Qtiyapa in the corridors of TVF

Updated: 16 August, 2020 12:10 IST | Mohar Basu | Mumbai

Uncertainty reigns at India's leading digital content creation company after the exodus of key members; newly-appointed president asserts 14 projects on floors, including second seasons of Panchayat, Kota Factory.

A still from Panchayat
A still from Panchayat

The Viral Fever (TVF) had a glorious run last year, with the success of Kota Factory, Tripling, Hostel Daze and the recent Panchayat proving that they were the undisputed masters of quirky desi shows. However, the dream run came to an abrupt halt last week as the key players — Biswapati Sarkar, Nidhi Bisht, Amit Golani, Sameer Saxena, Dhawal Gusain, Karan Chaudhry and Saurabh Khanna — bowed out of the picture over alleged differences on the company's business approach.

So, where does TVF — the true embodiment of homegrown digital entertainment in India — stand post the exodus, without its founders to steer it ahead? The exit of Saxena, head of TVF original content, has fuelled rumours that OTT bigwigs have lost faith in the company. After all, he had helmed the sophomore season of Tripling and the much loved Yeh Meri Family, and also served as the executive producer of Panchayat, the company's biggest hit this year. Insiders say that the upcoming seasons of the stable's popular series could be in limbo without his creative guidance. mid-day reached out to Saxena, who declined to comment.

A still from Kota Factory
A still from Kota Factory

Even as uncertainty looms large in the corridors of the company, Vijay Koshy – who returned to TVF in July after a brief stint in Arre – has been appointed president. This is the second change of gears since 2017 when Arunabh Kumar stepped down as the CEO, following a series of sexual harassment charges, paving the way for Gusain to take charge.

Sameer Saxena and Biswapati Sarkar
Sameer Saxena and Biswapati Sarkar

Despite the recent turn of events, Koshy asserts that 14 shows are set to go on floors. "Several OTT platforms are in talks with us for new shows. Some senior-level stupendous talent have moved on to pursue their own interests. But the writers and directors of Panchayat, Kota Factory, Permanent Roommates and Humorously Yours are still with us. The entire core team is still here. Besides Arunabh, Shreyansh Pandey [assistant vice president, content strategy & creative producer] and Akansh Gaur [content strategy head] are people who have been behind the scenes all along and will now shoulder larger responsibility. The second seasons of Panchayat, Hostel Daze and Kota Factory are in development. The same holds true for Flames season 3, Girls Hostel season 2 and Gullak season 2," he says, without refuting rumours of a brewing pandemonium within their workforce.

Koshy
Koshy

Koshy adds, "There was some amount of concern and I won't deny but I give them the analogy that between 2008-2010, there was a cataclysmic shift in the Indian Cricket team. From people like Ganguly, Sehwag, Sachin running the show for decades and retiring, everyone wondered where will Indian cricket would go from there on. TVF at its core remains a passionate workplace that fosters people who come in and do fabulous work."

Quiz him on the future of the shows that were created by Saxena, and he explains, "Considering Yeh Hai Meri Family is a show based in the '90s, we are discussing whether we will take it forward. A story has yet to be locked for the third season of Tripling. When we get the right story, we will assign a director and take it ahead."

Mid-day reached out to Bisht, who declined to comment.

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First Published: 12 August, 2020 07:06 IST

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