Ritam Bhatnagar, 27, completed his schooling and came to Ahmedabad for graduation from St. Xavier. Then he opted for Masters in Marketing for post graduation. Ritam is a young entrepreneur and he founded Freeway Entertainment Company in March 2011 which is an integrated film entertainment company. The company mainly covers Film Production and Film Distribution. India Film Project, Asia’s Largest Filmmaking Event, is Ritam’s brainchild which got acclaimed nationally with 25000+ participants till now, making more than 2400 films in last 5 years, proving it to be the largest filmmaking competitions of Asia.
Q) How did the idea of “Talk Shop” strike?
Every year, thousands of young filmmakers attend IFP festival from across country and they tell us about how they are looking for a platform to interact or hear out the Bollywood directors. We initially thought of doing reddits with directors but that was not making sense. The idea developed into starting a blog. And then we built it to do interviews at their offices. Over the period, the idea developed into doing a coffee show which was beyond professional talks. It evolved into Talk Shop.
Q) What made you pick the title “Talk Shop”?
Two things to it.
- Talk Shop means talking about work life out of office in a personal space.
- Talk Shop rhymes with Talk Show.
Q) Please throw some light on the show.
The show duration is around 25 to 30 minutes per episode. The episodes are divided into 4 segments apart from conversation. The segments are ‘Build a Scene’ where the directors are given a character, prop and a location and they have to build an impromptu scene with climax. The other segment is ‘getting real’, where we talk about their public perception by showing them tweets, pics and videos. The third segment is ‘In a Jiffy’ which is a fast forward question answer round and they have to answer within the least possible time. The fourth segment is ‘On the Rocks’ where the filmmakers are asked their personal choices like awards, what they like and what they don’t, what films are they interested and which ones they aren’t interested and much more.
Q) How many episodes have been shot till now?
We have completed the shoot of all episodes of this season. The shoots were very much fun since the show was planned for 30 minutes but the interesting conversations went on for 2-3 hours sometimes. Our editor has been in pain to edit so much content into 30 minute episodes since most part of content is very rich.
Q) Please share your experience as a whole.
The experience for IFP team has been very enriching. Where do you get to hear such life stories coming from the mouth of the person who has lived a certain struggle and come out to prove himself so strongly. I remember though we were not allowed to make any noise on sets during the shoots, but some answers by directors, specially build a scenes, led to team members ending up clapping in the shoot. We haven’t edited that in final episodes. It was a very natural reaction. We have tried to cover those conversations which they have not striked in the past. We have also tried to show the other side of filmmaker by giving them creative tasks on the spot and they have not only lived to our expectations but excelled every time. More than the show, I think the enjoyment to shoot with them, with no tantrums, and just pure stories flowing was one of the best moments of our lives.
Q) Why did you choose the online platform only to release the show? Is television or radio not that mass appealing?
We have a very defined audience and most of it is now present on web rather than television. Our audience age, 18 to 30, are the people who have shed the television and caught hold of convenience of web. Web is an evolving platform and it is bound to make it big since it gives liberty to watch your favorite content anywhere anytime. And in case you do not want to watch it, you just tap and close it. Also, web is perennial in the sense the content is there to stay for long and someone can watch it after 3 years as well. It makes lot of sense to be web-centric.
Q) As viewers, what can we expect from the show?
You can expect honest conversations which are not about filmmaking but about a person who comes from ‘non filmy’ background and makes it big in the industry. As we popularly say it, It’s not a filmmaking show, it’s a filmmakers show. These are the people who make stars. They are the star makers. It’s their brain’s image which gets transferred to yours using silver screen as a medium.
You can expect lot of honest confessions and lot of trivial stories about films. For example Abhishek Chaubey reveals how he made Alia Bhatt not to shampoo for 20 days for Udta Punjab. And many such stories that only a filmmaker would tell you.