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Supernatural genre gives writers most creative liberty

It lets you discover finer sub-classifications.

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MUMBAI: Writers of the popular TV show Naagin, Mukta Dhond and  Mrinal Jha, explored the scope of the supernatural genre at The Content Hub 2020 organised by indiantelevision.com.

Dhond said that the most exciting thing about fantasy is that it gives creative liberty to writers. As they say, anything is possible in the fantasy world which usually is not possible in other human stories. Human situations give you certain amount of possibilities but in fantasy there is so much more that is possible. There are some real stories; outside of that there is a whole world of small creatures who have power. Naagin is a female superhero; there are very few female superheroes worldwide, especially here in India.

“Naagin is a woman who does what she wants to do. She is a woman who has power. She is able to fight back and take revenge, but the world doesn’t hate her. The character can do unimaginable things that we cannot think of. She tells people that they are wrong and the Indian audience accepts it. Naagin is somebody like just you and I. But they are able to speak their mind. The funniest part of doing Naagin is that there is no limit, anyone can turn around and do anything. You are free to write what you want. You can just close your eyes and think something, the fantasy world takes you there. That is the beauty of supernatural shows,” said Dhond.

According to the panelists, for several years the supernatural genre was missing on Indian television. Aahat was the only show that continued for a long time. Otherwise no one  wanted to venture into it. And later Naagin and Nazar happened which opened the door for plenty more shows.

They believe that the most exciting part for writers working on fantasy is the thought of coming up with unique ideas. It gives you the liberty to think out of the box.

Jha said that the supernatural genre also demands pace in writing which sometimes is a challenge. "The events of each minute are very high generally and you cannot borrow from the real life around you. You have to imagine constantly and keep creating. The plots and twists have to be new every time. That is the exciting part. But the struggle is to find something new to tell every week,” she said.

Sharing the same sentiments, Dhond said: “People in India have less patience. They want romance, action, drama, and revenge - all in one episode. The story that I finish in six months in a daily soap, it is over in its fourth week in Naagin. So, the volume of content generation that happens in fantasy shows like Naagin or Nazar becomes high. It is like surprising yourself and the audience every day.”

India’s obsession with knowing the future and foretelling gave birth to their new show Divya Drishti. The story is about a girl who can see the future.

“Also, what happens while writing shows like Naagin, Nazar and  Divya Drishti is that you discover the classification of what is called supernatural. For example, Nazar is a creature horror. Why is it a creature horror and why isn’t it a superhero is an interesting classification because they dictate how you tell the story. This is the key part of doing supernatural, you are able to identify sharply as to what is the template of the story that you are portraying,” said Jha.

While answering the question of picking a genre while making a career in writing, Dhond said, "I started my career by writing for a supernatural genre. The first book which I did was called "November Rain" which later went on to become a series on Zee TV called Tum Bin Jaaoon Kahaan. I wrote lot of Mano Ya Na Mano at that time. It just came my way. Eventually I discovered my interest in that genre.”

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