explains Khan.

Going ahead, determination is simply a barrage of lighthearted shows and films connected antithetic platforms lined up for the adjacent fewer months. Netflix’s aboriginal lineup includes Comedy Premium League Kapil Sharma Special, sports drama Jaadugar, acheronian comical pulpy thriller Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhein, Decoupled successful which a mates denote their divorcement with a party, among others. Amazon Prime, too, released Coming 2 America this year, a sequel to the 1980s’ drama classic, which reunites Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall.

Slice of life

Besides lighthearted and comic content, real-life dramas and content-driven shows and movies connected societal issues person besides garnered spectator interest. In 2020, Bollywood saw commercialized successes similar Imitiaz Ali’s Love Aaj Kal, Angrezi Medium, Gulabo Sitabo, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan and biopics similar Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl. Forthcoming titles see 83, Jersey, Toofan, Laal Singh Chadda, etc.

Great contented and caller ideas thrust the assortment of amusement options, feels Yogendra Mogre, co-producer of films specified arsenic Bharat and Ek Tha Tiger. In the past 2 years, audiences person been hooked to content-driven films, helium says. “Uri and Badhaai Ho were existent films that 1 could subordinate to… a movie similar War excessively is apt for the cinematic experience. OTT is much astir quality play and thrillers,” says Mogre, who is present co-producing Netflix’s world docu bid House of Secrets: The Burari Deaths.

On Sony LIV, concern play bid Scam 1992 explores antithetic stories with aggregate characters and relationships, presenting a fiscal thriller based astir the beingness of Harshad Mehta. “It was a premix of 3 genres,” says Samir Nair, CEO, Applause Entertainment, which created Scam 1992. “Stories that films and TV ne'er allowed are connected OTT,” adhd Nair. Applause Entertainment has besides created shows similar Criminal Justice, Hostages and The Office connected Hotstar; Mind the Malhotras connected Amazon Prime Video; Hello Mini connected MX Player; and the archetypal Tamil archetypal Iru Dhuruvam connected Sony LIV.

Stories inspired by real-life incidents are ever successful demand, particularly successful the on-demand video format. “Recently, thrillers and action/drama content, arsenic good arsenic real-life/inspiring stories person performed well—the Abhay 2 bid starring Kunal Kemmu, Jeet Ki Zid bid starring Amit Sadh, the movie Kaagaz featuring Pankaj Tripathi, Silence… Can You Hear It? starring Manoj Bajpayee,” says Manish Kalra, main concern officer, ZEE5 India. “Consumers person keen involvement successful watching intriguing content, particularly erstwhile coupled with large storytelling and performances. In immoderate cases, acquainted faces assistance successful catching the attraction of the spectator and play a relation successful their last determination to ticker oregon not.” ZEE5 successful the past has offered thrillers similar Raat Baaki Hai (starring Anuup Sonii and Rahul Dev), acheronian drama bid Sunflower with Sunil Grover, etc. Actor Akshaye Khanna, too, volition marque his integer debut with the movie State of Siege: Temple Attack this month.

Home-grown OTT level Ullu, too, has seen request among consumers for contented based connected high-profile cases. “Films and bid similar Paper, Peshawar, Assi Nabbe Poore Sau were inspired by real-life incidents. Paper was inspired by the beingness of a stamp insubstantial scam kingpin, and Peshawar and Assi Nabbe Poore Sau were inspired by incidents successful Pakistan,” says Mumbai-based Vibhu Agarwal, CEO and founder, Ullu App, which has achieved a maturation of 220% since past year. The app launched a 2.0 mentation with improved in-app acquisition successful May this twelvemonth too introducing a ‘Rent-A-Movie’ conception which is based connected the pay-per-click-per-view model.

Going ahead, audiences volition privation to ticker experimental content, feels writer and manager Nair. “Light and escapist contented volition decidedly beryllium preferred similar past year, but capable of it has been consumed successful the past fewer months, truthful a spot much experimental (content) could beryllium the penchant this time. Masaba Masaba aims to amusement the changing portrayal of women characters successful the industry… the request for specified shows with self-reliant pistillate protagonists is simply a must,” she says.

Consumers person keen involvement successful watching intriguing content, particularly erstwhile coupled with large storytelling and performances

— Manish Kalra, main concern officer, ZEE5 India

The twelvemonth 2020 was hard, but 1 of the things that got america done were the stories we enjoyed… the viewing of romanticist stories connected Netflix successful India accrued by astir 250%

— Monika Shergill, VP, content, Netflix India

The pandemic has unilaterally resulted successful higher contented consumption… Happy stories, arsenic good arsenic edgier contented has been consumed vigorously

—Sunir Khetarpal, producer, Athena, contented improvement and accumulation company

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