Thamizh Talkies: The nature of home entertainment
The writer is a former journalist who has worked in the film industry for several years and is passionate about movies, music and everything related to entertainment
Twitter gives you a lot of things to ponder upon, one of them being clippings from your favourite films... the dances, the music and the drama. In short, the magic of reliving your favourite on-screen moment, albeit for a few minutes. The whole movie may be available one button away on your digital platform, but how many of you are nodding your head when I say that the best of your favourite cinema is savoured in small packages? Facebook also provides similar entertainment. Perhaps this is why the idea of creating content now has shifted to videos of shorter duration and in many parts called episodes?
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the series format as it reminds me of trite Indian television serials, which potentially do more damage to your family life than your own deeds can! After digital platforms took over our drawing rooms and bedrooms, the first thing producers like me get approached for is true long-format content. It requires teams of writers and reams of pages, to churn out less than forty minutes of screen time. Engaging the human mind has never seen a more challenging time. When the attention span is less than fifteen minutes, how many such engaging fifteen minutes can you come up with? That is what changes the game in your favour today.
Sacred Games and then Pataal Lok impressed me, as far as Indian content goes. I wish regional content gave us this much gravitas. While we do have the content to deliver, the focus seems to be on regional writing and production values. In the regional context, Queen, the series written by Reshma Ghatala and directed by Gautham Menon and Prasad Murugesan, had the needed pull to engage with the home-viewer.
A home-viewer is quite different from the one in the theatre. While it is the same person, the viewing attitude at home and in the theatre, is different ends of the rope, one without any knots in the centre. While one viewing is an 'experience', the other is an intensely personal zone, almost like.... meditation? Or let’s say, like writing your diary.
Watching a series or film inside your bedroom or house is at your will and time. There’s no discipline to it. There is no one governing rule. I’ve always preferred to be myself when watching content at home. But since I cannot stand distractions of phone calls or lights switched on or messages popping up, I will always be a theatre fan. In these Covid times though, a trip to the cinema hall is a luxury. With America pushing its theatre openings by a month (All Nolan lovers will have to wait one more month or maybe longer for Tenet), the large question of when the film industry and theatres in India will open does not have an answer yet.
Till then, to our meditation, we turn! Into that multiple-choice series and movies on your TV screen, may our regional producers and cinema talent shine!