Unless you have been living under a rock, Sree Sonic has probably already become a household name. Sporting that signature handle-bar moustache, Sree has an acquired taste for pranks; taking pleasure in the temporary misfortune of another being and finding humour in it, in the name of some good old-fashioned entertainment.
Sree sneakily crept into our hearts and homes with his variety shows on ASTRO called Pettikulle Enna and Eneke Vaa. Both of his shows went on to win Edison Awards, bagging the Best Comedy and the Best Prank Show award, respectively. In all his success, Sree noticed a big gap in the local Malaysian Indian entertainment scene; there was not enough LOCAL CONTENT!
Sree observed in utter disgust and frustration, like the rest of the society, when Malaysian media giants would spend thousands to fly in talent from India to be featured on local shows instead of providing the platform that homegrown talents needed. When push came to shove, Sree realised that if it was up to him to single-handedly revolutionise an entire industry, then so be it.
Two months ago, Sree Sonic and his team of creatives set up camp and launched their very own online channel that is the FIRST 100% local Tamil channel. With a head full of dreams and a heart full of hopes, Varnam decided to catch up with the men himself, to get an exclusive preview of his new channel, Sree Sonic.
Shangkharee: As Rome was not built in a day, so is not any self-made person. Tell us how was ‘Sree Sonic’ built?
Sree: Just an island boy with big dreams.
I was born and raised in Pangkor Island and my love for photography started at a very young age. At 15, my parents abandoned me and I was raised singlehandedly by my grandmother. I think photography was my way of expression and a form of escapism. As soon as I finished school, I packed my bags and traded the sand and sea for this concrete jungle and a promise of a better future.
Moving to Kuala Lumpur at 18, I learned the knacks of photography and story-telling, with a side of hard-knocks. The digital age had not yet dawned upon us and I would be seen wondering with my film camera at weddings and parties, trying to make a career out of it. With years, I slowly moved into creating more corporate content before taking the leap to join TV.
The first video content I released gained lots of traction online. I decided to prank popular Malaysian RJs, Aanantha and Uthaya, in a mock gun-point robbery. Their reactions were priceless and the video spread across the internet like wildfire. Somehow, this video caught the attention of Christopher from Chris Films and he gave me first break on TV. Within no time, I found 2 of my variety shows, Pettikulle Enna and Eneke Vaa, on ASTRO.
Shangkharee: You have an incredible talent at creating highly-engaging content for TV and digital in the past years. How do you come up with such ideas?
Sree: Content is a psychological game.
It is heavily dependent on your ability to observe and draw conclusions from societal interests and habits. You have to understand what people are passionate about. It can be something that they love or hate.
If you understand the people around you, coming up with content won’t seem like a chore. At the same time, I think it so important to be open to suggestions from others. I never shoot down any ideas brought up by my team or the people around me. If you never try, you will never know.
Shangkharee: As a rebel of sorts, you are planning to revolution content in the local Tamil entertainment industry with the first 100% local content channel. What can we expect from your new channel?
Sree: We launched our channel on Youtube called Sree Sonic about 2 months ago and it has been received very well. Right now, we have uploaded smaller content as a ‘warmup’ for what our audience can expect in the months to come.
We are planning to create content that has the quality of television and the freedom of digital. Everything ranging from fashion, food, travel, comedy will be available on the channel and some content will go up to 50 minutes. We even have a kids show on Tamil nursery rhymes for our younger members.
After testing the market with our content, we realised that in the second month, our biggest content consumers come from India, followed by Malaysia, Singapore and USA. So, we are also planning a cooking show that will cater towards our viewers in India. Usually, we are the ones who consume the content from there, but this time it will be the reverse.
Shangkharee: I am keen on what will be your signature content on this channel.
Sree: I have many plans for the content I will put out, but the one I am most excited about is my cooking show. A lot of my followers on social media are every engaged when I post videos of me cooking for my wife and children. We will be taking the same concept and create a show around it. In the first episode, my family and I will having a picnic at a waterfall and I will be demonstrating how to make Guinness Stout Chicken.
Shangkharee: Everyday there are hundreds of new channels being launched online. How do you stand out in the crowd and ensure this channel becomes successful?
Sree: Let me explain this to you in words that I know. So, with lots of content creators online it also means there will be more ‘kuppe (rubbish) content’ too. The good ones will always shine against the rest. I think it also important to create high quality, engaging content that will stand the test of time, instead of just banking on sensational and viral topics. Top that with a healthy effort for technical optimisation, we will definitely become successful.
Shangkharee: What are your hopes for this channel?
Sree: I want to produce content that is made locally with a global appeal. The channel is aiming to develop and incubate as many fresh faces and talents. We want to hold space for the next generation of entertainers, actors and hosts in Malaysia. Within a few months, the Sree Sonic channel will also be open to accepting brands that wish to advertise with us for a wider reach of audience in the digital landscape.