Pragati Deshmukh- From OTT Content to Book writing

India is a land of talents and that is again reconfirmed by one of the talented authors Pragati Deshmukh. Coming from an entertainment industry she proved that if there is a will you can show your sparks in other industries too. From OTT content making to writing… How was the journey of Pragati? Read this conversation I had with her in my latest interview session.

Hello Pragati, welcome to my platform “”. Many of us know you and your work but me and my readers want to know more about you and your work. Will you please share a brief about you, your education, family and career?

I come from a very closely knit family primarily spread across Mumbai, Pune and the USA. My father is a retired Army officer and I am grateful for the wonderful childhood I have had growing up in different towns, schools and homes. This helped to develop an adaptable and largely affable personality. Going on various adventures and explorations in the outdoors were my fav hobbies. After retirement, My parents settled in Pune where I completed my education. Being a commerce student I had never imagined I would end up in the media industry.

My extended family is predominantly engineers, artists, business owners and tech folks. But they have been very supportive of my choices and I am a very proud Indian Army kid! My husband has a tech company and my in-laws make me feel special everyday! I have been a part of the Indian entertainment industry for almost 20 years and worked on close to a 100 shows, ‘Jassi Jaisi Koi Nahin’, ‘Out of Love’ and ‘Mukhbir’ being some of them. I have assisted Anurag Basu on a film called ‘Barfi’ and in my time here, I have also worked with multiple companies like The Walt Disney, Discovery, BBC Studios and now Zee5.    

You are one of the experienced and talented media professionals making interesting content for film, TV and OTT. So how did you decide to make an entry in this world of entertainment?

I was always passionate about telling stories and drama! I used to participate in all school plays, theatre activities and story telling competitions. When I grew up and came to college, I really had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. My creative activities were only hobbies in my head. Until a friend of mine randomly asked me to come to Mumbai and join Balaji Telefilms. She was already working there and suggested I try it to gain clarity. I moved to Mumbai from Pune with a duffle bag with clothes for a week.

Stayed with my cousin at JVPD and joined Ekta Kapoor’s company as a trainee Associate Creative head. I had no clue about the entertainment industry or film making but as they say, the rest is history! Three months down the line, I had found myself an apartment, settled into this wonderful city of dreams and made enough friends in the work world. I enjoyed every bit of my job where I was learning something new every single day.

A Dark and Shiny Place- is your first work as an author. How different is writing content for media platforms and books?

The medium is different and hence the story telling becomes a little different as well. Given my profession, I am used to thinking in moving images. As a process, I first visualise every scene and then go on writing it in great detail as I see it in my head. That has been one of the aspects of my book that garnered a lot of praise and has been called a visual delight. That makes it more experiential. But I digress. A book is more descriptive and the narrative is a lot more detailed. You can go into various tracks without the restriction of a time limit. There is a much wider word count capping. With an audio visual format, there is the major restriction of the number of mins you have to tell the story. Within that time frame, it needs to be engaging with the need for it to be dramatic and/or visually unique.

A scene that you can describe in a book with love and let the reader savour it, translated as is on screen will bore the viewer immensely. The second big difference is the investment in the protagonists. In a book, it is easier to explore multiple protagonists and have enough time to tell each track and intersperse it with the central plot. In the visual medium, it becomes difficult to divide that limited screen time at the risk of losing investment in some primary characters. Another big difference is the subjects one can choose for a book. One can write about absolutely anything and it will still find its market. The focus is about telling your story. In a visual format, the story one wants to tell will have its restriction for genres.

You are a wonderful storyteller and we know that but what exactly lockdown did in your life to encourage you to write a novel?

Lockdown gave me the time to stop and think. I had planned to take a sabbatical but the universe presented it to me in the form of the lockdown. My husband and I had moved into our new home two days before the nation shut down. After the initial month of unpacking and life of confinement, I began to write. There were many horror stories of despair, loneliness, depression, hauntings and so on, one read in the news or heard from friends and family across the globe. And I asked myself a simple question- What if I was alone? That triggered a lot of fear in me and I started to weave this fictional tale. The motivation to write everyday and complete it came from my husband not letting me give up.

How did the plot of the book come to your mind and how long did it take to develop the full story till publication?


As I mentioned previously, the plot came to me from a simple question I asked myself out of fear- What if I was alone through this time and experienced some of the things I am reading about or hearing from people around? That got me to weave this fictional story. It took me about seven months to complete the first draft of the book.

Then another three months to polish, edit and share with my content editor. I had a few friends, my sister, mom and husband proofread and give their suggestions until it finally went to the publishers. They have been wonderful and were ready to publish it within two months. But it took another six months or more for me to be convinced about the book to be shared with the world. All in all, I started writing in May 2020 and it was published in June 2023. It has been an incredible three year journey! 

Paranormal elements are there in this book … is there any such paranormal incident in life of yours which helped you to bring this element in the content.

I wouldn’t say there was any particular paranormal incident in my life that helped but there have been brushes with subtle phenomena that I have often questioned in my life. Being an army child, I grew up in old cantonments and houses that dated over a century. There were always ghost stories floating about and feeling a presence in the house was a common phenomenon. I am also quite sensitive to energies. That coupled with my absolute fascination and love for horror movies and books simply inspired the pages I wrote.

As you are a web series writer, I am curious to know if there is any chance we can see A Dark and Shiny Place as an OTT series? If yes, then whom you will love to cast as the prime characters of the story.

I do create Web Shows, but not exactly write them. Having said that, I am keen on adapting ‘A Dark and Shiny Place’ into a movie rather than a series. But I want to give it more time as a book to grow into people’s lives. I want more audiences to read it and experience the story before they see it on screen. I feel that the depth and layers of this book can be felt better on reading first. About who to cast, I have a few thoughts and will let you know soon! 

We heard that you love animals. So, do you have any pets at home and how do you mingle with your pet?

Yes I do! I love animals and have a gorgeous dog called Ellie. She adopted us about eight years ago. We live in her home, our bed is her bed and she pretty much dictates our lives. She is the joy in my day and is extremely loving, caring, friendly and fun. The entire neighborhood knows us because of her and most of our friends invite us over only if she is coming along.

Who is your inspiration when it comes to writing?

I have been an avid reader and grew up reading Agatha Christie, Stephan King, Richard Bach, Nancy Drew, Frederick Forsyth and so many others. All these and many other great authors have inspired me to write. But I would credit my mom who constantly believed in my writing. She always pushed me to write since I was younger than ten years old. She would tell me – don’t worry if it is good or bad, just write. You will only get better with practice and you are good!

Who is the best critique for your work?

My husband. He always gives me unbiased opinions. His eye for detail is commendable.

Who are your favorite authors?

Agathe Christie, Stephan King and Harry Mulisch.

What are your other passions in life?

I enjoy cooking and home decorations. I have often toyed with the idea of doing a course in interior designing. I love travelling and being as close to nature as I can. And music is a constant companion.

Any tips for the budding authors?

I would say, don’t let anything or anyone distract you from your writing. The first step is to put the complete story down on paper. That is the hardest part, completing the story. Once it is out there, it is just a breeze to polish it. But tell a story you believe in and not because someone else wants to read it. That’s the way the most honest work happens and honest work always shines the brightest.

What next after this book and when can we expect that from you?

My second book is in process. I am hoping to be ready to publish in a year. And the story for the third is almost complete.

How different is the OTT world from the Bookish world especially in terms of audience/readers?

It is quite different. The readers of the book world are comfortable with a story taking its time to unravel itself. Visual medium audience expect instant gratification and lacks patience. Most of the audience are common, where the same person will read a book with a different mindset and watch a movie or series with different expectations. Even the creators of both mediums are different. Creating a movie or web series is never a solo job.

There is a writer’s room, a Director, creative team, studio team and producer who are all creatively involved in the story development. There are many different departments like the camera team, Art, costume, post production etc who come together to follow one vision led by the Director. And all of this is a process while it is being made. In the book world, the author is on a solo journey until it is completed. It is after that a small army gets involved but are still working off the original work of the author. Post publication of release for both can be similar in terms of marketing, PR and sales. The scale vastly differs and that itself defines the difference.

What are your future plans in regards to writing both for OTT platforms and books?

As I mentioned, I am writing my next two novels. And I will continue to create Movies/ shows. I am in fact planning a relatively major career move but cannot talk about it yet!

Define Pragati Deshmukh- in One line.

A passionate person who brings stories to life, manages people and business but secretly desires a super power to travel across the globe with a snap of her finger!