"Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order and everything becomes chaos."
It's impossible to forget these iconic lines delivered by Heath Ledger essaying the role of the Joker in Christopher Nolan's movie, The Dark Knight. But did you know that beyond being a piece of trivia, these lines also served as an inspiration to Koval Bhatia (31), the founder of A Little Anarky Films, headquartered in Delhi, whom we met at the recently concluded vdonxt asia (3rd edition of our annual convention on the business of online video). Koval, one of the winners at the vdonxt asia awards, bagged a silver metal for her team's work on a rap video about menstrual hygiene (#NoMoreLimits).
This award-winning video was created by A Little Anarky Films in collaboration with Kaboom, a social change-focused creative agency. It is a two-minute long video about menstrual hygiene featuring Indian rapper Dee MC who raps (in Hindi and English) about breaking taboos.
When we met her over drinks at the vdonxt after party, we noticed she was sporting a unique tattoo of a jester on her neck - the logo of the company she founded in 2011.
Named 'A Little Anarky Films', her company is a 20-member strong production house-cum-creative agency. The company's official website proudly calls the outfit a 'creative content studio and playground' that specialises in producing music videos, web series, advertising and branded content, documentaries and more. Koval also runs Bedlam which is a community space for stand-up comedy, music gigs, workshops, art, networking, and theatre that's based out of Delhi.
We caught up with ad land's very own girl with the jester tattoo to understand the philosophy behind her company and the work that they do.
The joker, as a character, is an archetype that finds its way into different aspects of Koval's agency. The office, which doubles up as a co-working space, is dotted with imagery of jesters and very Tim Burton-esque artwork.
We asked Koval what came first - the logo or the tattoo. She replies, "After running the company for a few years, I decided to take a break and travel. I was travelling solo across Europe when I came across a shop in Florence (Italy) that sold masks and costumes. I saw one that caught my eye and I sent a photograph of it to my head of design and asked him to recreate that as the logo. I'd also been meaning to get a tattoo for a while, so it made sense to get this. It's something that's very close to my heart and means a lot to me."
Some brands that A Little Anarky Films have worked with include the Discovery Channel, Nissan, Ford, and Sony among others.
Ask Koval about campaigns close to her heart and she names the Humans of Harley series for Harley Davidson (2015), which showcased the diversity of Harley owners and challenged the stereotype of men and bikes. "That was really interesting because we shot the content over two years, which was mainly a lot of interesting stories - like a dad who has two daughters who love to ride with him, a doctor, a middle-aged woman - an architect who doesn't look like a biker at all..." she says signing off.
About its early days and the philosophy behind 'A Little Anarky Films', Koval adds, "I was fresh out of college (B.A. Economics, Shri Ram College of Commerce and M.A. Mass Comm and Media, Jamia Millia Islamia) and was looking for work. It started off as a freelance business and eventually, as more clients started coming in, I started the company. It's more of a crossover between a creative agency and a production house. We do cater to the requirements of our clients (for branded content), but we are also in the business of making original content."
The initial days were full of all kinds of struggles, for instance, finding her feet in a male-dominated industry. All these years later, the barriers have reduced. "We now have women photographers, women DoPs, women directors... things are getting better," says an optimistic Koval.
Her philosophy is to introduce a 'little anarchy' into the system and change the way things have been done. As a policy, she looks at hiring people who are young and enthusiastic about their work.
Expansion and integration plans for 'A Little Anarky Films' are in the pipeline. Recently, Koval opened her first studio outside Delhi, in Mumbai's Versova suburb. In the future, she plans to tie up with Bedlam to produce content. Her focus is on bringing together a certain type of people into a sort of "floating network..."
"...We're looking at tying down a diverse style of storytelling with what we do in content production," she explains.
Original content is something the company plans to focus on in 2019, but the audience they're looking at catering to is not your typical urban crowd.
"Our team of writers is focusing on creating original content for women. We also want to create content for tier II and III cities. It's because we believe this is going to be the next big market, but it's also the least catered to market. There is scope to engage people and have conversations with them, so we want to start there," she outlines.
"Content for the sake of content is just clutter. We aim to give our content a voice... India is the biggest content circus. Our country is content. We're looking at scaling up on original content and niche, youth-related content in a big way this year. We have to do our basic hygiene with branded work for our clients, but we do want to work on original content too." Koval has also sent a team to the ongoing Kumbh Mela to "go and gather content".
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