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Talk Shop: Rendezvous with the director

A new online chat show makes the film-maker the star

Host Megha Thakker (left) and director Ram Madhvani in an episode from ‘Talk Shop’.
Host Megha Thakker (left) and director Ram Madhvani in an episode from ‘Talk Shop’.

The best part of the second episode of Talk Shop, a new online chat show, comes when film-maker Abhishek Chaubey is given three things to build a story—a robot, beach and flower.

In the section called “Build A Scene", Chaubey is asked to improvise, and he concocts a strange story set in north Goa. It begins with a group of tourists from different parts of the world partying and ends with a robot falling in love with another.

What happens in between is the special, priceless bit, a rare peek into the idiosyncratic way the creative mind functions. It is something we wouldn’t expect to see in a media interview or a chat show. Talk Shop is a chat show dedicated to film directors that wants to mix the pleasures of the format, the fun and games it allows, with the cerebral bent of its guests. Its first episode, which aired on 9 June, featured Raees director Rahul Dholakia. “The idea is to introduce these directors to the masses and not keep it limited to film-making enthusiasts," says Ritam Bhatnagar, founder of India Film Project (IFP), a film-making community which has produced the show.

Talk Shop airs every Friday on IFP’s channel on YouTube. Each episode is 30 minutes, and the guests include Ram Madhvani, Sujoy Ghosh and Tigmanshu Dhulia, among others.

Chat shows are associated with celebrity guests, and in India at least, they are not film-makers—unless one is Karan Johar. But Bhatnagar says the Internet has brought about a change, triggering an interest in film-makers in general.

“Film-makers don’t have the kind of family connections like our actors do and their stories, more often than not, are more interesting," says Bhatnagar. If Talk Shop strikes a note, IFP has plans to produce a similar show with sports personalities.

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