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Can you convince Bollywood stars to take part in a show, which is not on a TV channel and not supported by big budget producers?  Where they don’t get paid: one not driven by TRP’s,  and which is unscripted so the stars can speak their mind?

Devansh Patel did.

Devansh launched his weekly Bollywood talk show Freaky Fridays with Devansh Patel the enlightened way: on YouTube. Using his personal relationship with the stars, he aspired for an atmosphere of casual intimacy, and while he has not gone in for crowd funding—yet—he is using the power of the internet to democratise access to content.

Given, the barriers between the stars and the audience are already collapsing thanks to social media, it seems the logical next step to show them in their natural habitat, which is what Freaky Fridays aims to do.

Devansh Patel is a Bollywood Columnist with over a decade’s experience writing about Indian movies. He writes for Bollywood Hungama and for the Trinity Mirror Southern Group, UK. Here is a short Q/A with him:

a. How did Freaky Fridays come about?
The idea came about one day while I was sitting in Starbucks. The concoction of caffeine and cinema I tell you, is addictive. Anyway, so I thought why is everything so fake when you see stars talk about their movie? The same old questions; the boring so-many-times-seen-before routine. I wanted the stars to come out of their comfort zone and talk to me like friends. The result was Freaky Fridays.

b. Why call it Freaky Fridays?
So, while I was en route to do a pilot episode for my producers with Sana Saeed, the thought of what to call it still irritated me. But then I thought whether you are a debutant or Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, Friday—the day of the release— is a scary thought. You keep wondering what’s the figure gonna be like at the Box Office, what the critics are gonna say, etc. So called it Freaky Fridays.

c. So, is this just another Bollywood style show then? 
Just the whole vibe you get from the show is different from any other show. Yes, there is a Q and A but we go random. Sometimes stir away from the given topic and come back to it after a good laugh. Where have you seen stars eat on a Bollywood chat show? Have you seen them use swear words? Have you seen them as friends and less of a journo-celeb conversation and yes, it’s unscripted. I just land on the sets and start talking. We go with the flow. 

d. Do the stars not worry they are being shown ‘as is?’
No, they are not afraid because I don’t sensationalise the chat to get TRP’s like TV channels. They are themselves and the audience has never seen this side of them

e. Why launch this on YouTube?
It’s 2014. The world is in your palm. You are mobile enough to watch everything on your android phones nowadays. So why lose out on that audience – the youth, the urban youth if I’d say. YouTube is the right platform to get started and build that fan base. It’s quicker, easily accessible and the most important thing – you will never miss an episode. You go to the channel page and there it is for you.

f. Which was the most unexpected episode in the series for you?
The most unexpected in the series so far was the episode with Ayan Mukerji. It was tough to get the numero uno director of YJHD after its super success and knowing that he rarely gives interviews. He spoke his heart out: something not even Koffee With Karan could get from him. Also the upcoming Finale of Season 1 with Shraddha, Shakti and Siddhant Kapoor. As for the ‘Kapoors’, well, it’s never been done before. To bring the father, daughter, son together is epic. It’s unseen on Indian Television to date.

Finale of season 1: Shraddha, Shakti and Siddhant Kapoor

e. Would you have done anything differently ?
I think the final episode is going to be very different. It’s a Bollywood family together. So far you’ve only seen stars talking to me. Here it’ll be the big family, all laid back in their pyjamas, jumpers and track pants talking to me. I would’ve also wanted food to be a part of every show. We know stars get their hunger pangs but they control it but not here. And yes, I would’ve loved an excessive marketing campaign for such a show. Unfortunately, the producer didn’t have the budget.

f. How did you get the team together behind this?
I had a producer – Maximus Multimedia aka Devang Dholakia who has been speaking to me for a year about wanting to do a chat show with reviews. So after a lot of back and forth, we finally got it all together. I am the creator of the show and also the editor. The camera team is Devang Dholakia’s and without him this would’ve been just a dream.

g. What was the toughest part so far in getting to this stage?
The toughest part to put anything together is money. Once we knew that each show would budget to around a certain figure we got started but the next hurdle was even bigger. It was to convince the stars to come on the show. It’s not a TV show, nor do we pay the stars, nor it is backed by a big producer. It’s just me and my goodwill over the years that’s made all this possible to be honest.

h. What’s next?  
Season 2 starts May end, with the Writer’s Roundtable (Robin Bhatt, Milap Zaveri, Mushtaq Sheikh, Sajid-Farhad, Sukhmani Sadana), Tusshar Kapoor & Tamannaah.

Devansh Patel

Here’s a trailer of the finale of season 1 of Freaky Fridays with Devansh Patel, airing this Friday, 25 April 

You can watch the entire box set of episodes so far: featuring Randeep Hooda, Kangana Ranaut, Sunny Leone, Varun Dhawan, Nargis Fakhri, Ileana D’Cruz, Sanjay Gupta (director), Ayan Mukerji (director) Alia Bhatt and ArjunKapoor here: 

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