Filmmaking duo Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK have carved a space in the entertainment industry by bending convention right from their 2003 Bollywood debut ‘Flavors’ and now with web series ‘The Family Man’.
Although mainstream cinema is changing, the duo believes the digital platform is a more personal and liberating space for any storyteller.
“Expressing an opinion on digital platforms — in the form of a story, a blog, a film or a show — is easier because these platforms are still personal spaces. There is the opinion of individual viewing, which is not the case when a film releases theatrically. Cinema is a mass medium that offers a collective experience. It is susceptible to the marketing force. We start creating buzz before the release of a film because we want to secure its box office collections,” DK said.
Raj pointed out how small elements such as the interval, songs, the need to finish a story within two hours were some of the pressures a filmmaker faced, but these could be done away with while creating shows for OTT platforms.
Their new show ‘The Family Man’ is about a middle-aged man named Srikant Tiwari, played by Manoj Bajpayee, who struggles to balance his life as a middle-class family man and his high-risk work at a top-secret special cell of the National Intelligence Agency.
With Indian National Award-winning actor Bajpayee being paired with Tamil star Priyamani as a couple in the series, was the casting a strategy to pool in viewers across both parts of the country — North and South?
“When we were writing the story, we wanted to show a cross-cultural marriage so that in the story, quite organically, we could show both sides of Indian culture. While casting, we looked for actors who suited the roles,” said DK.
“We were embracing the diverse culture of India,” added Raj.
The idea, Raj, continued, was to present an authentic milieu.
“In ‘The Family Man’, we have kept it authentic and diverse just as things are all over India. So, a character who is Tamil, speaks in Tamil, while a Hindi-speaking person speaks in Hindi. Someone else speaks in Malayalam, because India is a land of languages. The story deals with terrorism and geopolitics, but that is not a problem of Hindi heartland. It is a global issue,” he said.
Their choices — reflected through the films they have directed and produced so far — are different from what normally constitutes mainstream Bollywood. Raj and DK attribute their exposure to a vast variety of cinema for this.
“We have grown up watching proper commercial Telugu cinema at a time when Telugu art house cinema was also happening. Being brought up in Andhra Pradesh in the formative years of our lives, we used to watch many Hindi films on DVDs and cassettes because not all of them would release in the small town theatres of Andhra.”
After both of them moved to the US, they got exposed to American independent cinema, and they not only observed the various styles of storytelling but also noted various aspects of filmmaking.
“Our work is a reflection of all the cinematic influence that we have got from both the world — from Telugu commercial films to Bollywood to New-Age indie American cinema. Our thoughts amalgamate them all,” added DK.
Don’t miss it!
The Family Man is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.