Bodhitree Multimedia, the creator of the recent original shows on Voot Select such asMarzi and Raikar Case is truly at the forefront of creating differentiated and edgy content through its distinct line-up shows.
The production house has produced more than 700 episodes of television and digital content till date. The shows have encompassed all genres – daily soap, romantic, dramas, horror, comedy, crime and lifestyle.
Medianews4u caught up with the founder creators of Bodhitree Multimedia, Sukesh Motwani, CCO & Director and Mautik Tolia, CEO & Director in a joint interview for a brief discussion on their journey and the way forward.
Tell us about Bodhi Tree and how was it formed?
Sukesh: Bodhitree was formed in June 2013 June. We both have had a history of being storytellers, content programmers and creative directors and what better way to put it all together than constituting a production house. Hence Bodhitree is the place where we tell our stories, experiment with scripting and even try visual grammar of different kinds of stories.
Mautik: Bodhi Tree was formed in 2013. Both me and Sukesh worked in very senior roles in ‘production and broadcasting’ in our respective careers while we were always storytellers at heart. We wanted to create our own platform to tell the stories that would resonate with audiences and that is exactly what led to founding the company.
What sort of content do you specialize in and across which mediums? What’s that one adjective that comes to the channel/OTT platform/clients’ mind when they speak of you?
Sukesh: That’s a very good and equally tough question because we have been able to straddle three mediums, those being, Hindi, general entertainment channels regional language channels and even digital/OTT.
Bodhitree looks at credible, nuanced and authentic storytelling when it comes to human relationship stories. We have been very specifically called to work in terms of three keywords in the past by channels that being, youth, Romance, thriller/horror and we have even stepped foot into light/comedies.
Mautik: We operate across three verticals – General entertainment Hindi content for the Hindi TV audiences, OTT web content for the various platforms and Regional content where we are producing shows in multiple languages. The one adjective is ‘Resonance’ – characters that resonate with the audiences and narratives that connect with them.
Which are some of your marquee shows that have really challenged you to stand up and deliver…. Shows that are very close to your heart?
Sukesh: Our most recent daily which is a beautiful tale of individuation of a young woman after a bad marriage, called ‘Naati Pinky Ki kilambi love story’ is told with humor and pathos both. Our recent web shows on Voot Select both ‘marzi’ and ‘Raikar Case’ have introduced certain new nuances and new angles to storytelling on Hindi web content.
Our first show ‘Nisha aur uske cousins’ was a one of its kind, special youth-oriented daily, set amidst first cousins and was driven by a very edgy female protagonist.
Big F on MTV, too has been a trendsetting anthology on exploring romantic fantasies of young women. ‘Aapke Aa Jaane se’ on zee tv last year , again broke a lot of taboos with its edgy ‘older woman – younger man’ love story set in a very Patriarchal, orthodox, middle – class setting.
Mautik: ‘Nisha aur use cousins’ will always be special because that was our first show. After that there have been many shows like, Yeh hai Aashiqui, The Big F, Fear Files, Aap ke Aa Jane se, Tedi medi family (which was the Indian adaptation of the US show, The MIDDLE) and of course now we haveMarzi and Raikar Case.
With ample production houses operating and creating all sorts of content how do you differentiate from the competition?
Sukhesh: The challenge is to explore new insights and explore characters with struggling moral ambiguities, emotional perceptions, and distortions and even go beyond the boundaries that limit the human psyche.Further more, the challenge for us as a company is to keep improving our skills in writing, execution and production.
Mautik: While competition is always going to challenge you, we realise that it is always best to stick to the basics. Create stand out engaging narratives, lace it with characters that audiences connect with and make
Tell us about some of the various challenges you face as a production house?
Mautik: The challenges are manifold. To have a continuous pipeline of content churning out, identifying and retaining the best talent and of course making sure the content we create is relevant to the audiences as tastes are fickle and everchanging.
Your recent release on Voot select ‘The Raikar Case’, a murder mystery has been well appreciated by the audience….how did the story, cast, and everything come in place?
Sukesh: Well the answer is to do with good collaboration and good teams that we work with in creatively setting up a show. We have a very passionate creative team working on our shows and the challenge is to also aspire to ‘impress’ upon key talents in the industry that we will bring the best on the table when it comes to creating a show.
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 pacy thriller with layered characters having complex moralities.
‘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. To get all the nuances of a woman accusing a man of sexual misconduct, and all the implications and a single financially independent woman’s allegations and personal challenges amidst middle-class moralities of this small town, was a fascinating storytelling exercise.
What are some of the key consumer trends that you make note off while creating a plot or story idea?
Sukesh: Can we engage viewers by our themes, our issues we raise in stories, and also more richer subtler layered depiction of human minds and hearts…?
The key honestly is about surprising the viewer constantly and yet giving him a sense of pace in the way we unravel a story.
What do you prefer original Indian stories or Indian remakes of international shows?
Sukesh: No preference honestly. We let the universe decide as we rummage through formats too and constantly work on our original ideas too.