Saina, Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar: Films find a new lease of life on OTT platforms
As normalcy starts to crawl back in many industries after the second wave of Covid-19 subsided, the one sector that is still faltering is the cinema. People are scared to venture out of their homes, and with the dominance of OTT platforms, it doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. However, what has happened due to this is that a lot of films, which didn’t get a great response at the time of their theatrical run, managed to get a renewed lease of life upon releasing on OTT platforms.
The most recent example is Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar. Helmed by Dibakar Banerjee, the film released in select theatres earlier this year but didn’t garner much appreciation commercially. And it was only after it came out on an OTT platform, it fetched great reviews and appreciation from the audience and critics alike.
Actor Arjun Kapoor, who stars in Sandeep Aur... says, “I’m happy with the response that the film has got upon its re-release on the web. You can’t control or predict this. The film is perfect, the way it reached the audience might have been scattered and staggered through theatre and OTT, but a film which gets love like this, which be remembered for a longer time, it’ll be now selfish for me to say I wish it would have this or that. The film had a destiny of its own and it reached the audience one way or the other.”
Films that didn’t have the conventional star or masala value, too found a lot of takers in the digital space. Ramprasad Ki Tehrvi, helmed by actor Seema Pahwa, who made her directorial debut with the film, was talked about a lot when it reached wider audiences through OTT.
Pahwa says the biggest benefit of such platforms is that they don’t have to face the box office question. “You’re free to do your own creative thing. Aapka woh darr khatam ho jaata hai. These are the best platforms for anyone, even if you’re making a low-budget films. Theatres have their own charm but OTT platforms have given a lot of opportunities to actors and directors. I myself have been able to watch a lot of Malayalam and Telugu films, which I didn’t know before where to go and watch,” says the 59-year-old.
Trade expert Atul Mohan agrees to the potential such platforms hold. He, in fact, feels there’s a shift in the kind of stories being told and the way they’re being told.
“Makers are now thinking of stories that can appeal to people across the world, and different diasporas. These platforms offer them that chance to reach out. These films didn’t get noticed much during the theatrical release, but made noise when they came on OTT. That’s the power, then people have the option right in their homes, they take chances and good content comes to the fore,” explains Mohan.
Talking of her film, Sir, actor Tillotama Shome says to see their independently made film journey through a precarious festival circuit to it reaching the homes of people in our own vast country and the world was “an explosion of sorts.”
She tells us, “I had never experienced such a diverse and wide reaching audience to my work. It dropped silently on Netflix and then like this small wave, just grew and gathered momentum. The OTT platform gave our film a massive wingspan, but the audiences choice became the tailwind and we were suddenly flying. I’ll always be grateful and humbled by the power of these platforms and my journey on it has only begun.”