How OTT culture helped boost acting careers, content catalogue
Renowned stars from the world of showbiz participated in insightful discussions about the evolution of entertainment and creative content across platforms, and their thoughts about the way forward for the entertainment industry at the inaugural edition of HT Nxt.
Evolution of filmmaking
Making films today is not the same as before, veteran actor Shatrughan Sinha said as he took part in a discussion with his daughter and actor Sonakshi Sinha.
“It’s a change for the better. Pehle superstars heroes hote the, kayi baar directors bhi hote the — Bimal Roy, Dulal Guha, Hrishikesh Mukherjee… Aaj teamwork bol raha hai. Kaafi badlaav aa gaya hai films banane ke tareeke mein. The commitment might not be there as much now, but people are working hard, especially the newcomers,” Shatrughan said.
Sonakshi, however, said that the commitment levels of today’s generation were no less than their predecessors. “There was more preparation earlier, as technology was not too advanced. Now, there’s more tools for composing, filmmaking, etc. Due to this, our so-called ‘mehnat’ is less, but commitment is the same.”
When asked which era was better — his or his daughter’s — Shatrughan laughed and said it was difficult to choose. “Har time ka apna plus aur minus hota hai. Hamare time mein teen-chaar shifts karte the, dates ki kami hoti thi. Aaj tak afsos hai aur khushi bhi. I wasn’t able to do Sholay as I wasn’t able to give them the dates they required. But I am happy that if I was not able to do it, it gave India an icon and superb actor, Amitabh Bachchan,” he said.
OTT as a game-changer
The boom in the popularity of OTT mediums has given actors more opportunities to prove their talents. HT NxT brought together four of the most popular names on the medium today: Rasika Dugal, Sayani Gupta, Kirti Kulhari and Jaideep Ahlawat, who said that a lot of genres have got the chance to come to the forefront on OTT.
“Because of digital platforms, people watched content from outside India. They have started thinking, ‘Why are we not delivering the same kind of content?’” Ahlawat said, adding that writers and makers have got more liberty now to create what and how they want to. Pointing out that accessibility has also increased, Kulhari added, “A lot of stereotypes are being broken, a lot of newness is coming into the industry. It is a great time for us and audiences.”
The actors discussed how they now have a wider pool of projects to choose from, since there is so much being offered.
“Being choosy is a very individual thing. It depends on where you are in life — mentally and emotionally, whether you have dates or not, whether the money is good or not… There are many reasons. It is not just an OTT thing. When I didn’t have much work, I was choosy, and now when I have way more work, I am still like that,” Gupta said.
Kulhari also expressed happiness over how the representation of women is changing because of OTT. “The writing quality is getting better, and women are rocking it in the OTT space,” she said.
Online is the future
Prajakta Koli, one of the biggest social media influencers today who is popular for her YouTube channel Mostly Sane, spoke about how content is the future, and “nothing else is ever going to work”.
Stressing on how that was what helped her stay in the game, the 28-year-old said, “I hit a major content block once, and was on the verge of giving up. But I kept putting out content and it helped me stay afloat. Consistency helps. I think our audience is very smart. They are well aware of every click, like, dislike, comment. As a creator, never take them for granted.”
She said that she no longer focuses on the comments she gets on social media. “It does not affect me at this point in life. Three years back, I was obsessed with it — wondering why a video got 50,000 less views, happy when I got 4,000 more followers. I don’t want to sound preachy, but I’ve reached a point where there’s no big or small. Four million [followers] might be huge for us, but 60-70% of the country has no clue who I am,” she said.