Sukesh Motwani, Chief Content Officer and Director, Bodhi Tree Multimedia, producer of shows like Yeh Hai Aashiqui (Bindaas), Nisha Aur Uske Cousins (Star Plus), Big F (MTV), Aap Ke Aa Jane Se (Zee TV), Naati Pinky Ki Lambi Love Story (Colors) and Fear Files (Zee TV) among others are also producing shows for OTT networks.
They recently launched The Raikar Case and Marzi on Voot Select which were appreciated by critics and viewers alike. The stories kept audiences hooked, thanks to a thrilling plot and storyline.
In conversation with IWMBuzz.com, Sukesh spoke about the process of The Raikar Case and Marzi.
How the concepts of The Raikar Case and Marzi got weaved?
At Bodhi Tree, we look at credible, nuanced, and authentic storytelling when it comes to human relationships. We aim at exploring new insights and characters with ‘struggling’ moral ambiguities, and the greys in human behaviour and society. The concepts for these shows were designed keeping in mind the digital audience and their tastes.
For Raikar Case, almost two and a half years back, when we were brainstorming with the team at Voot, it was mutually decided to create a whodunnit that is set within a family highlighting a father-daughter relationship. And how the daughter was to discover some hidden secrets of her family that she would have never known. The idea was to discover the true faces of the people within a family.
And for Marzi, it is essentially an adaptation of a British show named ‘The Liar’. The plot revolves around the importance of consent with a psychological thriller element being key to the storyline. While it has been adapted from a British show, it has helped us to hone our methods, the science in adapting an international format. We realized we have a huge empowering social message too, to give to our viewers through the Indian adaptation.
How difficult was the casting for both the series?
Casting at large critically requires to take very good performers who get the morally ambiguous nuances of these character’s rights. For both of our shows, the casting was quite difficult, considering the fact that we wanted to rope in very good actors and we also wanted to take faces that have a certain value in the film, web and television space. So be it in Marzi with Rajeev (Khandelwal) and Aahana (Kumra) and other brilliant performers, or be it with some very unusual names for the web, like Atul Kulkarni, Ashwini Bhave or Neil Bhoopalam, it was again very interesting for us.
Which series took a long duration in conceptualizing?
In terms of time duration, Marzi took us about 8-9 months to write the whole show. Marzi was more about perfecting the science of how to get an Indian adaptation of a British show in small hill town and its society. The story /screenplays of Raikar, being a complex whodunnit with a large ensemble of characters with varied motivations, took many drafts and a year to get right because one wanted to create a pulsating twisted thriller with layered characters having complex moralities.
What kind of challenges did you face during the making process?
As a production house, the biggest challenge for us was to put a team together that will drive the execution well and this eclectic crew and a wonderful cast. We had a lot of good learnings and ended up having a good team for both these shows. In terms of production and execution at outdoor locations, we had our own challenges with Marzi being shot at extreme biting cold last year in the winters. Furthermore, the challenge for us always as a company is to keep improving our skills in writing, treatment, and production design.
What were your expectations?
A larger reach always gives a positive hope to the platform and us. What we look at is to always make sure that our stories reach out to our viewers. But the kind of viewer that is coming to the platform and whether the viewer would watch our show were some of the fascinating expectations from both the shows.
What is your success mantra in life?
For us, our success mantra is to really give the best value to our projects. When it comes to web properties, everybody is entering the web medium and trying to make a new point in storytelling. Our mantra to success lies in integrity, honesty, and innovation. We believe in innovating in our characterization and storylines and also the visual grammar in executing these shows.
We are trying to make the most of the situation and working our way around this pandemic and the lockdown. Unfortunately, while we have had to halt the shoot of two projects on floor we are now focusing our energy on pre-production research and development.
Any final message?
We believe in pushing ourselves to find unique ways to leverage the power of storytelling. While creating content which includes our passion and personal conviction, we are also trying to understand how to give our viewers a new thematic and visual experience in terms of stories.