Bollywood goes digital
Top names in mainstream entertainment are taking the plunge into web series and other webdriven content
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 two-three 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