Pooja Bhatt on star culture taking over the web: Some OTT makers are going back to casting big names first - Hindustan Times

Pooja Bhatt on star culture taking over the web: Some OTT makers are going back to casting big names first

Apr 12, 2024 07:47 PM IST

Actor Pooja Bhatt credits OTT space for opening new avenues in the acting field for her

After 21 years, Pooja Bhatt has opened a new chapter in her acting career, and she credits the OTT world for it. She says the medium has opened a diverse canvas for her to explore, but she fears star culture taking over the space.

Pooja Bhatt was last seen in Big Girls Don't Cry
Pooja Bhatt was last seen in Big Girls Don't Cry

“My launch was through Daddy, which my father (filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt) decided to release on Doordarshan… He was advised not to release it on the small screen, Because TV was a bad word in Bollywood at that time…. Daddy overnight took me into people’s homes and people’s hearts with the relevant theme… It proved the medium is not important, the story is. And that is what OTT also proves,” Pooja tells us.

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The 52-year-old adds, “With the influx of OTT platforms, there are more roles for actors of different age groups, body type and backgrounds. Back in the day when I entered, it was all about -- a hero, heroine, villain and hero’s friend. Those lines have blurred completely, which is wonderful”.

Picking her own example, she explains, “The fact that I came back after 21 years of quitting acting, and I get a character like Rani in Bombay Begums, which is close to my age. She is a woman who is dealing with menopause, her marriage issues and love. She is not coloured with one brush. It is an OTT medium which gives you a chance to explore complex and meaty characters… I’m just happy to be part of change”.

When it comes to the digital world, she entered through the layered character of Rani in Bombay Begum, following which she explored the non fictional side of the space through reality show, Bigg Boss OTT. She was most recently seen as a principal in the show, Big Girls Don’t Cry.

However, there is something which disturbs her. “While there are plenty of opportunities, I feel the thought process of the decision makers in the space needs to change,” she says, adding, “I find there are a lot of forward thinking people but there are also very backward thinking people, who are doing the same thing now”.

“Asking, ‘yeh kahani toh kaamal hai magar star kaun hai’. And I am like star se kya hota hai… You can make a star, that is the magic of OTT. But I still find a lot of decision makers going back to traditional old methods of casting the names first before they look at the story. Times change, but people dont change. Some people do but most don’t. If we are taking two steps forward, we are taking one step backward,” she asserts.

That being said, she is enjoying the roles coming her way.

“I am enjoying this phase of my life… I can’t say I am choosing the roles. I feel roles chose you. At this point, I am grateful that the right roles are finding me, right people are approaching me, it is a good phase being an actor all over again,” says the actor, whose next project will also release on an OTT platform.

“That is also very different from what I have till now. I am excited about it,” she ends.

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    Delhi-based Sugandha Rawal is a movie buff, and writes on Bollywood, Hollywood, Television, OTT and Music for the daily entertainment and lifestyle supplement, HT City.

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