“OTT has given many talented actors the chance that they were desperately looking for. I have been a part of cinema, TV, and advertisements, and I have also been on OTT platforms. OTT offers actors more scope to explore their characters and flesh them out. If you look at films from 15 to 20 years ago, there was a certain formula to it — a hero, a heroine, a villain, and a few stock characters like doctor, lawyer, etc. Then, an element of comedy was added to this mix, and we got “the comedian”. Now, the format of cinema is also changing. People are focusing on characters who aren’t the main lead. I haven’t been the main lead in a film and yet, people love me and respect me. This is the gift of OTT, and this new brand of cinema,” our October 2020 cover star, Pankaj Tripathi had told us regarding the OTT boom in India.

However, with theatres not witnessing turnouts like they used to due to the pandemic, many big films have turned to OTT platforms for a release. Films like Khaali Peeli, Shakuntala Devi, and Laxmmi are all set for an OTT release.

“We knew the significance was always there but it was only restricted to certain kinds of audiences. With no access to movie theatres (due to the lockdown), which was taking away one key thing from one’s life, OTTs filled that void. I’m very glad that audiences get to see our work from their own comfortable places, maintaining their safety,” actor Vijay Varma told Hindustan Times.

“OTT has changed the face of entertainment in India. Nobody saw it coming. OTT is not just at par with Bollywood but actually marched ahead especially in the corona times. It has got a major push because of the whole situation. People, everyone from top to bottom are reconsidering their choices, their whole career plans. OTT is going to be a big part of their plans, everyone’s plans in the times to come,” agrees actress Kirti Kulhari who has been part of shows like Four More Shots Please! and Bard of Blood.

However, not everyone is as thrilled about the OTT boom.

“I’m just scared that it just doesn’t become a khichdi. That’s my only fear. It’s like so much is happening online that it might create a situation of too much confusion. There’s good and bad to everything. If so many OTT platforms will come up, and then each will have so much content, then something will also backfire,” Sacred Games actor Saurabh Sachdeva told HT.

Meanwhile, actress Rasika Dugal hopes that OTT platforms don’t release numbers, leading to the creation of a ‘star system’ in a space that is seen as being more democratic than the big screen.

“I think there’s no release of numbers at least so far publically, so there’s no chasing numbers. It’s still a chase for good content rather than numbers, which had happened in films. So, the competition is to generate more interesting content versus who can hit a certain number,” Dugal told the newspaper.


(Header credits: A still from She)