Bol­ly­wood goes dig­i­tal

Top names in main­stream en­ter­tain­ment are tak­ing the plunge into web series and other web­driven con­tent

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - City - - FRONT PAGE - Monika Rawal Kukreja

Last year saw a bunch of web series be­ing made in In­dia. This year, sev­eral more have — or will — come out. What’s in­ter­est­ing is how the cast names are get­ting big­ger in the dig­i­tal space. Ear­lier, they used be mostly TV ac­tors or not very busy Bol­ly­wood ac­tors, but of late, sev­eral sought-af­ter names from main­stream cin­ema have come into this space. Ac­tors such as Saif Ali Khan, Rana Dag­gu­bati, Ra­jkum­mar Rao, and Richa Chadha are work­ing in this medium. be­cause they feel this medium has both reach and cre­ative nov­elty. Rana will be seen por­tray­ing a grey char­ac­ter in a web thriller, ti­tled So­cial. The ac­tor says, “The dig­i­tal plat­form is a fas­ci­nat­ing plat­form, and I be­lieve that we’re at too early a stage to know where the web will take us. This self-cen­sored space is gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity. It gives us cre­ative free­dom and also of­fers the au­di­ence a va­ri­ety of ex­per­i­men­tal nar­ra­tives.” Some find the medium in­ter­est­ing be­cause they get to col­lab­o­rate with ac­tors from dif­fer­ent streams. Saif, who’ll make his de­but with an orig­i­nal web TV series, ti­tled Sa­cred Games, says, “While work­ing on this web series, I met a whole new school of ac­tors for the first time. If I hadn’t done this, I wouldn’t have met them, as they’re not main­stream ac­tors. They’re bet­ter ac­tors be­cause of their mod­est ap­proach, and my mind has broad­ened af­ter meet­ing them.” Con­tent on the web has no “com­pul­sions of first day open­ing and un­nec­es­sary item songs and fight se­quences”, says Richa Chadha, who starred in a VOD (video on de­mand), ti­tled Inside Edge. She adds, “It’s an op­por­tu­nity to try con­tent that’s risqué. It’s an ex­per­i­ment and it could go wrong but it’s def­i­nitely a global trend and it’s worth a try. You also get a chance to tell sto­ries that need maybe eight to ten hours, as op­posed to twothree hours.” Her Inside Edge co-star An­gad Bedi be­lieves that web series work be­cause they have great con­tent, and they can go to the au­di­ence’s home. “Since the au­di­ences have be­come picky [about con­tent], you have to cater to their needs,” he says. “Also, it’s about reach­ing out to view­ers, who don’t come to the the­atres to watch films. Peo­ple aged 15-25 years aren’t re­ally into watch­ing films; they pre­fer shows such as Game Of Thrones or Break­ing Bad. Hence, these plat­forms are a great way to con­nect with them.”

Anushka Sharma, Rana Dag­gu­bati and Ra­jkum­mar Rao

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