Mumbai: IN10 Media Network’s infotainment channel, EPIC, began its journey in 2014 with content focused on Indian history, folklore and mythology. And since then, the channel has continued to recognize the opportunity for differentiated content and experiment with it.
Despite endless challenges due to the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, EPIC unveiled its brand new look on December 16. With a new look, feel and new tagline- ‘Soch Se Age’, the channel has announced new programming in a bid to rebuild India’s infotainment space. From ‘Lakshya 1971 – a story of the 1971 war’ to ‘Raja Rasoi Aur Anya Kahaniyaan’ – a show about the history and flavors of regional Indian cuisine, the platform has brought a host of current affairs shows to its audience.
In this exclusive interview with Indiantelevision.com, the two production houses, Rangrez/FOODlooking Founder Ashraf Abbas and MASS Studios Creative Director Richa Pant shared the process of producing content for EPIC and how they overcame the challenges. by the pandemic during the period. EPIC AVP – content and strategy Nisha Thakkar also joined the chat to share how the new content resonates with ‘Soch Se Age’ philosophy.
On exploring new territory and producing infotainment content
Speaking about her experience, MASS Studios Creative Director Richa Pant said it’s been a bit of a rough year for her. While the Delta wave had a devastating impact on people’s lives, Pant said she found solace in work. “One of my highlights this year was ‘Lakshya 1971: Vayu Sena Ke Veer Yoddha’. A documentary that showcases the stories of Air Force heroes and the seminal work they did during the 1971 war, a war that changed the face of the subcontinent,” she said of his journey with EPIC.
After working with EPIC, she feels like she has explored different territories as a professional with the variety of new content offered on the platform. “I have been making documentaries for a decade and the channels and the public are constantly pushing you to innovate. With ‘Lakshya 1971’ we delved into military history and this is a first for me as creative director,” she said.
On new shows and integrating the philosophy of ‘Soch Se Age’
“Come to think of it, legacy shows such as ‘Raja Rasoi Aur Anya Kahaniyaan’ and ‘Lost Recipes’ were themselves ‘Soch Se Age’ when launched. ‘Raja Rasoi Aur Anya Kahaniyaan’ showcases history and food beautifully while ‘Lost Recipes’ revives long-lost traditions and recipes that were once hugely popular,” Thakkar explained. “In the past, many documentaries and films have been made about the 1971 war, but our show, ‘Lakshya 1971: Vayu Sena Ke Veer Yoddha’ is the first of its kind made from the perspective of the IAF.
On the challenges and limits of production during the pandemic
Filming and producing new shows during the pandemic was a challenge. While the entire entertainment industry paid the price, EPIC managed to introduce new content to its audience, but the production team faced various challenges and limitations while filming. Abbas shared that the risk of contracting a virus was high. “To ensure a smooth production, our idea was to identify and isolate those at risk,” he said, “But that became difficult when the cast and crew got infected. But we had engaged official agencies to conduct regular temperature checks and adhere to other safety measures.At the same time, we had to reduce the number of people on set due to social distancing.
On what motivated them to produce unique content for Epic
“In times of distress, it is always art that becomes food for the soul, our passion for ‘Raja Rasoi aur Anya Kahaniyaan’, the beautiful story of food in our country, has driven us to keep working “Abbas said.
On the other hand, for Pant, it was his personal link with Defense and the freshness of ‘Lakshya 1971’ who kept her motivated throughout. She shared that her father was in the military and she had already made a lot of defense-related documentaries. “This time, I wanted to focus on Air Force heroes. Many of them are in their eighties. It was the last chance to meet them and record their side of the story. The EPIC team heard my pitch and were equally thrilled and supported me all the way to make this documentary,” she said.
On efforts to keep realism alive in content
To make the shows appealing to the public, they partnered with the Air Force. “We double-checked all of our research with Air HQ. The film combined eyewitness accounts from our Air Force heroes, archival footage from that era, airbase recreations, and 3D graphics to bring each of the battles we focused on to life. We decided to keep the whole film in black and white, with only the testimonials in color and I think that worked out really well,” she shared.
Abbas, who is the founder of Rangrez/Foodlooking, said that their production house is very selective, so they always try to choose shows that we would like to work on.
On what prompted the channel to pursue new genres
The new content lineup is a mix of legacy shows that have new seasons of ‘Raja Rasoi, Regiment Diaries’ & “Lost Recipes”, and new shows like ‘India Post – Dhaage Jo Desh Jode’, ‘Jugaad Mania’ and ‘The Homecoming – A nation’s fight for its people’, shared Thakkar.
Thakkar noted that the EPIC ‘Soch Se Age’ journey took its first steps with the oath to think beyond the imagination and as it is said “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. Sharing what made the channel pursue these genres, Thakkar said EPIC has a loyal audience base. “Viewers resonate strongly with EPIC content. From the Food & History genres, which have a loyal following, we are now reaching out to new audiences with genres like Travel & History, Rescue missions, Innovations, and more,” said she declared.
On their personal favorite shows on the platform
Talking about his personal favourites, Abbas said that ‘Raja Rasoi aur Anya Kahaniyaan’, ‘The great Escape’ and ‘Adrishya’ are very close to his heart.
In January 2013, the EPIC channel signed its first-ever production deal with Rangrez and the show was, ‘Raja Rasoi aur Anya Kahaniyaan’ so we go back a long way. ‘Adrishya’ followed soon after and then we went on a big trip together. ‘Raja Rasoi with Ranveer Brar’ and ‘Tyohaar ki Thaali with Sakshi Tanwar’ too were extremely memorable for us, he shared.
He also shared how after a while the team felt exhausted as they covered all the important culinary stories from India. But it’s EPIC’s dedication to always go “Soch Se Age” which forced them to explore another dimension of the show. “We were forced to rethink the narrative and come up with the current season of ‘Raja Rasoi aur Anya Kahaniyaan’… we really think it’s our best so far, it’s poetic, has a greater emotional connection and a lot more time with the royal families,” he concluded.