• Fri. May 20th, 2022

Netflix supported filming of Fame game during the most difficult times of the pandemic: Apoorva Mehta, CEO of Dharma

ByRandall B. Phelps

Feb 25, 2022

Dharmatic is the digital wing of one of the biggest production houses in India – Dharma Productions. Netflix is ​​one of the biggest streaming platforms in the world. The two have reunited on several projects to bring new content to the public – the latest being Madhuri Dixit starring The Fame Game, which drops today. Monika Shergill, VP, Content, Netflix India and Apoorva Mehta, CEO, Dharma Productions talk about the challenges of making a show during the pandemic and the pressure on them to deliver engaging content.

What was the vision behind Dharmatic and how did the association with Netflix take it forward?

Provided: Our style of storytelling has always been applauded by the masses. It made sense to bring this to the digital space. Dharmatic is nothing but Dharma’s promise of rich content in the digital space. We started our journey with Netflix, Dharmatic was not associated with any other OTT platform. What we’ve learned so far is thanks to Netflix. We have done our features with Netflix be it Guilty, Ajeeb Dastaans and Meenakshi Sundareshwar. We did an unscripted show like Fabulous Lives of Bollywood Wives, and The Fame Game is our first scripted show.

How was The Fame Game designed?

Provided: Sri Rao approached us, he is the creator of the show. Karan (Johar) loved the material, and that was the starting point for us. And then he said he sees Netflix as the show’s platform. We’ve been dying to take a trip with Netflix, and what could be better than this fabulous scripted show.

Monica: We worked on several formats in a short period of 2 years. Scripted content takes longer to create. We did Searching for Sheela, a feature-length documentary, which was also new to us. The story of Fame Game is very powerful. Sri Rao always wanted to launch Madhuri. It’s about a celebrity who lives in the spotlight and what happens to her personal life because of it and how the lines blur. It’s a story that mixes family atmosphere, mystery and suspense.

How difficult was it to shoot during the pandemic?

Monica: We worked on the show during the pandemic, during the most difficult times. Dharma and Netflix were really in partnership on this. Apoorva was central to production at this time.

Provided: We had just started filming and Covid hit. It’s a very daunting task when you have so many people ready to start working and something goes wrong. A lot of things went wrong during this time thanks to Covid, but we managed to make it through with the support of Netflix. When things are delayed, money is lost, but we never felt that. The safety of the crew was always on their mind. The love between the two companies will be reflected on the show.

How does The Fame Game mix family drama with elements of a thriller?

Provided: In a long format like a scripted show, a simple vanilla track won’t work. You do 8 episodes of almost 45 minutes to an hour. So you have to make it immersive, engaging and entertaining for the audience. At the heart of it, it’s a family drama, but it features all the complexities of life as a superstar, the price to pay for stardom.

Monica: In a frenetic format, the thrillers give you an emotional ride. Curiosity is a very important emotion for human beings, they want to know, their mind wants to anticipate and you keep getting sucked into a story. Thrillers have really taken off on streaming.

When Dharmatic and Netflix come together, what’s the pressure to deliver?

Provided: The pressure is enormous, you are exposed to so much content across the world, so we have to constantly evolve. You need to create content that cuts through the cluttered noise of the marketplace.

Monica: It’s the right kind of pressure. When you have the ability to tell stories and you have partners like Dharma, we can raise the bar and deliver the best. This is the most exciting part.

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