Anushka Sharma’s brother Karnesh Ssharma on her decision to leave Clean Slate Filmz: ‘It’s not a deewar’

NH10, Phillauri, Pari and critically acclaimed web shows like Patal Lok and Bulbbul are among the titles that Clean Slate Filmz, founded by actor Anushka Sharma and her brother Karnesh Ssharma in 2013, have created since its inception. The actor, however, bowed out from the production house a few weeks ago.

As Karnesh, who is running the production house now, announced Clean Slate Studioz, the world’s first ‘female first, female forward’ content platform, he spoke about Anushka’s decision and the path they will take in the future. He also spoke about plans to develop an OTT platform.

Excerpts from the interview:

What are the changes at Clean Slate Filmz?

I think it is an expansion. We were a film production company and now we have ambitions to be an OTT platform, a platform which focuses on women, where we’re telling stories of women and by women and promoting fresh filmmaking voices. There will be more participation of women in the filmmaking business. I think, for us, it is an expansion of our beliefs, and doing what we were, but now at a much larger scale, and having more people participating in the process of storytelling.

The OTT platform will have good stories, it will be genre agnostic. In all our stories, we want to have a positive women representation. We are looking at 15-18 original titles and about 300 hours of curated library of licensed and acquired content.

We are sensitive about women representation, so we will have more female filmmakers, technicians, and more women participating in the business of filmmaking and marketing it.

Since the inception of Clean Slate Filmz Anushka has been the face and soul of the production house.

Clean Slate Filmz was started by her, so nobody can take that away from her. She has been instrumental in bringing us where we are today. Whether it is acting or giving creative inputs to stories, she’s always been involved. She is in a different phase in her life right now and we have to respect that. But, she is still participating, we have Chakda Express where she is acting. Going forward, you’ll see her in stories which we are making. I think her priority has shifted and her time is restricted, because producing is a 24/7 job, and you can’t expect her to do that as she is a new mother now. She was very open and frank about what she said and it is all good; she is there with us in spirit. Moving forward, you never know what happens. I think this is the phase in her life, and there could be another phase in her life where she comes back, it is her company as much as it is mine.

How would you describe Anushka steering Clean Slate Filmz and bringing it to where it has reached today?

We kept it very simple, it was always about a good story. There was no maths to it, no science to it. We believed in telling stories that are different and which are ambitious. I think we kept our belief in working towards presenting the story and there nothing more to it. We were not trying to be different, we were just trying to chase good stories, we still are. You get it right sometimes, sometimes you don’t, and it is not a crime. But your endeavour and ambition to tell such stories should be there, and that has remained intact with us. Going forward, we’ve also managed to create a pool of young storytellers who have a fresher cinematic voice and now we want to upskill that. In India, we have got a huge population, we have talent, we don’t have opportunity, and for us it is going to be about creating opportunity for all, equality for all. That’s our focus right now.

It could have been easy for us, for her, to probably talk to a big director and ask him to direct for us. But she didn’t go that way, so it has been her belief and now we are taking it forward.

How easy or difficult is it going to be without her being a part of Clean Slate?

Any company is not dependent on one individual. What we have managed to do is create a strong team. So, it is not going to be difficult but we’ll miss her. It is not a deewar, it is not a dramatic stop; she knows everything.

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