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Web shows are like great literature, where characters have enough time to breathe - Emraan Hashmi | Exclusive Interview (Bard of Blood)

After impressing us with his performance in the January release - Why Cheat India, and leaving an impactful mark with his act in 'Tigers' (which released on an OTT platform last year), actor Emraan Hashmi is all set to make his 'digital debut' with the much anticipated - Bard of Blood. Helmed by Ribhu Dasgupta and produced by Red Chillies Entertainment, the show is based on Bilal Siddiqui's espionage novel by the same name, and the show promises to be an edge of the seat, exhilarating spy thriller, with Hashmi essaying the role of an excommunicado RAW Agent named Kabir Anand.


If the teaser, trailer or the promotional buzz surrounding this Netflix drama hasn't got you excited already, we suggest you catch a cuppa and binge watch the show NOW (Yes, the show went live earlier today)! But before that, we aren't letting you go without enjoying our exclusive chat with Emraan Hashmi himself. From working on Bard of Blood to discussing the potential of OTT platforms in India, we got Hashmi to answer some interesting questions and the actor was all ears!

 Bard of Blood goes live on Netflix today, and the project generated immense curiosity.  What went behind the scenes in the last few months?
A sneak peek from our Leh Schedule was screened at the Netflix conference in Singapore earlier this year. It was a 45 second video cut, which actually the audience never gets to see here. But, Netflix is very excited about the stuff we have shot. So much so, that we have had officials ask us if we have shot some portions on the moon (smiles). Leh Ladakh, as a terrain, is absolutely beautiful and a lot of people haven’t explored it to the fullest. So, we shot a schedule of 25 days there, and the final schedule was shot in Rajasthan. We are happy with the look and overall tone of this show, and we believe it has shaped up well. Bard of Blood is for the Indian audience, but at the same time, we are trying to hit a sweet spot for the 190 other countries that we are pitching it to, for the international audience. We’ve tried to retain some basic masala elements for the Indian audience (smiles), but while ensuring that we don’t play around with the logic.


What's the biggest takeaway from your character - Kabir Anand, or from the show as a whole?
I used to wake up at 6 am everyday, because we used to start shooting at 7 am, especially during the last few schedules. The entire shooting experience was brilliant, and undoubtedly, the best takeaway for me has got to be discipline. We shot this show over a period of eight months, which means, I have literally lived my character - Kabir Anand, throughout that time. So, that's the longest I have ever lived any character. Technically, a film has about two - three hours of screen time. However, a show like Bard of Blood has seven episodes, about 45 - 47 minutes each. That's almost five hours of screen time. So, it won't be wrong to say that Kabir is going to resonate with me for sometime.


What’s your take on the shift of entertainment consumption on OTT and social media platforms?
The shift is huge. Six-seven years back, when the digital boom hadn’t hit, our industry thought that people were consuming things on music channels, television. But, 80% of the people now consume it on YouTube. Most of the people who come to cinema halls actually want that time wherein they can watch their favourite content when they want to see it, and not at a particular or set time. That’s one power we’ve got as an audience, and it’s here to stay. People from our industry resisted, because their major livelihood does not depend on it right now, and they do see it as a threat. But, everyone will eventually jump on the bandwagon, which is clearly happening. It’s like the advent of television after radio, or VHS after television. Initially, people resist and then jump on it. So, digital is in that sphere and is growing very fast. For e.g: Netflix wants their next 100 million to come from India, which is a huge number, and they are willing to explore that in their five year plan. It won’t eat away from films, but it will be a parallel avenue. It will certainly make us pull our socks up and think about the content that we are presenting to the audience. 



Go on..
Right now, when people are consuming content on these platforms, you can’t keep churning out the same type of films that you did a decade back. Because, they are now exposed to a lot more, and have experienced a variety of genres. So, it will definitely keep us on our toes. Like, even for a show like Bard of Blood! I am a big fan of web shows. With films, everything is compressed into two hours. But here, it’s like great literature, where you have enough time for characters to breathe. They can form over a period of 8-10 parts in a series, which is not possible with films. It’s a different platform, but there will always be takers for cinema when you go for communal viewing, and of course, the personal or family viewing would continue on OTT platforms, which is great as everyone has an option now.


Would you be open to backing original productions for digital platforms in the future as a producer?
At least in Hollywood, most of the great writing is on the web. Apart from some of the Marvel films, most films have failed to perform well in the last one-two years. Web shows and original productions have fared better. So, writers again have a space where they can spread their wings, and do things out of the box. So, as a producer, I would definitely want to explore digital productions as well.


You’ve got your hands full with some interesting projects. Tell us something about the line up!
There is Father’s Day, an untitled film with Kunal Deshmukh. Another project is in the pipeline currently, which shall be announced shortly. I’ll be starting work on these projects very soon. There is Body, which is complete and shall release sometime next year. And now, Bard of Blood on Netflix is finally live. So, I feel grateful to have more than my hands full.


Are you looking forward to watching Bard of Blood on Netflix? Share your thoughts and feedback by leaving a comment below or Join the conversation on


Love,
The Dancebee

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Priya Adivarekar

Priya Adivarekar - Founder and Creative Director at Diary of a Dancebee. She is also a renowned Voice Actress and award winning artiste, with serious passion for dance. When not working round the clock, she can be seen reading, enjoying a movie-binge or listening to music.
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