VoxTalks With Kahaniya : Creating An Innovative Portal For Storytellers Worldwide

Kahaniya – A Platform For Worthy Publications…

In the recent past, writing has markedly evolved into two distinguished arms – Creative writing and Content writing. While the former has been categorically defined as something of an artistic pursuit, the latter has been colored with commercial connotations. Both of these arms, although at times overlapping, courtesy film and media, have given the necessary confidence to writers in taking up the vocation as a profession per se. However, this demarcation, led to clear differentiation of quality and approach. Creative writing involved passion, but couldn’t pay the bills, and Content although provided for a few quick bucks, never truly combed through the creative impulses of a writer. Fortunately, over time a need to bridge the gap between these two was aspired. Within this need and want scenario, entered Kahaniya. The portal co-founded by Mr Pallav Bajjuri, aimed to provide a platform where writers could put out their creative affordances and reach out to potential clients, whilst also ensuring a qualitative consistency.  Thus, it was imperative that we talked to Mr Pallav about Kahaniya, and understand the opportunities that awaited passionate writers across the world….

This has been a very productive year for ‘Kahaniya’ as a platform one could say. The platform was instrumental in bringing out some truly interesting projects, both in terms of Publications and Films. What are your thoughts on it, and would you say it is coincidental that ‘Kahaniya’ has found success in all forms this year?

Well, yes and no. When we started Kahaniya, our intention was to create a simple platform for writers to find an audience and readers to find writers and content. However, as the wheel started spinning and we started interacting with various stakeholders within the literary ecosystem, we found specific gaps that needed to be addressed. From there, we have consciously pivoted into a platform of opportunities.

So, we set out to identify and connect opportunities for the writers in our community and that’s been story behind these successes.

While on the topic, ‘Kahaniya’ as it were, came into existence a couple of years back. As on today, how would you describe ‘Kahaniya’ as, in terms of what it stands for and what were the core activities that it set out to achieve as well?

As mentioned above, Kahaniya is evolving into a platform of opportunities. To put it simply, Kahaniya is the place where talent finds opportunities and vice versa.

As a web portal for creativity aggregation, ‘Kahaniya’ has perhaps marked its niche in the market as something which hosts quality works. Could you explain to our readers as to how you and the team behind ‘Kahaniya’ ensure quality over the platform.

Quality is a continuous process. We have editorial teams which constantly scan the site to maintain quality and decorum. Over time, the community has adapted itself to the quality parameters defined by themselves. It’s a cycle, essentially. One can draw parallels to Quora. At a time where tens of popular Q&A sites existed, Quora disrupted the whole game by bringing in quality content and creating celebrities, which over time created a self-monitored community that ensured high-quality content and conversations. It’s the same story with Kahaniya. Over the next few months, one will see more steps that we are taking to encourage self-monitored quality assurance system on Kahaniya.

While on the topic, how would you explain the procedures involved for a willing writer to submit her or his story upon ‘Kahaniya’. As it were, how does the platform itself help the writer bring their stories to the world in the shape of publications or scripts?

Getting discovered on/by Kahaniya has various scenarios. For different scenarios, we have different modes of discovery and connection at this time.

For people interested in getting published, we have Kahaniya Launchpad. Through Launchpad, we partner with reputed publishers for special campaigns. People who participate in these special campaigns get a change at a contract with the publisher. We are working on expanding this to a much simpler model, but that will take some time.

For people interested in scripting for films or web series, it’s a much more continuous process through the Kahaniya Konnect program. At any time, writers can approach us with their script, which will be evaluated by our team. As per the needs of the industry, we make the connection between the script writer and the production company.

The first publication this year to come from ‘Kahaniya’ is Daitya Diaries, a mythological drama written by KV Aditya. Can you take us through the journey of making it happen, particularly how this concept came into being and the selection process as such?

Quite a few writers found great audience on Kahaniya. As their clout started growing and readers started giving them rave reviews for their work, some of them approached us with a suggestion to print their works as books. We are not print publishers and we don’t intend to do it either, but we saw that these writers were struggling to get published and that was a problem that we set out to solve.

When we approached publishers, they expressed the problem of over-supply. They receive hundreds of stories each month that it’s practically impossible for them to go through all of them. Hence, very few first time writers hear back from the publishers. Culmination of these two experiences was the spark for Kahaniya Launchpad.

We partnered with Leadstart Publishing for our first Launchpad campaign. Although we wanted this campaign to run across languages, practicality led us to restricting the campaign to English. We set a timeline of 2 months where people can submit their manuscripts in the form of a Series on Kahaniya on the Launchpad page.

We learnt a great deal about running such campaigns. To begin with, our estimate that writers can pull off a novel in 2 months was absurd. Eventually, the campaign turned into a 9 months one. Through this time, we got thousands of manuscripts from around the world, but only about 300 of them were fully completed manuscripts.

At the end of the timeline, our team went through all the finished manuscripts and identified a small handful for the Leadstart team to review. After their review, Leadstart picked Daitya Diaries as it fit their reputation and market. The rest is history.

This has also been the year of ‘Kahaniya’ foraying into mainstream movies, with its story being the base for ‘Kalki – The Movie’. Can you tell our readers how a submission on the platform, ended being a commercial movie after all?

Kalki was one of the very first original series that originated on Kahaniya. Our team was so enamored by the plot twists that Kalki became the only topic of discussion during our daily communal lunches. Eventually, I personally got so intrigued that I started reading it, after all 46 episodes were published, and couldn’t put my phone down until I finished reading the whole series. It was so captivating.

As soon as I finished reading the series, I knew there was great cinematic potential in the movie and we started speaking with people in the film industry about it. Eventually, we pitched the story to Dr. Rajasekhar gaaru. The narration started at 10:45 PM and by 2:30, after, Saiteja Desharaj, the writer of the story completed the narration, it was agreed that Dr. Rajasekhar’s next movie would be Kalki.

Production companies are constantly reaching out to us for great stories. So, introducing a new writer is not the biggest problem. It is making sure that the writer has a great story and can narrate it well too. So, the first step for anyone looking to get a movie opportunity through Kahaniya is to start writing on Kahaniya and developing an audience. Writers who don’t wish to publish their stories publicly on Kahaniya may reach out to us through our Kahaniya Konnect page too.

Rounding up, as a platform ‘Kahaniya’ has now got the start that it was perhaps hoping for. Where do you see the platform growing towards? Could you tell us about any future projects and endeavors that ‘Kahaniya’ might be foraying into? 

When we started Kahaniya, it was more of an experiment to understand the market and its potential. After the success we have seen and the potential we see in this space, we realized that our tech wasn’t ready for our roadmap. So, we overhauled our entire tech engine and just released the first piece of it. So, we now have a completely revamped website and Android and iOS apps. This is only a start and over the next month, there will be major additions to the platform aimed at increasing the engagement and connection between readers, writers and stories.

We have another book coming out of Launchpad, this time in Hindi. The campaign has run its course and the winners have been announced. The book is on the edit desk and will be launched soon. We have also set ourselves a mission of becoming one of the biggest media brands in the world. According to this mission, we are making moves internationally with programs like Kahaniya Melange.

There is a lot of exciting movement happening in the media space around the world and we intend to make a dent in the space!