Special: Moving past web shows, Indian celebs are offering audio series as the next big thing
The last two months of 2020 saw the entry of Amazon’s audio shows Audible Suno and Spotify’s podcast. Both media giants brought along several celebrities, including the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Karan Johar, Neena Gupta, Vir Das, Mouni Roy, Nucleya to list a few, who are bringing audio shows across the genres of sports, drama, cinema, relationships, comedy and music. With growing interest in the audio segment and the entry of these stalwarts, it seems audio series could be the next big thing.
Life comes full circle for Gaurav Kapur who started his career as an RJ before he gained recognition as a VJ. Talking about his podcast, 22 Yarns, Kapur says, “It offers stories, myths and folklore from Cricket, which I discover with some of the best storytellers in the sport. Even for a die-hard cricket junkie like me, some of the stories that we’ve uncovered were bizarre and hilarious.” His series offers 12 episodes, each taking up a different aspect of the sport, including history as well as contemporary, India as well as international aspects. Each episode also brings on board a guest who is best to talk about the same.
22 Yarns streams on Spotify
Actress Mouni Roy makes a debut in the audio space with Matrimonial Anonymous. The show highlights the trials and tribulations faced by modern men and women in the country in their attempt to find love in an arranged marriage set up. “Everything in the world has a round route, what goes will come back. And, India has a tradition of storytelling. The gadgets have taken us away from the patience required to read or to listen but it is coming back,” she says.
Matrimonial Anonymous streams on Audible Suno
“If watching videos on your phone is giving you a pain in the neck, it’s time to switch to podcasts, it’ll keep your head held high,” declares Mantra Mugdh who started MnM Talkies, a podcast station that offers audio web-series ‘that spare your eyes and activate the brain’. He finds Podcasts to be the fastest-growing medium for the audience as well as advertisers in India and is happy that people are again realising the power of audio. “The world as a whole has once again realised what the power of audio can do, and with the way our lives are, we are always ‘on-the-go’ and podcasts can be your favourite companion,” he says.
MnM Talkies streams on Spotify
Veteran actress Neena Gupta, who is known for breaking the glass ceiling, the latest example being Badhai Ho, also has an audio show, Ae Dil Hai Complicated. The audio series brings alive the secret stories of sex, love and relationships in India. “It was very interesting. Even though I am so-called “modern”, I was surprised by the kind of relationships that people were in. There was polyamory, which I didn’t know existed, then there was the subject of threesome and I really looked down upon it but these young girls and boys were talking to me honestly and truthfully and it was after talking to them that I realised that I can’t be judgemental about anyone or anything. It is their life and in the end, it is their need. I learnt a lot from this show and it wasn’t just sexual, we also spoke to a guy whose mother is a prostitute,” explains Neena.
Ae Dil Hai Complicated streams on Audible Suno
Actor-comedian Vir Das’s Be Stupid with Vir Das is based on a graduation speech he once made. “The crux of the speech was that the stupid thing we do changes our lives more than the intelligent s**t we do. We pretend like it’s the intelligent decisions which count but it’s actually the stupid decisions that are more valuable,” says Vir, adding, “They are regular people with real stories. There is a guy who after his one-night stand cooked a really good breakfast next morning and the person he slept with said that he should be a cook and he went ahead and became a chef. There is a woman who left her entire set up in Delhi and moved to Mumbai with Rs 5,000 at the age of 52,” says Vir.
Be Stupid with Vir Das streams on Audible Suno
Anchor, comedian and political satirist Cyrus Broacha started his podcast at a time when he had little clue about the industry. It was a meeting with IVM Podcasts' founder Amit Doshi that brought him on board for Cyrus Says, a show he started in 2015. Focusing on life in urban India, politics, sports, civic sense, traffic, kids, food, and everything that matters (mostly), the show that has completed 447 episodes so far has seen guest appearances by people working in various fields besides sports and cinema. While one of his guests was a double MBA from an Ivy League college who quit everything at the age of 28 to start an NGO for girl child, another guest faced failure 17 times before he could put together money for his start-up.
"The podcast is about discovering interesting people. But since there aren’t more than 115 interesting people in the world. We may have to start repeating podcast custom made radio. Made to order it’s the future," says Cyrus while adding that he feels subjects such as sex, food, comedy and politics work best as podcast subjects.
Cyrus Says streams on IVM Podcasts