Ankur Rathee: If roles are given based on surnames, then we’re tarnishing the meritocracy on which film industry should be built on
Actor Ankur Rathee says that web helped in honing his skills, gave him legitimacy in this industry so that I could work with directors like Anubhav Sinha, Bejoy Nambiar, Nagesh Kukunoor, among others.
Ankur Rathee froze with excitement as he got the news of Four More Shots Please! bagging a nomination at the International Emmys. The actor feels such recognition validates the fact that one’s work has resonated with the audience and he’s thankful to the web space for providing him a “legit platform and opportunities” to build his career on.
“Web gave me lot of leverage as an actor in international markets. For example, I’ve an agent in Hollywood and when I explained that I’m working with Bejoy Nambiar or Nagesh Kukunoor, toh unko farak nahi padhta tha because they had never seen their work,” he shares.
However, he adds, “When I mentioned that same content will appear on certain international OTT platforms, that raised eyebrows and that same agent understood the quality of content I was a part of.”
Rathee has done theatre in the States and is now looking for web and film opportunities. Back home, in India, he has web shows Made in Heaven and Mission Over Mars to his credit. Up next, his film Taish is releasing on OTT besides another web project being helmed by Nagesh Kukunoor.
“Web helped in honing my skills, gave me the legitimacy in this industry so that I could get a film like Thappad(he played Taapsee Pannu’s onscreen brother in the film),” says the actor.
Rathee points there are several struggles that an outsider like him would otherwise have to face in Bollywood.
“For example, if 100 major Bollywood films are made in a year, the majority of lead roles goes to ‘insiders’ and already established actors. If roles are given to someone based on their surname and not acting ability then we’re tarnishing the meritocracy on which our film industry should be built on. It’s not smart to limit things within this small talent pool of insiders,” he explains.
Not just this. Rathee reveals that at times, he goes for auditions even when he knows that the part is going to some insider or some already successful actor.
“I still give the audition not just hoping I’ll get noticed and considered by the director for other projects, but primarily because it gives me opportunity to work on my craft. Fortunately, OTT gave me lot more roles, otherwise it would’ve been difficult. I’ve started getting pivotal roles in the web space, films have taken a little more time,” says the actor, who plays the lead in Marathi film Nirmal Enroute.
With stars entering OTT many feel it would affect the content-driven format and restrict other talents. “It’s wrong to say that OTT is content-driven while films aren’t. Along with great content, there’s a lot of garbage made in both mediums too… Film stars doing web won’t change anything. Rather it’ll bring along more visibility,” he ends.
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Author tweets @Shreya_MJ