Mirzapur, Mismatched to Paatal Lok, The Family Man 3: What determines the gap between seasons on OTT? - Hindustan Times
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Mirzapur, Mismatched to Paatal Lok, The Family Man 3: What determines the gap between seasons on OTT?

ByAkash Bhatnagar
May 17, 2024 08:08 PM IST

With Mirzapur 3, Paatal Lok 2, Mismatched 3 and many more OTT sequels lined up this year, we speak to makers and actors what determines the gap between seasons

With OTT boom, Indian audience got introduced to the concept of seasons for a show. Having become accustomed to daily soaps, the new format found acceptance, but the rules of the wait for subsequent seasons remained uncertain.

Paatal Lok to Mismatched: What determines the gap between seasons of OTT shows
Paatal Lok to Mismatched: What determines the gap between seasons of OTT shows

Recently, The Family Man 3 went on floors three years after the last season. In 2024, two of the most popular OTT shows, Mirzapur and Paatal Lok are returning after four years each. Mismatched 3 will be coming this year after two years of the second season. Gullak has been one of the few uniform shows, releasing three seasons with a comparative constant gap of one-and-a-half years, while Aarya followed a gap of one and two years in between its three seasons. But what is the ideal gap between two seasons, and how does the wait impact the actors in it?

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The Makers’ lens

Karan Anshuman has directed the first season of Mirzapur, two seasons of Inside Edge and is currently shooting Rana Naidu 2. He believes that there are three factors that determine the gap between seasons. “Platform, makers and audience.” He says, “The easiest of them are the viewers. The elongated pleasure of TV viewing became an instant hit with streaming for them. A fair amount of time from their perspective would be six months, and even the platforms would want their shows to come back sooner, so that the audience’s connection doesn’t break. But for makers, it takes a long time to put everything together, including the writing, casting, prep, shoot and post-production. That is the reality and practicality of filmmaking that you can’t avoid. The slate programming of the platform also comes into play as you have to time your show so that it gets traction throughout. One thing you can do is start writing the next season in advance even before it is commissioned.”

Director Akarsh Khurana, who wrapped up Mismatched 3 last month believes the platforms play the biggest part in deciding the timeline. “Even though it’s been a few years in the market, the whole OTT thing is still considerably new, and everyone is experimenting to figure out the right way. After the first season, you need to wait a while to determine its success. But for Mismatched, the second season was put in development even before the first season’s release and the writers also started working on it. The initial understanding was that a subsequent season should come at a year’s gap,” he shares, adding, “With shows like Mirzapur and The Family Man, you know they are pre-sold successes, but then so many factors come in including actors’ availability. Once a show gets popular, the actors tend to get busier. People are also trying out new things like shooting two seasons together, but it’s all trial-and-error right now. We have been fortunate that our fanbase has been loyal enough to wait.”

The artistes’ side

Actor Ishwak Singh who returns to Paatal Lok after four years shares that the longer gap didn’t affect his process. “The first season was such an immersive experience that it can’t fade away from your memory. The first time we returned to the show’s set, it felt like we were there just yesterday. I could get back to the character with my memory as it came naturally.”

However, actor Sharib Hashmi had to do revision for The Family Man 3. “A sequel means that the show and your character has been loved, so it anyway becomes quite close to you. But before we started shooting, I saw both the seasons again to get into the groove. I like to get back to the show sooner because of my excitement,” he says.

But does the longer gap affect the audience’s connection? “Great content always works, no matter what the gap. Sometimes the longer gap is even better as it’s only the essence of the show that stays with you. For actors, it can also be tiring to jump straightaway into the same character. I had time to forget about mine and then return to it with a rejuvenated approach. Something that has resonance will be relevant forever,” Singh responds.

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