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‘OTT has stringent censorship than theatrical releases'

We just wanted to stay true to our conviction on showing people what happens inside a hostel. I believe we have succeeded in our attempt,” begins Sathish.

‘OTT has stringent censorship than theatrical releases
Engga Hostel Poster

CHENNAI: The team of Engga Hostel lit up the office of DT Next with their jokes and laughter as director Sathish Chandrasekaran along with his cast Avinash, Chu Khoy Sheng, Samyuktha Viswanathan, and Saranya Ravichandran drop by to talk about the series at length

If you believe that Tamil series Engga Hostel, the remake of Hindi web series Hostel

Daze, was fun, the team is lot more fun. While some interviews require a set of questions, this team doesn’t need that. You trigger one of them to talk, everyone takes a cue from their team members and we are in abundance of inputs.

We trigger the quiet one among them—director Sathish and he says, “We made the series knowing that there will be feedback, good and bad, even from the youngsters. We just wanted to stay true to our conviction on showing people what happens inside a hostel. I believe we have succeeded in our attempt,” begins Sathish.

The five-episode series that premiered on Amazon Prime Video is a laugh riot. However, it deals with issues like acceptance, identity crisis, friendships and relationships. “I was able to relate myself in my character as I went through the same cycle of emotions when I was in college. As soon as I heard this, I couldn’t refuse and I take this as an occasion to thank Sathish sir. I strongly felt I represent the majority of girls in our society. Also, my previous roles were all touch-and-go. In Engga Hostel, I have vast screen time and who would say ‘no’ to such a package,” she says with a smile.

Sheng agrees with Saranya and says that he was able to fit into someone’s shoes of a northeast boy trying to get accustomed to Tamil Nadu.

“I couldn’t agree more on what Sathish wanted to convey to the audience with my character. I am a guy who came from China when I was a kid and settled down here. Sathish thought I’d fit the bill and of course playing a guy who learns Tamil was a lot of fun.” he laughs and looks at Avinash who plays Chithappu in the series.

“I was apparently handling the post-production part of the series and ended up being an actor by accident.

When Sathish saw me at the audition he was surprised. Chithappu is a messy person but I cannot really divulge if I am the same off camera too,” laughs Avinash. Samyuktha says that her theatre experience did a world of good when it came to Engga Hostel. “People know me as Samyuktha but even if there is one person who addresses me as Ahaana from Engga Hostel, I would be overwhelmed. Also, the dynamics of the group helped get us into the skin of the character. The way we got along with others was one of the crucial factors for the output of the series,” says the actress.

Sathish says that though there is creative liberty in making content for OTT platforms, there are some stringent norms to be followed. “I would say it is even stricter than the CBFC. Our content goes through various filters before premiering it on the platform,” he concludes.

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Kaushik Rajaraman
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