29 May-2014, Zee News: It has been just three days since Narendra Modi has taken…
New Delhi,Kanchan Srivastava: Scriptwriter, director, comedian and actor, Biswapati Sarkar, the key person behind The Viral Fever (TVF), India’s first YouTube channel, dons many hats.
Biswapati Sarkar with the real Arvind Kejriwal and a look-alike
Sarkar rose to popularity with his online satire talk-show series “Barely Speaking with Arnub”, in which he portrays the character of “Arnub”, a satirical emulation of senior TV journalist Arnab Goswami. The series, which featured people like Shah Rukh Khan, Arvind Kejriwal and Parineeti Chopra, is known for its great satire and has received over 10 million YouTube views.
“We are now seeking to bring Prime Minister Narendra Modi on our comedy talk-show. This would be fantastic to see out PM making fun of himself. Besides, we are planning to make a thriller and horror videos and also a comedy film,” says Rourkela (Odisha) boySarkar, revealing the ambitious plans of the TVF, which rules the digital world with its unique comic genre, highly popular among 16-40 year-olds.
The TVF, founded by Sarkar’s college senior and an IIT-Kharagpur graduate Arunabh Kumar in 2010, currently has 12 lakh subscribers from metros and smaller cities across India. Based in Mumbai, the team now has over 60 people on roll with most of them being young graduates from IITs and other institutes.
They have created over 100 videos across genres like humour, drama and emotions. The list of popular shows includes series like TVF Pitchers, Permanent Roommates, Tech Conversations with My Dad, CID and Rowdies, Bollywood Aam Admi Party.
Says Sarkar: “Our major audience is the young who don’t want to watch entertainment channels as their content doesn’t interest them. They prefer digital platform over mainstream media, which not only gives them content of their likings but also gives freedom to enjoy at the time when they wish.”
The team focuses on creation of intelligent content for youth entertainment. Sarkar, who draws inspiration from film producers like Rajkumar Hirani, Anurag Sinha and Soojit Sircar, says: “TV channels underestimate the intelligence of viewers. With our content, we are seeking to change the common perception that one needs to keep his or her mind at side or at home while watching any show or film.”
So, how do they get all funny ideas? “It all comes from happenings around us. We just convert the angst of the people against someone or some issue into comedy,” laughs Sarkar, who holds a post-graduate degree in Mathematics from IIT Kharagpur.
He began his career with scriptwriting and then worked as an intern at TVF in every summer. After completing Msc, he joined the TVF team, which now has over 60 people on roll, with many of them being IITians and recently graduated youngsters of other colleges.
So who is their biggest competitor? Sarkar doesn’t mince the word,”Entertainment TV channels will lose their ground soon unless they improve upon their programmes. Many youngsters have already stopped watching TV. They flocked to digital world which offers lot of new genres.”
Sarkar thinks that digital media is not only the most promising platform but also the most democratic platform as it offers quick and frank feedback.
The most touchy point till date? Over 100 people wrote to us that they quit their jobs to try their hands in start-ups after watching our show, “TVS pitcher”, which is based on four friends who seek to establish a start-up.
What about his mathematical skills? “Well, I think my strong base in coding which works on logic helps in writing logical scripts where all characters, dialogues and scenes have relevance and logic,” says Sarkar.
Even though the TVF team makes fun of Bollywood movies, Sarkarand his colleagues are acting in few Bollywood movies.
So what’s the logic behind this-money or popularity? “Neither. We are doing it just for experience which is also not good so far. People in film industry work on boring old-age templates assuming that people like it,” says Sarkar.