From Cargo, Minnal Murali to Kudi Yedamaithe: Is sci-fi the next big bet on OTT?

Published on Feb 18, 2022 10:31 PM IST
With audience lapping up the science fiction genre from Hollywood, Indian filmmakers are trying their hand at creating home-grown content on OTT.
A still from Minnal Murali
A still from Minnal Murali
ByJuhi Chakraborty

Science fiction (sci-fi) genre is one of the most popular genres in the entertainment landscape now. And with the acceptance of fans for the genre in India, thanks to mostly Hollywood big-budget actioners, makers have realised the potential of the sci-fi and are now creating homegrown content on OTT. So many recent projects, especially the massive success of Minnal Murali, a Malayalam-language superhero film directed by Basil Joseph and starring Tovino Thomas, is proof that this genre is here to stay on the digital platform.

Minnal Murali is an example of how great stories are universal and filmmakers from every part of our country today have the unprecedented opportunity to share their stories,” shares a spokesperson from Netflix, which streams the film, which follows the life of Jaison (Thomas), a young tailor who gains superpowers after being struck by lightning, and transforms into a superhero.

2020 film by Arati Kadav, Cargo, starring Vikrant Massey and Shweta Tripathi, is set on a spaceship named Pushpak 634A where a scientist Prahastha, works for the Post Death Transition services with the help of a female astronaut, where dead people are recycled for rebirth.

“Streaming has brought in more innovation and experimentation in storytelling where creators have the ability to tell the story of their choice, the way they want, knowing that every story can find its audience, without limitations on format or duration. It’s really about bringing the story to life in the most authentic way possible and it is this authenticity that the audience loves. We have a diverse slate of stories on Netflix and fans of sci-fi have discovered and have been intrigued with stories in many different languages, including Minnal Murali in Malayalam, Cargo in Hindi,” the spokesperson adds.

And these homegrown sci-fi projects are being lapped up around the world. Minnal Murali has been in the Top 10 in 30 countries on the streaming platform including Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia, according to the data shared by the OTT.

Other recent projects on OTT that dabbled in the genre include, Abhay Deol starrer series JL50, Bhanwar and OK Computer, which features actors Vijay Varma and Radhika Apte.

“The idea to be a part of a sci-fi series was very exciting to me because I hadn’t done before. We are such amazing writers and directors in our country. It was only a matter of time for this genre to also flourish in our country and in a big, original way on OTT,” Varma says.

Kudi Yedamaithe, a Telugu web series starring Amala Paul and Rahul Vijay, is based on two protagonists who track a kidnapping racket while they are stuck in a time-loop. Talking about the project, director Pavan Kumar, says that the reason he finds this genre interesting is because there is always curiosity from the audience about sci-fi.

“The reason behind that is when you have regular dramas or thriller that is somewhat a known space. In the sci-fi space, the audience enjoys that thrill and ride when they going on this unknown journey. It offers us to do anything which is backed by scientific theory, and in to the mystique zone. Sometimes you need a lot of technical support to do this and sometimes the story and drama is very intelligently written, and it can still work strongly,” he explains.

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