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OTT adds spice to Indian content as Bollywood loses masala

While Bollywood stays shut, video streaming portals are importing fresh talent, crispy content and bold ideas into India’s entertainment industry that once banked on star power to crack the box office. Actors say over-the-top (OTT) services are spotlighting evolving preferences of new-age audiences into their streaming content. “Change keeps happening,” said actor Pankaj Tripathi, who grabbed eyeballs ever since he shone on web crime thrillers such as “Mirzapur” and “Sacred Games”.

“It seems there is a time of change happening in cinema with the coming of OTT. There is no other option than OTT currently,” says Pankaj. “Stories are important on OTT. Who or what is in it is not important. Talent and performances only matters here. Storytelling matters more,” he said. The 44-year-old also said OTT platforms are a nursery where fresh talent is blooming with ease.

“I am happy about it. I can see one after another talent is coming through the advent of OTT. Especially for those who take time to get recognised through films and there is a possibility here on OTT,” says the actor. Pankaj, who earned the spotlight in 2012 with a small role in the two-part film saga “Gangs Of Wasseypur”, added that content is king on streaming services, a relity that was perhaps absent during the celluloid era. The January release of “The White Tiger” on Netflix highlighted actor-singer Adarsh Gourav as he was nominated three months later in the Lead Actor category at the 74th British Academy of Films and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards.

Adarsh believes people are working harder than before to try and win over India’s burgeoning online viewers. “I’m glad that this happened because knowing that things aren’t permanent, people work harder and don’t take anything lightly,” says Adarsh. “Everyone’s focus is on innovating and making better stories,” Adarsh said that adding the change also spelt more opportunities for actors, creators, technicians. Vikrant Massey, who has been a frequent face in the digital space, said a newer generation of viewers has come to stay. “They don’t idol worship like probably people 20 years ago used to do,” said Vikrant, who has acted in “Mirzapur,” “Broken But Beautiful” and legal drama “Criminal Justice” to list some. “My nieces are eight and nine. They don’t watch Indian content.

They sit and watch Korean content,” he says. Actor Tamannaah Bhatia, who was in the crime thriller “November Story”, felt the romance of darkened theatres and popcorn has jaded. “I just feel that the fan following one could have amassed, say, 10 years ago will be tricky for the generation today, because with the situation we are in owing to the pandemic, emotions around films are different,” says Tamannaah. “The whole idea of a star itself is changing very rapidly, and people are watching content and liking content for the content, and not just for an individual actor or individual talent,” the actress said. She concluded saying that the way cinema is viewed is going to be different. The Hans India

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