Tanya Bami, Series Head, Netflix India and her team promised to make 2022 ‘their year’. With more than half the year gone, she says they delivered on their promise. The OTT giant had shows such as Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhein, The Fame Game and Kapil Sharma: I’m Not Done Yet (comedy special) in its arsenal, topping it off with RRR. “And now we have the new season lined up for all fan favourite shows, be it Masaba Masaba, The Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives, Mismatched to the Emmy-awarded Delhi Crime, and Jamtara, the story from the hinterland,” she told indianexpress.com. Bami also informs that the platform has Cat with Randeep Hooda, Abhishek Choubey’s Soup and Hansal Mehta’s web show Scoop also in the pipeline.
As many in the audience, we too have wondered how streaming companies greenlight the next season. Is it on the success of the first or it’s always part of the original deal? Tanya said that they start working on the second season almost concurrently with the first one, as it does take time to make a ‘richer sequel’. As the launch happens, they take into consideration the feedback of the audience, and also discuss which characters can shine next. “Our shows are mostly based on human emotions. Like in Masaba Masaba, we found out how audiences loved the mother-daughter equation, and hence we amped that up in season 2. So it always works both ways where we start constructing a new season and shape it as we go ahead, weaving audiences’ preferences in it along the way,” she shared.
But what are the first three requisites that Netflix has before approving a show? She shared, “It has to have a very strong emotional connection. The story and idea should connect at a very fundamental, human level. It’s all about how I feel hearing it. Has it touched me emotionally? The basic reaction sets the distinction. It should be exciting and new, and the characters should really stay with me. The qualities that linger beyond the show are what matters.”
We do keep talking about how the web has given a new platform to talents that we may not have been able to see otherwise. However, in recent times, we have seen stars headlining projects. When asked if it’s the face that eventually works, the series head said that it’s always a ‘bit of both’. She gave examples of the likes of Pankaj Tripathi, who had a breakout with Sacred Games, and Masaba, who stepped into acting with her show. “And then when we see the success of Sooryavanshi or a Gangugabai Kathiawadi on Netflix, it’s a clear testimony that India loves their stars. So it’s always a combination of great authentic portrayal of characters via actors, with certain star quality. I think that mix is crucial.”
As the conversation steered towards unscripted content, Tanya Bami mentioned how the Bad Boy Billionaire and Indian Matchmaking got the ball rolling for them. “The genre has helped us in one on one engagement, and while we slowed a bit, we kicked off again with Ranveer vs Wild. We have a reality show Social Currency up next, and also a dating reality show In Real Love (IRL) coming up. So there’s a lot to look forward to,” she shared. However, the executive said that talent-based reality shows are off their charts as their focus is on ‘novelty and distinctiveness’.
On a final note, we quizzed her on her take that ‘India doesn’t like paying for content’. With a loud laugh, Tanya said, “Well, all that I will say is that we are doing so well, in terms of engagement perspective and audience base, even in terms of revenue.”