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Actor and stand-up comic Vir Das.
Actor and stand-up comic Vir Das.

Comedian Vir Das plans to up his digital comedy content game

  • Das’ production house has in the pipeline seven shows, films, series and podcasts across platforms for 2020 alone
  • Das also plans to explore regional language comedy, while his firm is developing shows in Telugu and Punjabi

NEW DELHI: Actor and stand-up comic Vir Das is looking at scaling up digital comedy content through video and podcast productions for his company, Weirdass Comedy. Close on the heels of Netflix original Hasmukh released in April, Das’ production house is in the process of scripting and casting for seven shows, films, series and podcasts across platforms for 2020 alone.

“Having been part of the comedy community, we (Das and his company) have access to a lot of the younger, edgier, funnier, cooler concepts, and Weirdass is trying to fill that gap between younger filmmakers and larger scale productions that can infuse them with money," Das said, adding that only one of these seven productions will feature him.

He will be the creative producer for the rest six. Weirdass started its journey last year with Jestination Unknown, a six-part travel comedy series on Amazon Prime Video. Its latest offerings include two 15-part fiction series for Audible Suno, the free streaming service owned by Amazon, one titled Swami Hasyadev Maharaj, voiced by Suresh Menon, and the other called Agla Station Investigation. Suresh Air, a 10-part fiction series, is currently under development with Aditya Birla-owned Applause Entertainment.

“A lot of people that we are getting these concepts from are first-time directors or showrunners but the idea is to give them a little more amplification than the market would under normal circumstances," Das said.

“I feel (streaming) platforms have very wide open doors for new concepts especially when it comes to comedy, I feel every single platform across the board is open to light-hearted stuff," Das said.

In an earlier interview to Mint, Vijay Subramaniam, director and head for content, Amazon Prime Video India, had said the firm is trying to differentiate its comedy in an over-congested comedy space in India with the ability to cater to a variety of themes, genres, and moods.

“We continue to receive an overwhelming response to Amazon Prime Video’s comedy offering and this appreciation drives us further to bring to our customers newer formats in this genre," Subramaniam had said, with regard to Amazon originals such as One Mic Stand, Comicstaan, Haq se Single, among others.

Apart from younger, short-form content, Das also plans to explore regional language comedy, while the company is currently developing shows in Telugu and Punjabi, it is actively scouting for concepts in Gujarati and Marathi too.

“Digital platforms help take away the pressure of theatrical recovery, which is often times, not even dictated by fan base but by pure economics, it costs a lot to make and distribute a film, and there are various monopolies that exist in those various departments," Das said.

This is a format that has been set for years, often a small-budget, non-star cast film gets an obscure 11 am or 1 am show in theatres and it is great that such films can find space on OTT platforms.

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