“We can’t completely blame social media for human behavior,” says Creator, Producer, Director Siddharth Kumar Tewary as he chats with us over his newly launched social thriller Escaype Live on Disney+Hotstar and the rave responses that he has been receiving.
From serving your audience with epics like Mahabharat to now this New Digital India. How has the journey been?
When I had the opportunity to tell Mahabharat, I wanted to tell it to a generation like mine, who were around us and that is an approach that has always appealed to me. I have always wanted to reach out to the younger generation. With Mahabharat, it was more about how I looked at the story and try and make it more relevant for today’s generation whereas, with Escaype live, it was more about reflecting the mass of our country who possess dreams and aspirations combined with the real challenges that they face in their day to day lives. Escaype was definitely not a comfort zone but I was dying to tell this story and it has been nothing less than a fulfilling creative challenge.
What is your personal take on social media? Is it good or bad?
Whether good or bad we should at least be open to talking about the effects it has on us. It is definitely a part of our reality, a reflection of us, of our way of living and the faster we accept that our lives will become easier. Undoubtedly social media gives us a global platform to showcase our thoughts and expressions. The need to tell this story was to make people aware of where all it can go, and how much is too much? Because nobody starts off to have a bad result. And it is not about that anyway, it leads to good as well. So, it is rather wrong to say that it is all because of its bad influence. We can’t completely blame social media for human behavior. Social media magnifies everything that it touches – good or bad, happiness or sadness but people don’t know how much it really affects us in reality.
Also read: KK had this divine, soul-stirring quality in his vibrant vocals which required minimal rhythm!
Your show depicts the real India at its core. How difficult was it to pen down such real stories?
Nothing happens organically. The world around us was changing, people were all over social media, expressing themselves from different parts of the country. It took us time. We created IDs, spoke to them, met them, conducted research, and observed the way they would emote on a platform that gives them an equal opportunity, the magnifying effect it has on them, and the challenges they are facing in life. I wanted to showcase different people from diverse backgrounds and give a feeling of homogeneity. This is such an exciting time for young aspirants, social media is growing by the day and It is imperative to pick these topics and talk about them. Unless we don’t, we would never know, these too need to be addressed.
Each character is from a different part of the country. Why did you choose these cities as the base for your narrative?
Social media is a platform for all, be it someone like Rani in a remote village of Jaisalmer or a Darkie living in the capital city. Escaype Live too acts like one. It is an app not for a state or a city, it was for each and every person in this country who needed a podium to voice their talents and emotions. Rani, from a village in Jaisalmer, comes with big aspirations of becoming a star one day. Meena Kumari is looking out for liberation and acceptance that the app provides her which she is unable to, in the conservative environment of Banaras. Whereas AmchaSpider belongs to the city of dreams with eyes twinkling at those high rises that are just a look away but too far-fetched for a family like his. I based Darkie in Delhi because of the vibe Delhi has. Those Punjabi bagh parties and tip-top culture and keeping Hina in Bangalore were a part of the narrative that supported Krishna’s story. But each story talks about various aspirations and dreams irrespective of how small or big an area one belongs to.
Tell us about the refreshing music of the show.
This is a show that talks about the younger generation, it caters to the new India. And the music had to reflect the same. Our approach was all about fusion. We had to hold on to the Indianness at its core and yet bring about a global essence to it. And I think Advait has just done a brilliant job in composing the music and background score for the series. With Meena, we chose remixes because the character was such a person who picks old songs and makes a new rendition of the same while for Jaisalmer, we deliberately thought of picking folklore that gives our audience the true essence of Rajasthan.
Now that you have entered the OTT space with your first web series. What are your plans with One life Studios in the future?
To keep telling great stories and work with talents who are just as emotional about what they believe in. With One Life we are exploring different stories through different visual mediums like documentaries, Animation, Feature films, etc. One Life is a brand for today’s India and also holds a distribution company under its wings. Our vision is to take Indian stories and showcase them on different platforms throughout the world.