Emmy win for Delhi Crime strengthens India's soft power further
In this exclusive and heartfelt piece, Shefali Shah states the importance of stories, how she is hopeful about the future of content in India and cites Delhi Crime as evidence of the progress
Storytelling is an intrinsic part of humanity. Stories are passed from generation to generation — of adventures, experiences, fantasy, fiction and reality. Some narrated, some written and some personified on the celluloid. They have one thing in common — a universal sense of connection that can capture someone’s heart and also, perhaps, their mind.
India has a glorious history of art, cinema and filmmaking for more than a century. This has allowed a plethora of stories, across many themes, to be brought to life on screen. With the advent of streaming services, storytellers and actors have been given a vast canvas for their creative expression, resulting in fresh storytelling in the entertainment industry. Bringing new characters, untold stories and out-of-the-box ideas on screen.
Delhi Crime is one of the most respected shows bringing facets of humanity and society to the fore, and it went on to win the Best Drama Series at the International Emmys. It is a great example of an authentic and responsible story resonating everywhere. As an artist, it is exhilarating to know that your story can travel through 190 countries and be discovered on any given day by someone.
Older established paradigms are being challenged to cater to the cultural zeitgeist. One of the examples is the increase of women's representation both in front and behind the screens. It is so heartening to see characters like DCP Vartika Chaturvedi in Delhi Crime being created and services like Netflix completely trusting the creators and actors to do justice to these complex parts.
We’re also seeing more and more stories with women lead characters, and more films and series being written, produced and directed by women, with the creators and the consumers growing and ascending with every new story and how it’s told. It’s the best time for all artists, not just to pamper perception but to push beyond their comfort zones, to challenge it.
Consumers have the choice and control of what they want to watch, when, and on which device, broadening their perspective on culture and entertainment. Viewers today demand stories and characters that move them, which has enabled storytellers to tell the most passionate and best version of their story. They are consuming films and series not only in Indian languages but in many international languages as well, helping them see different parts of the world and understand diverse cultures on screen in an empowering and uniting moment for audiences, one that transcends borders and geographies.
All these factors have reduced barriers in the entertainment industry. Indian storytellers, both emerging as well as established, are creating stories that are diverse, authentic, local, relatable and ground-breaking. For audiences, this means discovering content for every kind of mood, be it lesser-told stories created by established filmmakers or bold strokes from emerging storytellers. For storytellers and artists, this means bringing their passion to life in the most creative way possible, without the pressures of a shelf-life or geographical limitations.
India’s film and entertainment industry has been an important point of influence globally, and the recent Emmy win for Delhi Crime only strengthens that soft power further. An ecosystem like this will continue to thrive as long as creative expression is celebrated and artists are given the freedom to unearth performances that move audiences. It’s the perfect time to not just be practical and prudent but to be preposterous and shift the very paradigm of entertainment and pave a path to progress, together. As an artist and a storyteller, I feel very excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.