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Only good content will survive on the web, says director Suparn Verma

The writer-director speaks about his web series Yo Ke Hua Bro, the reasons for venturing into the online space, and the music video he directed for Hansal Mehta's Simran.

Photo: YouTube screengrab

Keyur Seta

Actor, screenwriter and director Suparn Verma, who directed Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena (2005), Acid Factory (2009), Aatma (2013) and X: Past Is Present (2015), recently tried his hand at a web series with Yo Ke Hua Bro.

Verma spoke to Cinestaan.com about the reasons for venturing into the online space and also the music video he directed for Hansal Mehta's forthcoming film Simran.

According to Verma, Yo Ke Hua Bro, starring Aparshakti Khurana, Shamita Shetty, Gaurav Pandey and Ridhima Pandit, is a feminist take on the con drama genre. “There are two boys who get conned by two con women," he said. "It’s the reverse. Usually, you have the boys as the con men. It’s a feminist take on the misogyny that exists in Haryana. The title is such because it is set in Haryana and it denotes that there is trouble.”

Pictures: Rekha, Shilpa Shetty come out to support Shamita Shetty's web series

Ram Gopal Varma had recently said the major reason for trying the internet genre is to escape from censorship. But Verma believes this is just one of the reasons. “I wouldn’t say it is a big advantage," he said. "It’s one of the advantages. Yo Ke Hua Bro has a couple of abuses, but other than that it can be watched with a family. It’s not something you would be ashamed of watching with your father or mother. It’s not that just because it is web, you forcefully use words like fuck. But the web does give you a platform to give all kinds of content.”

Asked why he opted for a web series instead of a feature film, he said, “We live in an age where storytelling is not confined by the platform it’s on. You can make a film, TV show or web series. You can take it on any format you want. This gives you a wider platform. In other mediums, you have to look at the constraints. Also, in terms of the content, you can make it a bit more edgy, push it a bit more. You can make it in Hindi, English and Haryanvi. You think less about that and more about the aesthetics and content.” 

Web series are coming on in heaps these days. But this doesn’t worry Verma. “My reasoning is simple," he explained. "When television channels came up in India, we had 300 channels. Everybody was coming up with a TV channel. But only the best programming stuck out. Even here it’s a matter of choice. And this is much more democratic than TV. Here you see only what you want to see. If you don’t like something, you can go to something else. More content will come up in the next year. But, honestly, people with good content will last.”

The writer-director believes the lack of good content is seen in the number of big films that have not quite clicked at the box office this year. “The audience has always been inclined towards content and stars help and push it to a bigger market,” he said. “[But] the minute you try to reverse it, films start flopping.” 

Verma has also directed the much talked about song 'Single Rehne De’ from Hansal Mehta’s Simran featuring Kangana Ranaut. This wasn’t planned, he said. “Hansal and I go way back. I began my career writing for Hansal. He is a very dear friend. He is my mentor. I loved the song and suggested to do a music video. I gave him the concept, he liked it and said I should direct it. The idea was to make it an anthem for single women.”