All 10 episodes will be available on December 6, 2019, for prime subscribers to stream.
Excel Entertainment, a large film studio in India which produced successful titles like Don, Dil Chahta Hai, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Rock On, entered the “web” space in 2017. It was the first time a large studio was entering the streaming world. Content on OTT was then called “Web Series”, in the current lingo they are “Premium Dramas”. It wasn't only the Ritesh Sidhwani - Farhan Akhtar run studio, but popular actors, renowned directors and writers too who got into the digital space with ‘Inside Edge’ - Seattle-headquartered, e-commerce giant Amazon’s video on demand platform Prime Video’s first India Original.
Launched in July 2017, 'Inside Edge' is a thriller that revolves around cricket and politics that surrounds the sport that's often compared with religion in the country. While Amazon Prime Video never shared any numbers, the show was apparently a big success for the platform. Sources in the organisation say it was watched not only in India but outside the country too. “The only insight that we have is they (Amazon Prime) have commissioned a second season. There is nothing more,” says Karan Anshuman, showrunner of Inside Edge.
“All our good ideas were bundled into the first season as we had no clue that there would be a second season. When the second season got commissioned, our immediate reaction was - what do we do now?,” says Anshuman. The first season bagged am International Emmy nomination too. He adds, “Amazon and Excel told us, "Let’s expand and make it bigger." Slogging started in the writers' room and we ended up doing some good work which translated into a bigger and higher scale drama. We knew as writers what worked for us as writers and how to capitalise on it.”
If sources are to be believed, the ‘Inside Edge’ project cost (production + marketing) is estimated to be around Rs 40 crore. A senior producer, on condition of anonymity, said, “They are spending around Rs 2.5 crore per episode and another Rs 15 crore has been earmarked for marketing and promotions.”
The ‘Inside Edge’ hoardings are already up in the top cities and metros of India. Amazon is believed to have booked front pages of leading dailies too. All 10 episodes will be available on December 6, 2019, for prime subscribers to stream.
Vijay Subramaniam, director and head, Content, Amazon Prime Video India, says in a media statement, “After collaborating on various projects and creating several audience favourites, we can confidently say that our association with Excel Media and Entertainment is now stronger than ever. Inside Edge Season 1 remains a consumer favourite and we are confident that Season 2 will be even bigger. Prepare to binge-watch the ‘game beyond the game’!”
Not only the local subscribers and the diaspora audience, Amazon believes 'Inside Edge' can reach a wider group. “We have dubbed the whole show in English so that it reaches a wider audience who are not into subtitles. There is a definite push from Amazon to make it as international and global as possible,” says Anshuman.
“You have to write 350, 400 pages, that's how long it is. It is almost like writing three films.Karan Anshuman
Anshuman has written feature films too and he says the primary difference is the “length”. “You have to write 350, 400 pages, that's how long it is. It is almost like writing three films. The big difference is the fact that a film is constrained by length, where you have to follow a particular guideline. There is a certain journey that the hero has to go through - conflict in the first few minutes - journey - resolution - climax. That formula has been set and is being followed for the last 100 years and we have mastered it to the point that I feel every film seems predictable,” he opines.
“The series gives you a complete black canvas to plot characters' graphs. They can go up and down, they can switch around, they could be grey and then turn white or black because of the circumstances you are putting them into. The freedom that the characters have in the script is a big difference between writing a film and a series.”
Excel got people who shoot cricket in actual tournaments to shoot the sport in the show.Karan Anshuman
Be it the franchisee T-20 tournament - Indian Premier League or any other Board for Control of Cricket in India organised tournament, the production quality of the broadcast is cutting edge. 'Inside Edge' has a lot of cricket in it, so it will always get compared to the real thing. To match the benchmark, Excel got people who shoot cricket in actual tournaments to shoot the sport in the show.
Anshuman believes the challenge is to ensure that everything looks real. “The crowd, the ball and for much more, we depend heavily on visual effects. Season 2 has a lot of VFX and it’s far heavier so it becomes a challenge to make everything look real and that is the task which is both a challenge and fun,” he concludes.