Mohanlal’s very first movie, made even before the famous Manjil Virinja Pookkal, is still sitting on a shelf somewhere, not seeing the light of day. It would be splendid if, somehow, a copy of Thiranottam could be retrieved and brought out for the public to finally see how the superstar launched his more than four-decade-old career as a teenager in 1978.
Siva S had this thought in his head when he walked out of the jobs he had been doing in the entertainment industry to start something of his own. The ‘something’ turned out to be an over-the-top (OTT) media platform in Malayalam, ‘Mainstream TV’, the first of its kind, made available on Play Store two days ago. ‘Mainstream TV’ has hundreds of Malayalam movies, short films, animation films, web series, tech reviews, cookery shows, music videos and a whole lot of creative content in Malayalam, all for free.
“It just made sense to do it because I have been in the media field for about 10 to 15 years, working with movie channels like Star TV and Times Network. I was in the core team that launched channels like Movies Now, Romedy Now and MNX. Finally, I decided to do something of my own. TV is on a downward fall and I knew I had to catch on to the OTT streaming industry, seeing how we are all big fans of Netflix and Amazon Prime,” says Siva.
He moved from Mumbai to Bengaluru and found two friends to join the team. Jayakrishnan, an IT professional, began doing the operations and tech support. Kiran Sankar, a businessman, became a mentor.
“It wasn’t easy at first when we approached people for investments and support. Everyone was turning down the idea, discouraging us with words like ‘you can’t do it’. We decided to go ahead with it with whatever funds we could shell out,” says Jayakrishnan, who is also the vocalist of the thrash metal band, Chaos.
Siva had no doubt that it should be in his mother tongue, Malayalam. He is from Thiruvananthapuram, born and raised there, and felt most comfortable in dealing with an industry he knew about. “It is not just new films. There are movies from the 1960s to 2010s, from the black and white rare ones to the popular ones and the new ones. We are getting them after talking to the studios and production houses. The bigger aim is to bring out movies that have never been released, (like Thiranottam -- but we are yet to get this one), which could not be distributed and are shelved somewhere.”
Another aim, Siva says, is to make it a platform that all small players could approach with their content. “Everyone cannot go to Netflix or Amazon Prime because they would have certain benchmarks and other aspects. The next best thing they could do is put their content out on YouTube. We want to promote all such creative content,” he says.
There is also a live TV, playing all the available content, if you don't want to sit and choose what to watch, Siva adds. "Plus, we are trying to create some original content," he says.