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Comedy, conversations or comebacks, what’s the perfect recipe for an OTT blockbuster?

Ramit Jain starrer ‘Ek Andheri Raat’ released on Disney + Hotstar is destined for success. He opines, “Content creators must go with their gut”



When it is dark, not necessarily, it will be deserted. ‘Ek Andheri Raat’ as the title suggests, is about conversations and memories shared between two colleagues-cum-roommates, Sanket and Roshan, in the middle of the night. As abundant thoughts cross their minds, both don’t shy away from sharing their deep secrets with each other. Scripted, conceptualised and starred by an Apeejay alumnus and former radio jockey, Ramit Jain, the series finds space on Disney + Hotstar. What went behind the camera? He tells us in a candid chat. Read on:  

How did your interest in acting, writing scripts develop?

Since school, I have been passionate about acting and writing. I vividly recall that once my teacher advised me to acquire a certain accent for a skit, and that made me very popular in the school. So, my stage confidence developed there. I have completed my schooling from Apeejay School, Model Town, Mahavir Marg and done my graduation from Apeejay College of Fine Arts, Jalandhar. 

I then moved to working with the radio. I was the former National Creative Producer at Radio City India and have spent close to 15 years in the media and entertainment sector. With my experience, I wanted to try something new. That’s how it all came back to me. I may have featured in more than a hundred videos for the radio station and also written 12 short films. It is a continuous learning process.

At present, I am working as the Social Media Head at Zee Footwears Private Limited. Honestly, I feel fortunate to be an Apeejayite. Even Kapil Sharma studied there, and he has taught me and many others how to write comedy-based scripts. He was very popular in the youth festivals and used to give tips. His comic-timing is very sharp and I have learned a lot from him. All my teachers too helped me a lot and provided me the platform to showcase my talents.

What went into the making of ‘Ek Andheri Raat’ – the series?

I and the co-writer, co-actor who plays Roshan in ‘Ek Andheri Raat’, began to write the script two years ago. At that time, both of us worked together at Radio City and simultaneously kept brainstorming on new ideas. Once we completed our first draft about 10-12 members showed interest in our work and gradually joined our team. Once the script was in place, we shot it and first launched it over a YouTube channel called ‘Flick it yaar’. Unfortunately, the episodes didn’t receive a massive response. And seeing that, we felt a bit disheartened. But we were sure that our work was admirable.

We trusted our concept which showcases the ‘slice of life’, targeting the age group between 25-35 year olds. Our focus has been clear: ‘to connect with the masses.’ And interestingly, the series also borrows anecdotes and moments from our personal lives.

Did you expect that your series would resonate with so many people?

No. We came to know about a Disney + Hotstar initiative in which they were accepting pitches for short films. And, like others, we also shared our presentation and eventually our series became part of the platform. Because we were sure that we had created something with pure honesty and dedication, while uploading it over YouTube, we never expected to turn into overnight stars.

We simply just made it and posted it. And then, Mr. Manoj Doogra, Chief Executive Officer at Shucae Films saw it and liked it! With his guidance, we were able to reach the audience we wanted. So, in my view, a content creator must go with their gut and must not shy away from showcasing their work. 

Is it difficult to pitch to big platforms like Disney + Hotstar?

Yes, absolutely. Fortunately, we had the support of a film production company, Shucae Films Pvt. Ltd. They connected us with Disney + Hotstar and helped us make our pitch. We are very thankful to their team because without them, we could not have reached such a platform. After the pitch too, it took about 6 months before I received an affirmative response from Disney + Hotstar. So yes, we had to be very patient and just believe in the script.

What’s up next for ‘Ek Andheri Raat’?

We have successfully shot and telecasted two episodes. Soon, we will come up with more. The scripting is done and we are hoping that by December we will begin shooting. We will now introduce new concepts and characters.

Which is your favourite, casting, scripting or conceptualising?

It has been about 3-4 years for me since I have started writing scripts and short films. And, each day, this creative flair is very exciting for me! I am still learning it. There can be several ups and downs in the journey as well because a writer can experience personal challenges or a writer’s block etc. Writing is a very time-consuming endeavour but enjoyable too.

OTT has taken the world by storm. Why so?

Today, content is king, and that’s the mantra for an OTT blockbuster. On one hand, I feel that these platforms have given access to people to watch their favourite shows, series or movies at their convenience. On the other hand, I am a big fan of cinema halls too and watching movies in a larger than life scenario has its pros. In my opinion, both can and must go hand in hand.  

Is comedy, conversation and come-backs, your domain?

Yes. I have written a cricket comedy for a YouTube channel prior to this. And about two years ago, 2.5 lakh people were tuned to it. It was heartening to read the comments and how that made a big difference to the audiences’ lives. I believe that as an artist my focus is to entertain. And, if someone can smile after watching my video or series, my goal will be met.

Your favourite actors?

Shahrukh Khan! I am very eager to watch his next film. He creates an aura both on and off-screen and one tends to lose themselves in that. I have had the chance to meet him as well, he truly is a charmer! Apart from his work, I like the craft of Pankaj Kapoor and Pankaj Tripathi, just to name a few.

Message for those who wish to star in a series or film?

To become an accomplished artist, observe your surroundings and learn every day. Keep refining your skills with continuous practice. Accept criticism but believe in yourself. 

Mrini Devnani is a Senior Correspondent and Marketing Coordinator at Newsroom. She covers student achievements, interviews and contributions for the website. She was a former Correspondent covering Edutech for the India Today Group, and has passion for Social Media and Digital Marketing. You can reach her at [email protected]

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