Anirban Roy Choudhury
Media

"There is a need for content that opens an opportunity for comfort viewing": Sunil Doshi, Manzar Studios

The new entity will bring global stories to Indian audiences and also create local content.

Former Star TV hand Sunil Doshi has partnered with Rainshine Entertainment to launch Manzar Studios that aims to bring global stories to Indian audiences and also create local content.

The studio business in India, which was earlier relevant only for films, has started growing leaps and bounds with the advent of OTT platforms. Saregama's Yoodlee Films and Aditya Birla Group's Applause Entertainment are studios with multiple titles successfully streaming on premium video-on-demand (VOD) platforms.

Traditionally, the studios acquire rights, have a contract with a production house and then monetise the efforts by selling the streaming rights of the intellectual property to the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, SonyLIV, among others.

Manzar has announced the acquisition of remake rights of high-concept IPs like 'At the End of the Tunnel' and '4X4'. Doshi believes that there is a high demand and low supply in the Indian content ecosystem, and that is what makes the studio business an interesting one.

"We are storysmith," says Doshi, talking about Manzar, adding that the streaming universe in India is filled with dark, violent content today. He feels that a sense of fatigue is growing among the Indian audiences, as there are hardly any pieces of content available for the family to sit back together and enjoy. "This is the gap that Manzar intends to play (fill)."

"I would be interested in knowing what happened to Mini after 'Kabuliwala', or what happened to Mowgli ('Jungle Book') after he was handed over to the villagers. Call it fan fiction, but there is a need for content that opens an opportunity for comfort viewing. You can watch it with one eye, while doing laundry," Doshi shares.

According to him, the OTT platforms have realised that there is a gap of content for the family audiences. And, that is why they are chasing creators who can provide that. "Netflix today is like Facebook, where you land and find all sorts of content to remain (in) there."

When it comes to the business model, "culturally resonant and commercially viable content" is Doshi's mantra.