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Rohan Sippy defines OTT as medium for exploring deeper layers of characters

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Rohan Sippy, who ventured into the digital space with his recent show ‘Aranyak’, is loving the medium for the liberties it gives to the creators and storytellers.

In his opinion, it allows the creators to delve into the deeper nuances of the story and the characters.

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In a recent conversation, the filmmaker-writer spoke about the germ of ‘Aranyak’, the liberating process of working in the medium of OTT, and his co-writer and frequent collaborator Charudatt Acharya.

Revealing how he conceived the idea for the show, he says, “One day, Charu (Charudatt) had an encounter with a cop from Himachal during his holidays. That’s where a little bit of the spark for the character came from. It was a very Indian character and wasn’t drawn from any western source. So, the idea started from there and then the element of crime came in slowly a bit afterwards like, ‘What if this kind of a cop was confronted with this kind of a crime and how would she go about it'”.

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He continues, “That was the first set of building blocks; Charu had broadly sketched out the story idea and we decided that the best thing to do was to write down the first episode. He wrote that pilot down and then the story started coming to life with the characters, then the voices of the characters, the interactions. Sometimes when you work on something, there is a very organic energy that keeps it moving; it’s not forced, but it feels good during the process.”

Talking about his creative partner, he says, “He is the primary writer and we act as a bouncing board who give some thoughts and inputs. My primary role is to protect Charudutt’s vision as much as possible as we go ahead. He is very interested in human nature and the cultures of our nation. Not just that, he is also a very curious and imaginative person as a writer and that is probably the best raw material he can have.”

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He adds, “Every time I meet him, he has at least 4 stories to tell; it might be about an auto rickshaw driver who gave him a ride to the place we meet or his fascination surrounding humanity or human characters. I think he is not someone who is very western in his thinking; although he has been exposed to the west as well, be it studying in the Film Institute or watching all kinds of cinema. However, his ethos still remains very Indian.”

He opines that the more one lets a story simmer, the better objectivity one attends, which eventually helps in fleshing out better content, “The good thing was that there was enough time for us to cook it, let it sit for a while and come back after a little while and then work on it.”

“Sometimes with writing, when you look at it immediately, you can’t see it, especially when you are working on it but if you have a gap of 3 or 6 months, suddenly you notice that certain things need to be changed to make it flow or to remove one or two things. So, we had a bit of that as well because the writing took place over a very long period of time,” he concludes.

Outlining his learnings about the OTT, he mentions, “The new lessons you discover are that OTT is about characters. When you invest so much time and spend so much time with the characters, you really have an emotional connection with the characters. That’s the beauty of this platform.

–By Akshay Acharya

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