From Adarsh Gourav to Wamiqa Gabbi: The breakout stars on OTT in 2021
This year 2021 gave viewers a chance to watch some engaging and novel content on streaming platforms. And through them, many names were brought to prominence, who delighted and at times, even challenged audience’s psyche through their performances across genres.
From Adarsh Gourav’s realistic portrayal of ingratiating manservant Balram in The White Tiger to Sahher Bambba and Drashti Dhami’s power-packed roles in The Empire, there were many actors that grabbed the spotlight and made an indelible impression on the audience’s mind.
One of the most gripping web series of this year, Grahan, an emotional investigative drama with 1984 riots in the backdrop, saw notable performances from Wamiqa Gabbi and Anshumaan Pushkar.
Pushkar, 28, reveals how he knew the show was going to be bigger while it was still in production. “This is the first time I am getting this kind of overwhelming response and I feel fortunate. Even when the show was in production, I was being told that kuch achaa nikal kar aa raha hai tumhaare liye. But the biggest approval for me was when the author on whose book the show is based told me that I did a great job and justified the character.”
The show also explores the love story of Pushkar and Gabbi, set in the time of unadulterated love. “Grahan did give me a lot of other opportunities to explore now. I am so grateful to the whole team of Grahan. It just made my future years better. So, I think everything from here on is going to be superb, amazing,” adds Gabbi.
Another edge-of-the-seat thriller that became a talking point this year was Tabbar, a heart-wrenching tale of a family. The audience couldn’t help but appreciate tha taut performances by actors Paramvir Cheema and Gagan Arora, who finally broke out of his lover boy image.
Calling 2021 a special year for his career, Arora says, “I never thought I could be where I am right now, it’s a very happy place with a long journey in front of me. Tabbar is one of those projects which does not come your way easily. I’m just thankful to the creators for trusting my craft and my hardwork and seeing what a lot of people could not see before. The response for the show and my character has been overwhelming and immensely reassuring for me. I can only hope the audience too keep on loving such characters as much as I do.”
For his co-star Cheema, who played a righteous cop caught up in strange family dynamics, Tabbar was a gamechanger.
He notes, “Today, I can proudly say that hard work, patience and resilience can do wonders... you just need to believe in yourself. Stay tight and keep going. It still feels like a dream. I am working really hard to be consistent infact putting in all the extra efforts to deliver the best of me, walking extra miles to show my love for acting in the ongoing projects, preparing my mind heart and soul for the future ones.”
For actor Tina Desai, who has been a part of films, it wasn’t until her performance in web series such as Mumbai Diaries 26/11 and web film Bob Biswas that audience took notice of her acting chops.
Sharing her thoughts on it, she says, “I’m glad and relieved that both projects got their release as they were mostly shot pre-pandemic and so this should ideally have come out in 2020. The response to both projects has been good, and I’m especially grateful that my work has been appreciated. Mumbai Diaries even made it to one the most popular hit shows of the year so that’s fantastic news. I haven’t worked in India for several years so it’s thrilling to be back with projects that have been received so well.”
Another standout from Mumbai Diaries 26/11 was actor Natasha Bharadwaj.
With projects like Aspirants, Chacha Vidhayak Hain Humare and The Family Man season 2, Sunny Hinduja became quite the toast of this year on OTT.
“I think this has been a humbling year all thanks to the love I got. I think I didn’t plan on so much and I would be at this level where I am being celebrated for my work. The love and popularity is a bonus for me. My focus is just doing good work and I want to continue to do so,” he ends.