From Samantha Ruth Prabhu to Regina Cassandra: Hindi OTT space draws big South names
With names such as Samantha Ruth Prabhu in The Family Man, Nithya Menen in Breathe 2, Roshan Mathew in Choked and Neeraj Madhav in The Family Man, actors from the south film industry feel the Hindi web space offers ‘abundant opportunities’.
The web space has opened up opportunities like ever before. And this expansion has allowed actors from every industry to work in Hindi OTT projects. With names such as Samantha Ruth Prabhu, who has appeared predominantly in Telugu and Tamil films, entering the Hindi web space with a bang with the second season of The Family Man, Nithya Menen with Breathe 2, Malayalam actor Roshan Mathew with OTT film Choked and Neeraj Madhav with The Family Man — actors from the south film industry have become familiar faces to the Hindi-speaking audiences.
But why are they choosing Hindi web space over Hindi theatrical films?
Actor Regina Cassandra, who had a small role in 2019 film Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (2019), made her full-fledged debut in the Hindi space with recent web series Rocket Boys. The actor says even though it was not a planned move, she did feel that the web space scores over films now.
“I have been around for a while but this [Rocket Boys] is something I hadn’t done before. I feel blessed and have a lot of gratutide towards it. With this [web] space, you are in every household and people have access to you, because Hindi has more viewership. I am in the right space at the right time,” shares Cassandra, who works in Tamil and Telugu film industry.
Actor Priyamani, who appeared in The Family Man season 1 and 2 agrees that the web is giving “abundant” opportunities” to regional actors who didn’t have a good run in cinema.
“They are having a fantastic run in the (Hindi) OTT world, and I don’t mean this in a bad way. The response to The Family Man was so exciting. I remember we started shooting for season two way before the first season released. We got to see the first two episodes in our directors’ Raj and DK’s office, we were surprised and excited with the way it was made. Everybody said this could happen in your and my household. People absolutely loved it,” she tells us.
For Kannada actor Aindrita Ray, who has two Hindi web series, Casino and Sanak Ek Junoon, OTT offered her a chance to show herself in a new light, instead of waiting for a Hindi film opportunity.
“There is a change in the way Hindi content is being made. It is way better than films. The web space has more scope. I find it very reassuring. For me language has never been a barrier. I have worked in Kannada industry for a long time and I have also Bengali films. The Hindi web space just happened to me,” she says.
In fact, doing web projects is opening film avenues for these actors, says Cassandra, adding, “After Rocket Boys, I know that more opportunities will come my way. I have put myself out there and I think there would be a change in what roles I get. There is more of a mark.”
Filmmakers, too, are being very open to have actors from the South film industries to add a different flavor to the casting.
“I believe that the web space has become this melting pot of talent,” filmmaker Tigmanshu Dhulia, who has made web projects such as The Great Indian Murder and Out of Love, tells us.
“ And people are cast according to the suitability of characters and not how big a name he or she is. I feel as a director getting established actors from the south film industry only means that we end up getting more eyeballs because they already have a great fan base. Also I feel some of these actors who have done web projects in the recent times are fabulous actors, it is a win-win for everyone,” says Dhulia.