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Storyteller

With Netflix, Monika Shergill has the power to tell stories that appeal to a global audience
twitter-logo Ajita Shashidhar   New Delhi     Print Edition: October 6, 2019
Storyteller
Monika Shergill, Director, International Originals, Netflix India

It's been a couple of months since Monika Shergill took over as Director, International Originals, Netflix. She says she feels empowered as with Netflix there is an opportunity to tell untouched Indian stories across continents. "Everything is done to enable great stories to come out."

Shergill knows about stories. She was the brain behind shows like Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin (the Indian adaptation of Ugly Betty), Dil Mil Gaye (an adaptation of Grey's Anatomy), Masterchef India and Satyamev Jayate. But OTT, she says, enables her to connect with consumers one-on-one. While TV is about family viewing, OTT allows consumers to see content of personal choice. From crime thrillers to legal dramas and individualistic themes, OTT platforms have been experimenting with differentiated content. "You have the ability to tell stories to people who can see content on personalised devices and that gives the freedom to tell stories that have never been told before."

According to some estimates, at the end of 2018, the subscriber base of Netflix in India had crossed a million.

Shergill, however, also believes that irrespective of the medium on which the story is being told, a story can't please everyone. "Different stories are for different people and a storyteller shouldn't try to please everyone. You have to be sure who you are telling the story to."

Are women better story-tellers than men? Shergill refrains from talking about who is better, but she does say that women are more sensitive storytellers. "That's how we are wired. We are also better listeners as we are more compassionate and that makes us sensitive in our choices. If more women's voices come out in the creative world, it will definitely lead to better stories."

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