Namit Das: OTT made people realise there’s more to me than meets the eye
Challenges bring out the best in human beings, and in my case especially, I am blessed that these challenges worked well in my case. What happened in 2020 lockdown is that everyone was at home, and the only one form of entertainment available to them was OTT. After a point, even TV shows became old. How many mythologies and comedies can you watch? The OTT boom had already begun, it’s not something which is new. We had seen how Sacred Games and other shows had done.
The world has opened up for people here, you have a lot of brave stories, a lot more characters, today you have ensemble pieces coming to the foray. Many actors you have seen in big films, TV or theatre are suddenly coming your way. I don’t think anyone expected it. They knew there is hidden potential in these actors but it was never utilised and manipulated to the maximum. That’s where I think my career and my life as an artist saw sort of an upliftment.
OTT has put me in an interesting situation at the moment. All my three shows in 2020- Mafia, Aarya and A Suitable Boy were all different roles. People were like ‘you are on every platform’ but this is not something I planned.
On the belief that you are stereotyped, like if once you play a hero’s friend in films, you get the same kind of roles, I would half agree to it not being there on OTT anymore. I had already moved on from that side casting. If you leave the previous three OTT shows aside, I have done films where I played different characters. In Sui Dhaaga, I was a baddie, in Pataakha, one of the sweet husbands. These are very different characters, not specifically roles which are just sidelined, or ‘the guy in yellow or pink shirt’, as I always say. We were done with hero’s friend long back, even in films I don’t think ‘hero’s friend’ anymore exists. It died long back.
Some 10-15 years back, we had that idea, and North India has a lovely term for this – the side actor. All of these emerged as different characters on their own. I was already living that reality. It jumped on people and made everyone realise, especially in the last eight months after those three shows. It became evident to them that this guy can play a good guy’s part as well. I definitely think Aarya has sort of defined a path for me for atleast the next two years. It’s not that I will be cast only in negative characters, but the fact that is that this actor can perform many things. There’s more to him than meets the eye.
By Namit Das
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