Javed Akhtar is making his debut as a writer in the digital realm with Barefoot 11, an upcoming web-series by Voot, an Indian online streaming service.
“This is something I have never done before, so it’s really exciting,” revealed the writer to Indian Express while adding that this was an opportunity to experiment for him: “I have done a lot of film screenplays but writing for a web-series is a different ball game altogether. It has a very different and dramatic structure. Writing for web facilitates you but also adds more responsibilities. Unlike films, you have a lot of time to play around with the script. But will you be capable to keep the audience interested for so long? That’s the real challenge. It tests you to write episodes that will keep one hooked throughout.”
He also had nothing but good things to say about the format of web content: “There are so many original series being made. And I must add the standard is superb. There’s so much for the audience to consume. I have been hooked to quite a few of them. Personally, House of Cards remains at the top till now. I am eagerly waiting for its next season, which is supposedly its last. I am amazed to find so many well-written shows on the web.”
Barefoot 11 is the story of two Indians, a Muslim and a Hindu who manage to unite people through the power of sport, football in this case. The show will go on floors soon and will ‘celebrate the golden era of Indian football in the country.’
Akhtar also shared, “As the name suggests, it’s about 11 football players. And barefoot not only symbolises them playing without shoes but that there was nothing between them and their land. It’s much more than just a sports story. It’s an uplifting tale that will make you feel proud of your nation.”
Talking about the challenges of writing a period drama, he explained “It is paradoxical in a way. When we were doing Lagaan’s music, we had to make songs that seemed to be sung by villagers but our audience was urban, so it was a challenge to create a balance. Similarly, when you are writing a historical piece, it has to match with time. What has been done 25 years back, wouldn’t work today. The tempo, pitch and energy level are different. We cannot let it be out of sync. Even when it comes to words, you sometimes have to imagine that maybe they spoke this way. The sense of history has to be there but taking in view the comprehension of the younger generation. Trust me, it’s like walking a tightrope.”
No release date has been announced as of yet.