The tyranny of many things

Udbhavi Balakrishna

Nikesh Murali, award-winning voice actor, writer and creator of audio and voice fiction of the critically acclaimed horror storytelling podcast ‘Indian Noir’, spoke about his experiences with NSoJ students and faculty virtually on Friday, the 19th November.

Mr. Murali traced his love for dark stories back to his childhood, when there was no content censorship in his home. He recalled that at the age of 8 he watched all the great horror movies from the 60s to the 80s and then switched to reading crime reports in the newspapers. He believed that even today, if he was to be entertained by anything, it would be a good horror movie. Despite the accolades he has received, getting published has not been easy for Murali, due to the growing competition offered by social media and television. The belief that the books wouldn’t last long persisted.

Getting around the world didn’t help either, he said, as people weren’t interested in the stories he wanted to tell anymore. This caused him to take a break from writing, but he continued to examine how stories worked and were written for television.

It was around this time that he started reciting poetry on Twitter and began to gain traction online, landing dubbing gigs and a role in an audio drama. Podcasting as a medium made sense then, as he learned that he could marry all of his abilities together – writing, storytelling, storytelling, etc. He began to experiment with the medium, starting with horror and crime, and so, Indian Black was born.

“Podcast media has breathed new life into my artistic life. “

He then learned audio engineering, audiobook storytelling, and acting so he could improve in his craft. Through his work he has celebrated the pulp tradition and culture of India, incorporating his love for the niche with the rich influences of regional literary fiction.

Mr. Murali said that approaching writing as the only art form you would explore is “tyranny of the art form”. He encouraged listeners to explore different avenues and practice artistic inclinations like theater, music, visual arts, film, or art forms in which they might wish to try their hand.

He said it’s important not to approach stories of a big horse, but a lot of reporting is now happening from that kind of perspective, which leads people to feel alienated or to feel like strangers, invisible and even ridiculed. He believed that “Go down in the mud and turn the lens inwards” could lead to better results. His podcast, Indian Noir, talks about these same clashing themes.

Mr. Murali did not believe the details of the crime and horror should be censored. In his opinion, one of the reasons many podcasts shy away from a detailed description of horror is that it requires some skill. “I don’t (describe) for the sake of being graphic; it’s always story specific… We should push as much as possible and see if it’s relevant ”, he said.

One of his main mantras is that there can be no dullness. Things have to keep moving, kind of like an airport thriller. He believed that the news and media industry could take advantage of potential podcast offerings to reach the most remote areas of the country.

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