AgTalk | History, brought alive: Contiloe's Abhimanyu Singh

A trend setter in the Indian television industry, Contiloe has set a lot of firsts in many genres within the industry including crime, comedy, detective and horror. Currently, it rules the roost with some of the most popular TV soaps in its kitty like Bharat Ka Veer Putra - Maharana Pratap, Adaalat, Bhanwar, and The Great Indian Family Drama to name a few. 

Since its inception, the company has developed a strong body of work across varied genres for prime channels like Sony, Colors and Zee producing top rated shows ranging from family dramas, fantasy, crime, historical and thrillers.

Contiloe has previously produced historical shows like Jhansi Ki Rani and Veer Shivaji. Recently the production house is seen working zealously on another historical show from its kitty, Chakravartin Ashoka Samrat. Through this show, Abhimanyu Singh, CEO- Contiloe, narrates the incredible life of Emperor Ashoka, and his journey from being born in the woods to finding his place on the throne as the greatest Emperor in Indian history.

After graduation, Singh did his first independent production for the public broadcaster, Doordarshan under the banner of Contiloe which has since emerged into one of the leading production companies in India.  Having successfully produced over 60 shows and 2 feature films including all possible genres, the production house has come a long way.

With an aim to get deeper insights and to know more about their journey in the passé year, Adgully caught up with Abhimanyu Singh, CEO- Contiloe.

Adgully (AG): You have been in the business from two decade or so. What kind of growth have you witnessed?
Abhimanyu Singh (AS):
Contiloe as a company has been in existence from two decades and started with producing a show on Doordarshan. That was the era when producing a show on Doordarshan used to take a lot of time and there was supposed to be a long waiting for doing another show. When the television industry flipped in 90’s we started pitching actively to all the channels. It’s been now 16 years that we have been selling our idea and have been creating shows one after another. The journey has been quite eventful as we have grown from producing a show for just one channel, then and to a bouquet of channels now.

AG: As you have produced almost all sort of genres may it be Historical, comedy, crime or Mythology. Where would you like to experiment next?
The only genre where we have not yet forayed is the ‘Soap Operas’. Though we have fairly good producers in the ‘Soap Opera’ space but if given a chance we would like to explore more avenues in that space.

AG: Since you have had a healthy mix and number of shows, if you have to identify some of your landmark shows what would those be?
Sshhhh..Koi Hai is one of our land mark shows. It aired for good long 10 years, followed by Jhansi Ki Rani and now, Adalat also follows the league. The show was one of its kinds and it will soon complete 400 episodes. And I should tell you that writing a court-room drama is one of the challenging tasks and maintaining its consistency is another challenge. And we have been able to surpass both of them.

AG: With television coming a long way we have seen the change in the perception of the viewers too, hence does it becomes difficult for you being at the back end to deal with this evolving need and demand?
I feel variety entertainment is a must and it not only keeps the viewers entertained but also gives the producers or the show creators an opportunity to create fresh content thus exploring new genres. I feel more than being difficult it is an opportunity.  

AG: Out of all the shows that you have produced which have delivered the maximum?    
Well, to be very honest all the shows have done well but Thriller and Historical are two genres that have performed hale and heartedly in our favor.       

AG: Looking at the number of shows and channels we have in the Indian market, what according to you works well in India?
It is not about which shows or genre plays well but the content what one is airing is what plays a vital role. So if we have to see, then Soap Operas and Historical/mythology have been genres that have always performed well. If the content is good and engaging then the show by itself carves a place in the viewer’s heart. 

AG: Generally creating a historical show involves a lot of investment in terms of research, resources and money. What kind of research do you generally brainstorm while making a historical show?
Yes, it does take a lot of time primarily while researching and then while executing too. These shows are undoubtedly expensive ones. For example, with Ashoka, we had started brainstorming on it in the late part of 2013 and in 2015 we stand tall to execute our show. We started our research by reading various books that are published on Ashoka. So, it clearly portrays that we put in all our resources while creating a show like this.

AG: Having been catering to the need and demand of the consumers from more than one and a half decade now what according to you are the challenges that you face? 
The basic challenge that we as producers face is that we need far better breed of people in doing production. The job of a producer is relatively challenging and needs a lot of patience and serious nuts and bolts in place.

AG: What is the roadmap like? What is in the pipeline for the viewers this year?
As of now we are doing Hanuman on Sony, then ‘Lage Raho Chachu’ on Disney.

AG: Where do you see the industry heading in 2015?
I think, viewers will get to see really bigger budget shows and a lot more differentiated content this year. Though I cannot really say about the budget cost but at the same time this is also a fact that there will high quality shows coming up which will give a thrust to the industry.

AG: We have such out-of-the-box shows today, so what kind of innovations do you foresee in the productions space?  
Technology has been one of the huge innovations in every industry. But at the same time, if technology is used and utilized in a significant manner, it can do wonders in the television space.

AG: While high quality and big budget shows are set to perform well in the television industry but we also saw a huge trend of finite shows hitting the TV screens last year. Do you think this format has future in our country?
Yes, Finite formats are set to work but provided the content hits the right chord with the right mix.

AG: With such a vast array of shows that we have on every channel, what according to you exactly the viewers want?
Today people are looking at good stories which are straight, short and engaging. So if any show manages to hit the audiences in a right way then that is what will make the viewers stick to the show. 

AG: How do you utilize your resources with different genres at the same point of time? 
You need to keep hiring talent and expanding your team which will eventually make you give your 100 percent to every show that you produce.  | By: Aanchal Kohli | Twitter: @aanchalkohli


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