INDIA: Narendra Kumar Firodia, from Maharashtra, India, is one of those for whom success means helping and sharing. Firodia is the founder of I Love Nagar, a foundation to reach out to the people of Ahmednagar. This dynamic man is a successful entrepreneur, filmmaker and has recently launched an OTT platform, 1OTT – he rides us through his journey, with Transcontinental Times’ 360-degrees Live Show.
Regional content is king
Firodia said that for a filmmaker to flourish in India, the focus should be on regional content. India is a land of languages and a recent survey says that 62% of the Indian population are non-English speaking, so there is a bigger scope for films in regional languages here.
“Although India is known for Bollywood, if we have a filmmaker in Maharashtra, they can focus on their regional language, Marathi. Maharashtra is a rich heritage state, and with the talents here, the opportunity is immense,” Firodia told Bhondekar.
Inspiration for filmmaking
Ahmednagar Mahakarandak is a stage play competition that takes place every January in Maharashtra, Ahmednagar and through the Shantikumarji Firodia Memorial Foundation, the filmmaker has been supporting this stage play for 10 years now. He started watching their plays, that’s when he realised, “acting is a very important part of our cultural life, and acting on a cultural stage and in a movie are different. There are no re-takes for stages. My love for theatre and movies started from these stage performances.”
“Through Ahmedagar Mahakarandak I got connected to the Marathi film industry, I produced my first movie in 2015, a Marathi movie called Aga Bai Arechyaa 2.”
I Love Nagar – Your love for the city
“I Love Nagar Foundation was started for Ahmednagar, it is a small city with a population of six to seven lakhs. I Love Nagar is ‘your love for the city.’ The city has a rich culture and talented actors, I want to bridge the gap using my foundation to support the people in the cultural fields and their talents, to support the right actors and writers.”
Although not directly related to filmmaking, I Love Nagar works for the betterment of the city people. Firodia aims to club filmmaking and his love for Ahmednagar by helping the city people to come on the world stage.
Recently, Firodia launched his OTT platform, 1OTT along with Indian film and television actor, Swapnil Joshi.
The OTT space has really grown in the last year, during the pandemic. What we understood during the pandemic is that data is very cheap in India, be it the number of subscribers or having access to mobile phones, Firodia opined.
“With Netflix, Amazon Prime and several others, definitely there is a lot of competition. But the way I see it is, if you go back to the 90s, there was only cable TV – Doordarshan or DD Metro, then the satellite revolution started, hence today we have thousands of satellite TV channels. So what satellite TV was in the 90s, I feel OTT is today. 10-15 years from now, we will be flooded with OTT likewise.”
Talking about what content 1OTT would be offering to customers, Firodia said that he is a strong believer in regional content. Their platform is a vernacular medium, wherein content will be streamed in Marathi, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Gujarati as also international content will be dubbed in these regional languages.
“In 2020, through Ahmednagar Mahakarandak we were planning to launch an OTT platform of our own, and then the pandemic happened. I think we have entered OTT at the right time when the revolution has just started.”
Watch the whole interview: