For a viewer I have been a major endorser of the Indian web series, I’ve always loved how they’ve managed to create off beat content for the youth in short episodes. Early series such as Pitchers, Baked, Permanent Rommates, Bang Baaja Baarat have been among my top favourites.
Apart from creating a niche for itself, brand integration in web series has always been applauded. In Permanent Roommates, season 2, the makers went on to establish an entire character around the brand on board: Ola as Shabnam. But the bygone year witnessed web series doubling up at the rate of Facebook updates.
And thereby with the advent of newer web series began the infiltration of content that went from niche to mass appeal followed by brand integrations that were forced and filmsy.
The Indian web series sector saw a new audience with Timeliner’s Aam Aadmi Family featuring the chronicles of an Indian middle class family. A series that kept free from language or portrayal of anything that one would be embarrassed to watch with their family. Thanks to Smart TVs, the audience was glad to have discovered a series they could watch together as a family. It is safe to say that with Aaam Aadmi Family, slapstick comedy made a comeback in our lives.
Viacom 18’s Voot app also had its share of original series. One of the popular series, Shaadi Boys, a satirical take on Indian weddings captured the audiences’ attention for the initial episodes but eventually received the ‘C’ rating- cliché.
With bigger brand names come elaborate sets, familiar faces than new talent but not essentially web impressive content.
Bindass, a popular youth entertainment channel received acclaim for its web series Girl in the city, however its latest web offering The Trip featuring popular faces such as Lisa Haydon, Mallika Dua, Sapna Pabbi and Shweta Tripathi sharing a bachelorette road trip from Delhi to Thailand has been tagged as Zindagi Na Milegi Doobara’s rip-off on several occasions.
Against the nature of web series, The Trip’s characters seem unreal (rather stereotypical) and perhaps even fail to strike a chord with the viewers.
Other than the sluggish script, on a personal level it was their brand integration game that was a major letdown. In one particular scene, Shonali (played by Lisa Haydon) asks her boyfriend, “Can you please pass me those Whispers from behind?” Seemingly, karna padta hai, brand integration.
Sony Liv’s Married Woman Diaries reflecting a contemporary married woman’s first world problems followed the same suite as Shaadi Boys, seemingly offbeat at first but a classic case of old wine, new bottle.
The recent addition to the line up of Indian web series is Vikram Bhatt’s home-grown version of 50 shades of Grey, Maaya. The trailer received flak for its stereotypical narration and run-of-the-mill plot outline.
The makers have clarified that this is not an adaptation of 50 Shades but set on a similar premise which is BDSM. Now that the two episodes are out, I seem to agree with that, because TBH 50 Shades may have received its share of criticism, but it managed to create the right of kind of buzz and introduced the Indian audience to erotic fiction in the easiest possible way. As for the 73876964 issues I have with the series Maaya, the two episodes so far have helped me respect good content .
P.S: Are you an avid web series viewer like me? Let me know what do you think of this wind of change in the comments section below :)Until next time, #StayCurious 🙂