OTT has broadened the scope for character actors: Saanand Verma
The actor says while character actors were always important, now they are in the limelight because the pattern of storytelling has changed
From Bhabi ji Ghar Par Hain!, to Mardaani to Sacred Games, actor Saanand Verma, who enjoys all mediums TV, films and OTT and has made a name for himself, admits there is one among them that he finds special.
“Cinema is the most satisfactory for any actor and the reason is simple that it is the biggest platform to be a part of. It is something where you can really feel the larger-than-life feeling that storytellers want to create for the audiences. So, definitely films are the most important and satisfying experience for any artist. It’s a different, blissful feeling seeing yourself on the big screen,” he says.
There was a time when character actors were not considered significant enough in spite of being prominent in films. And Verma feels things changed with actors like Irrfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Pankaj Tripathi, Sanjay Mishra, Rajpal Yadav and Manoj Joshi.
“Character actors were always very important but now they are in the limelight because the pattern of storytelling has changed and things are now more focused on characters. Now, the script is the hero. This much-required change has happened more after the advent of OTT, which has actually broadened the scope for character actors. We are lucky that now the style of storytelling is character driven now and each and every character is highlighted,” he adds.
Verma is playing a lead role, for the first time, in filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar’s anthology India Lockdown. “I am playing the antagonist in one of the four stories that is based on the life of a sex worker. It was such an exciting and proud moment for me to play such an important role in Madhur sir’s film. He is a great human being and has a mind-blowing sense of humour. Not many know that he is good at mimicry. During our shoots, he used to mimic so many Bollywood actors and make us laugh. I am grateful that he thought I could play the character of Tipu. India Lockdown is about the lockdown imposed in India because of Covid 19. It’s emotional, funny and an awesome human drama, a trademark of Madhur sir,” he shares.
As an actor, the actor enjoys playing characters that are opposite to his real personality. “And, if I can play them convincingly and audiences accept my performance then it’s my biggest kick,” he says.
For the actor, reaching this point in his career was not an easy journey. “I struggled to make the ends meet. I always wanted to be an actor, but other than acting, I had to do jobs to survive. I started with Mardaani (2014), but after than I didn’t get movie offers so ended up becoming a TV star. Bhabhi Ji was a big hit and my character became popular. Now, finally I am happy doing good films again,” says the actor, who has done films such as Raid (2018), Pataakha (2018), Chichhore (2019), Ram Singh Charlie (2020), Raat Baaki Hai (2021), Hum Do Hamare Do (2021) and Helmet (2021). The entertainment industry has been affected since the last two years, especially Bollywood. Thanks to OTT, things are looking up. OTT is a life saver. Also, there are many actors who had no work, but they are busy now. I think films and OTT are going to co-exist. A movie like Spider-Man: No Way Home has grossed crossed the 1 billion mark at the box office, so I think OTT is not a threat to cinema,” he ends.