THE NEWEST TICKET TO BOLLYWOOD
Having clicked with young viewers through web series, a new crop of actors are now bagging solid roles in films
Move over beauty pageants and TV serials. A successful web series is the newest entrance to Bollywood. The rise of the digital space as a platform for great content has changed the entertainment game in India. Web series actors such as Sumeet Vyas, Nidhi Singh, Mithila Palkar, and Angira Dhar are stars in their own right — they’ve made an immediate connect with young viewers — and filmmakers have taken notice.
Ken Ghosh, director of films such as Chance Pe Dance (2010), Fida (2004), and Ishq Vishk (2003), has entered the web space with two new series. He says, “The web is a great ground for new talent to grow. I don’t think [actors from web series] are getting cast for their stardom; they’re getting films because of their talent.”
Actor Sumeet Vyas started with TV shows and did bit roles in Bollywood films such as English Vinglish (2012), and Aurangzeb (2013). But his breakout role came in 2014, in the web series, Permanent Roommates, making him a sensation among the youth. In his next film, Veere Di Wedding, Sumeet is paired with Kareena Kapoor Khan.
Explaining the power of the web, he says, “Actors who’re doing well on the Internet connect with the younger audience, the millennials, which is the primary market that films cater to. Taking web actors in films is an intelligent move by producers.”
Actor Mithila Palkar has also done a couple of films, but she found fame only after doing three web series and several viral videos on social media. She will now star opposite Irrfan in Karwaan.
Nidhi Singh, Sumeet’s costar from the web series, is set to make her Bollywood debut soon in Dil Junglee, which stars another web actor, Srishti Shrivastava. Nidhi is pleased with the look of things. She says, “Being on the web makes you accessible. There’s a great recall value... I’m happy that [film] producers have their eyes open.”
Casting director Mukesh Chhabra , who selected Nidhi for the film, says, “The web is a great medium. It’s always good for the film when an actor has some fan base already existing elsewhere, maybe on YouTube or from a web series.”
Angira, known for her role in the digital series, Bang Baaja Baaraat, will also be seen in a Bollywood film.
Film trade analyst Taran Adarsh believes that casting web actors is good, as they’re “faces that break stereotypes”.
Actor Sumeet Vyas is now costar to Kareena Kapoor Khan