Watch: Indian web series are storming the Internet

tv Updated: Sep 26, 2015 16:09 IST
Apoorva Dutt
Apoorva Dutt
Hindustan Times
Indian web series,Paddle Hard,Baked

Millions of Indian viewers are tuning into webisodes, or shows released exclusively online. For instance, earlier this month, Pitchers, a fictional web series about India’s startup culture, became the first Indian show on Internet Movie Database’s (IMDB) coveted Top 250 TV shows list. It is currently 24th on this list, ahead of popular shows such as House of Cards, Seinfeld, Friends and Mad Men.

Another web show, Mission Everest follows mountaineers Samir Patham and Sauraj Jhingan as they scale Mount Everest, but find themselves stranded in the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake. “We filmed our journey and gathered a lot of footage, and decided to make a web series,” says Pune-based Patham, 33, who owns an adventure sports company. Mission Everest was launched earlier this month.

“Legal restrictions on Indian television are pretty ludicrous — I made a TV show about corruption, but we weren’t allowed to say India is corrupt,” says Amit Golani, director of Pitchers. “Young, creative talent skip the drudgery by going directly online.”


The Supersonics, a Kolkata-based rock band, was preparing to release an album called Heads Up in June 2014. They decided to document their journey as a web series — the three-part ‘making of the album’ went online in August 2014. It shows the band’s studio recordings, creative discussions and conflicts. “The shooting was nonintrusive, and we often forgot the camera was here,” says Ananda Sen, 33, vocalist and guitarist. “After the show, we had a 10% to 15% rise in album sales immediately.”

Mumbai resident and singer Abhijeet Sajnani, 23, hadn’t heard of The Supersonics before watching their web series. “I became a fan, not just for the music, but because as a vocalist myself, I appreciated the insight into their creative process,” he says.

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Permanent Roommates, a five-episode web series about romantic relationships, was launched in October 2014. Pitchers, about startup culture in India, began in June 2015, with five episodes aired. The first episode of Permanent Roommates has over a million views, and that of Pitchers scored more than 2 million. “There’s no secret sauce to our web series,” says Amit Golani, the director of Pitchers and Permanent Roommates, both web series produced by The Viral Fever productions. “We always aimed to create online content at par with intenational shows such as Friends and Seinfeld.”

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Kaustubh Khade, 28, is a product manager, but a passionate kayaker who set a Limca Book Record in February, for a solo expedition from Mumbai to Goa. At the end of the trip, Khade had 700 GB of raw footage taken for the record — of paddling 500 km in the shortest possible time. “Sooperfly, a web production company, approached me to turn the footage into a show about my journey,” he says.

The show, called Paddle Hard, has aired three of the eight slated episodes on YouTube. “The first episode went up last month, and people have shown a lot of interest since,” says Khade. “Capturing the experience on film was difficult, since it was a solo trip, but viewers seem to enjoy it.”

One of these viewers is Olive Martinez, 19, a college student who has been interested in kayaking herself. “I tried kayaking when I went on a trip to Australia last year,” she says. “I have been wanting to try it here, and after seeing Paddle Hard, I’ve been inspired to find an outlet for this interest.” The second episode garnered over 13,000 views.

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Focusing on a trio of Delhi University students with too much time on their hands, filmmakers and Delhi residents Vishwajoy Mukherjee, 26, and Akash Mehta, 23, created a show called Baked, inspired by their college experiences.

The series shows how college years can be a ‘meandering’ time, when you start out doing something but end up someplace completely different. Produced by Pechkas Talkies and ScoopWhoop productions, the first Baked episode went online in May.

“I love this show because it’s so relatable,” says Mrinalini Singh, 22, a web designer in Mumbai. “I am from Delhi and I love the little nuances of university life that they have nailed, as well as the dynamics between friends.”

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Mission Everest, produced by Sooperfly, debuted in September, and the three episodes have garnered about 10,000 views so far. The series shows the duo’s travails before the climb, including crowd-funding the expedition, as well as how they handled the harsh weather conditions during the climb.

Aspiring mountaineer Ashish Giri, 21, says, “I like how they show the extreme investment it takes, both financially and mentally. Mountaineering isn’t just about grabbing your gear and going up a mountain. It is more about the preparation than anything else.”

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First Published: Sep 25, 2015 23:24 IST