In conversation with Gaurav Banerjee

Hotstar, one of India’s biggest OTT platforms, is pulling out all the stops to consolidate its hold over the digital market, with a slew of originals under its original and new VIP brands.

First off the cuff is a docudrama on the rise, fall and rise again of IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings, with special emphasis on the team and Men In Blue skipper, MS Dhoni, effectively titled Roar of The Lion. Since STAR also has the IPL broadcast rights, the network has smartly decided to release all the five episodes tomorrow (20th March) in conjunction with the latest version of the IPL, which starts from 23rd March.

Select media, including your favourite IWMBuzz, were invited for watching the first episode along with President, Hindi Entertainment Star India, Gaurav Banerjee, and series producer, Bollywood director Kabir Khan and writer, Kausar Munir. Gaurav announced that besides Roar of The Lion, Hotstar will be coming up with many more new series, including Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Criminal Justice and Nagesh Kukunoor’s political drama, City Of Dreams.

“STAR network is at the cusp of a big content revolution. Already, all our TV content first streams on Hotstar before beaming on your TV, and Roar of The Lion will now scale up on all levels of storytelling.” “When MS Dhoni first narrated his story to us on the entire 2013 spot-fixing scam, which saw CSK getting suspended from IPL for 2 years and then coming back to win the crown last year. It was really interesting. We could gauge the degree of passion he had for his team. Our series will focus on what happened to the team after controversy first broke out and how it affected the team and him. The redemptive journey of India’s biggest sporting icon could not get more real.”

Here Gaurav thanked Kabir and the writer for their commitment to high quality storytelling, their passion for cricket and their ability to craft a docudrama, something which is not very common in India.

Gaurav further added that the USP of digital is that it is not limited by duration. “We can tell stories that are one, two or even ten hours long; the aim is to have a proper start, middle and end. No wonder Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai (Star Plus), which has been going on for ten long years, has found great traction on Hotstar as well. On the other hand, we have limited series like Roar Of The Lion.”

“One other big take home is digital content, as opposed to family-dominated TV, is more tuned to personal viewing. We at Star, don’t regard ourselves only as a TV company; rather, we are storytellers, who use all mediums to get our well-made stories to the audiences. Digital is better in the sense that audiences have the luxury of consuming it at their convenience.”

“The challenge in all mediums is the same – to find a great story and character. We took our time to craft originals as we wanted them to be completely different from what you watch, say on Star Plus or Star Bharat. Having said that, we have had originals before, but not of this scale,” ended he.

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