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"We are expanding our genres & focussing on chiselled storytelling": Juggernaut Productions' Samar Khan

Audiences today are more aware, he says.

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MUMBAI: Director and producer Samar Khan, who is known for his critically acclaimed war drama film Shaurya, is now weaving stories for digital platforms. Khan has now donned the hat of a creative producer for Avrodh on SonyLiv.

Avrodh revolves around a surgical strike based on the 2016 Uri attack, depicting historical events as they occurred in real. The series was launched on 31 July. The former journalist has a keen interest in creating stories for armed forces. Most of his recent or past work like Regiment Diaries on Epic channel, The Test Case or the AltBalaji-ZEE5 series Code M is around the same subject.

Juggernaut Productions chief operating officer OTT business Samar Khan says that for a show like Avrodh, it’s important to find likeminded people. According to him, the producer is not someone who just funds the project; he is also the creative producer who is involved in every step of story production. The job of the creative producer is to pick the right talent, cast, director, storytellers and look after the story development.

Avrodh is based on a chapter in a book written by Shiv and Rahul. It is also inspired by the quotes of Major Mike Tango. The word is a pseudonym for the paramilitary officer who helmed the overall operation. The team at Juggernaut Productions also spoke to people who are aware of military procedures. As the show is on a very sensitive topic and to avoid any misrepresentations the makers, directly and indirectly, reached out to people who were involved in the event. It took eight months of research.

Khan, who is ecstatic to work as a creative producer, gives a lot of credit to Applause Entertainment for bringing out this story. He also hints at creating similar stories soon. The idea behind collaborating with Applause Entertainment is to co-develop shows. Both the studios are currently developing and producing two shows. Khan is looking forward to creating original IPs and premium original content with Applause Entertainment.

He says that audiences in today’s time are aware of what they are watching. He says, “Audiences don’t need to be served a buffet anymore. I think the popular commercial cinema always tried to serve a buffet where there was a little bit of humour, romance and drama.  But what OTT platforms have done is to focus on one. This chiselled storytelling is truer to what we really want to say and this is the true learning experience for me. For the past four to five shows and even going forward, we are trying to stay true to the promise of the show and not deviate.”

He is also aware that the company has an image of creating only legal dramas but that’s going to change. “We want to be known as a company that does broad-based content development. We are looking at developing stories across genres,” he shares.  

Due to the pandemic, there is a boost in the viewership on OTT platforms and with normalcy returning, Khan’s immediate focus is to start shooting. He says, “We utilised the past four months of lockdown to develop a slate of shows that we will be collaborating or pitching to platforms. We have a huge bank of stories that we have developed in this time period. The plan is to make and tell as many stories as possible.”

Juggernaut Productions recently acquired the screen adaptation rights to Jay Alani and Neil D’Silva’s book “Haunted” but is stuck at the initial stage due to Covid2019. The company is open to any international collaboration too in difference genres, formats and stories that can be adapted to the needs of Indian audiences. For now, the focus is on Hindi content but Juggernaut is planning on acquiring regional content too.

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