Nawazuddin Siddiqui: Quality of OTT content has been damaged very badly
He rode the OTT wave when it started in India a couple of years ago, with Sacred Games. And today, Nawazuddin Siddiqui remains one of the few actors with an established career in both films and on the web.
The demand for OTT content has only risen, especially amid to the Covid pandemic when people sitting at home turn to the web for entertainment, and content is being churned out at a rapid pace. We ask Siddiqui, who recently made his music video debut with Baarish Ki Jaaye, if he feels that it is going to be a case of too much, and if OTT content has reached a saturation point.
He agrees, “Yeh toh hai, bauhaut zyaada ho raha hai. There is a lot of content. Ultimately, after some time, it will settle down. Abhi dhool udd rahi hai, settle ho jaayegi. Also, both mediums, films and web will work together.”
However, he is quick to add that the sudden demand has led to a decrease in the quality on the streaming platforms. The 46-year-old elaborates, “Quality toh damage hui hai, in a very bad way. People want to watch content, and good acting, it can’t be that you give them just about anything, or take some star. It won’t be a hit. The audience on OTT is different, they want to watch good content.”
Of late, nudity and abusive language has also become synonymous to web content, since many films and shows include that. Siddiqui says there’s a reason for it, “To abuse just for the sake of it, or add sex, voh toh theek nahi hai.”
Apart from Sacred Games, he has also been a part of the web films Raat Akeli Hai and Serious Men, which were received well by critics and viewers. How important a role has OTT played in Siddiqui’s career?
He compares it with films and says, “OTT pe karna… hum toh who box office mein bhi kar lein. But we need to get screen space for that. Agar 5000 screens pe kutte-billi ke picture bhi release kar do, uska bhi first day collection will be 20-30 crores. It’s said that there’s a public’s actor, and the other is industry’s actor. People want to watch public’s actor because they aren’t getting screems. If you give them 700-800 screens and expect they also earn 20 crores, that’s impossible. If you give any film of mine 5000 screens, I will show you how 20-30 crore collections happen. Public wants to watch actors like us, but we need to reach there in the first place. It is not only about OTT or other things. If you give us screens, our work will be seen there as well.”