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Contiloe Pictures ventures into digital

VFX, animation and digital platforms are growth engines for the production house

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MUMBAI: For more than two decades, Contiloe Pictures has been entertaining viewers on television through its premium content. This year, the production house is ready to enter the digital space and cater to the viewers of OTT platforms. The company’s first digital series State of Siege: 26/11 will premiere on ZEE5 on 20 March.

In an interaction with Indiantelevision.com, Contiloe Pictures founder-producer Abhimanyu Singh said, “We want to focus on telling stories, from across the spectrum - local, regional or national. Currently, we moved into the digital space, plus we are looking at visual effects and animation in a big way. We have a new facility started in Bhubaneswar and we are housing a few artists there. We are increasing our overall post production spends. All these will be new growth engines even as the traditional platform will continue to be our focus area.”  

The company spent a year researching and studying before producing digital content. “We started working on the story early last year when we acquired the rights to the book "Black Torando". Sandeep Unnithan, who came on board, had thoroughly researched for two years. We also got on board Lt Col Sandeep Sen who was second-in-command of the operation in Mumbai. He hand-held us through the whole making process right from research to how commandos operate in anti-insurgency,” said Singh.

He further said, “26/11 lasted for four days and it also has the aspect of a Pakistan-based terror house that trained nine attackers to attack in Mumbai. If we look at the whole story there is an angle of how the attack was planned, how media covered it and one of the NSC commandos (which nobody has explored) and how they fought with those terrorists. In the series you will get to see exactly what happened inside the attack and how our commandos did the whole anti-insurgency operations. This 360 degree angle has never been presented from the commandos' point of view.”

Singh said that the book takes into account all the three sieges of attack and how it happened, who were the perpetrators and how our black cat commando liberated the three sieges of Mumbai. "It’s a large enough story to be able to delve into an eight-hour format. The exciting part is that it’s a new space for us in the way we have approached doing it and the way we have prepped and crewed up for it. It has been a truly enriching experience for us,” said Singh.

The company acquired "Black Torando"’s rights to produce content specifically for OTT. Singh said, “When we decided to make shows for digital space we want to study it in the right manner. Now, finally we are getting a product that we are satisfied of. I believe it’s never too late or too early unless things are done right. The show that I make I should be able to do it in a right manner, so the way I prep for it, the way I produce it or the post- production everything should be done within the confines of creating premium content and that is what we have focused on. It’s a two-year job we have studied, learn, and applied and then we are entering the digital space.”

On the relation with ZEE5, Singh said that it has a big and large audience base and is experimenting too. "We find that this is the time to tell different kinds of stories. We have something in the pipeline and we want to take it organically; we don’t want to rush in,” he added.

On television, Contiloe has worked on genres like horror, thriller, comedy, mythology and historical and that helped in moving into the digital space.

Contiloe's current running shows on television include Tenali Rama and Vighnaharta Ganesh, both which recently completed successful 500 episodes. It has also previously created shows like Veer Shivaji, Jhansi ki Rani, Mahabali Hanuman, Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat, Maharana Pratap, Ssshhhh…Koi Hai amongst others which have achieved milestones in terms of their ratings, audience reception and appreciation.

Singh reiterated that TV continues to yield the same results. "Now TV is being consumed on digital so, there are new sets of audiences coming in. On digital we need to prep well and stand out. There are so many digital shows but only a handful of shows can be remembered. Both have their different set of challenges and both will continue to grow.”

He is aware that there are new types of audiences evolving and a change in television programming is required to cater to them. 

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