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International Emmys: Delhi Crime to Serious Men, Indian OTT Content Grabbing Global Eyeballs

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The International Emmy Awards 2021, being held in New York tonight, have three Indian titles in its nominations list – Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the best actor category for Serious Men, Vir Das: One India in the comedy segment and Sushmita Sen starrer Aarya in the best drama section. The International Emmy Award is bestowed by the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (IATAS) in recognition to the best television programs initially produced and aired outside the United States. The first International Emmys ceremony was held in 1973, expanding what was originally a US-only Emmy Award.

Indian content has only recently been gaining nominations at the International Emmys. The web series Delhi Crime won the Best Drama Series award at the 48th International Emmy Awards, held virtually last year owing to the Covid pandemic. The show is the first Indian programme to win an International Emmy.

Shefali Shah, the lead actress of Delhi Crime, says winning at the International Emmys among shows across the globe was a humbling experience. “Delhi Crime was a story that needed to be taken to the world. For me it had always been a winner before it was nominated or won at the Emmys. The nomination and subsequent win though was a humbling experience because we’re talking about shows that are picked from across the globe! Delhi Crime was dropped in 190 countries and was watched and appreciated by audiences around the world. It is testament to the fact that stories can be local but have a universal appeal if told well,” she says.

This year’s nominee Nawazuddin Siddiqui also agrees that thanks to OTT platforms, Indian stories are getting a global audience. He says, “Being nominated for the Best Performance by an Actor for my role at the International Emmys is a moment of pride and honour. The nomination is validation of all the hard work we poured into the film. I feel honoured to portray meaningful stories that are being recognised globally – which is now a reality thanks to platforms like Netflix. Great content is universal and Netflix ensures it gets that global reach. I am overjoyed to be returning to the International Emmys for the second time and it makes me happy that our stories are travelling far and wide and resonating with audiences all over the world.”

Other nominees from the past years include Sacred Games Season 2 in 2019 and Lust Stories for best TV movie or mini series. Amazon Prime Video’s Four More Shots Please! was nominated in 2020 in the best comedy section. Actor Arjun Mathur of Made in Heaven was nominated in the best actor category last year.

Radhika Apte was nominated in the Best Actress category for her role in Lust Stories at the International Emmys 2019. She also starred in Sacred Games, which was nominated in the same year. The actress says that OTT platforms have made it possible for Indian stories reach an international audience. “When I did Lust Stories, I never imagined I would get a nomination for Best Actress at the International Emmys. It is really great that platforms like Netflix are putting Indian content out there for the international audiences,” she says.

Ronnie Screwvala, co-producer of Lust Stories, says that an anthology film like this might not have gotten the recognition and fame it deserved and finally got, if it was not for a streaming platform like Netflix which took it to audiences all over the world. “Two years back we got a chance to rub shoulders with some of the best content creators globally at the Emmys and it was lovely. I think these international recognitions are a big achievement for the whole entertainment industry and something to be super excited about,” he adds.

While Indian talents continue to get a wider reach through the OTT platforms, nominations from awards shows like the International Emmys sure help encourage more stories that need to be told. Here’s hoping that Indian talent gets a winning moment at this years’ awards, too.

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