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20-minute storytelling is the way forward, says SonyLiv’s Uday Sodhi

SonyLiv launched two short films on its platform – Papa we love you too and The Gift. Sodhi believes that attention spans are shorter nowadays and short films are a perfect way to tell a compelling story on the digital platform

(L-R) Suhaas Shetty, Mandira Bedi, Kushal Punjabi, Nandish Sandhu, Arya Kabir Sadanand, Uday Sodhi, Kabir Sadanand

Short films are generally released on the digital platform knowing that the right audiences will watch it. These films have been doing very well because they give writers, producers and directors the opportunity to tell a story without thinking about the various roadblocks that come their way while shooting a two-hour long film.

SonyLiv, the digital business of Sony Pictures Network India (SPN), is becoming a platform for showcasing such short films. It has over 500 short films available on its platform and recently launched two more – Papa we love you too and The Gift.

The film ‘Papa we love you too,’ revolves around the protagonist Vikas, portrayed by Jimmy Shergill, who is a 40-year-old single parent. A workaholic, his life centres around his professional achievements and materialistic acquisitions, eventually weakening his bond with his eight-year-old son. The shadow of this relationship is also reflected in the one that Vikas shares with his father, played by veteran director, writer and actor Lekh Tandon. This is a nine-minute short film.

The Gift, on the other hand, is a thriller which describes the complexities of contemporary relationships with actors Kushal Punjabi, Gul Panag and Mandira Bedi portraying powerful roles. The stylised narrative lays special emphasis on the visuals while the quick-paced editing throws light on how the ruthlessness of modern life and its overarching desires make one commit incomprehensible acts. This is a 19-minute short film.

Uday Sodhi, EVP and Head, Digital Business, Sony Pictures Network India, explains us how web series and short films are native to digital and are digitally friendly. Sodhi believes that attention spans are shorter nowadays and short films are a perfect way to tell a compelling story on the digital platform. He is convinced that a short film within the duration of 20 minutes is good content for his viewers.

While there is no specific target audience for the newly launched films, the film can be viewed among their core TG of 18-34 year olds.

“Short films are relevant to today’s audience and we will partner with more directors and producers for the same. We already have a partnership with Whistling Woods for the short films their students do. 20-minute storytelling is the way forward,” Sodhi asserts.

The discovery of short films is more through social media and word of mouth and that is how the platform plans to market these two. The launch of the two short films was a result of a good response from their existing syndicated content library.

When asked Sodhi about integrating brands in short films, he said, “There is a possibility to bring brands that associate with a cause, but integrating brands as a part of the story is difficult in a short film. The content is mostly advertiser-driven in India.”

Commenting on the films being a part of SonyLiv’s content library, Sodhi said, “The key differentiator of SonyLiv versus other digital payers is our ability to constantly provide content that mirrors trends in the society. In the category of short films alone, we have a library of over 500 originals. Compelling storytelling coupled with superior performances is a winning formula for creating lasting impressions. These films echo our sustained efforts at providing our audiences with original unique and thought-provoking content that resonates long after its runtime is over.”

Meanwhile, the player may look at offering premium consumers more content. The player will give premium subscribers a lesser time gap when they live screen the India cricket series that begins on June 23.

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