Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

OTT showed that we’re capable of more than what Bollywood shows us: Abhay

- Rishabh Suri rishabh.suri@htlive.com Sanchita Kalra sanchita.kalra@htlive.com

Abhay Deol has been part of Bollywood’s indie revolution right from the beginning of his career and has been dabbling with web content, too. And today, when most people are homebound and the demand for fresh content is increasing, OTT platforms have been the answer. The actor agrees and says, “It’s the only alternativ­e. After some time, when everything would be fine, people will have the choice to either go to cinemas, or consume web content. People should be allowed to choose, and that’s what’s called technology, progress.”

The 45-year-old, who starred in the web film Chopsticks (2019) and the recent show 1962: The War in the

Hills, feels that a lot of good has happened with these platforms coming in.

“It has democratis­ed the process. These platforms make a film with a

Tmountain in the world, in 2018 and Mount Everest in 2013. Talking about her training amid a pandemic, Mohite says, “When gyms reopened, I restarted my workout regime. The outdoor training was reduced due to Covid-19 and I need to be cautious as getting infected will have an impact in the long run as a mountainee­r.”

Mohite who wanted to climb Kangchenju­nga this year but couldn’t due to unavailabi­lity of the team credits her parents for their encouragem­ent. She says, “They’ve supported my decisions and pushed me to strive better.” In her leisure time, Mohite likes to go for nature treks, do rockclimbi­ng and watch films related to mountainee­ring. “There should be more films depicting the lives of mountainee­rs...climbing PRIYANKA MOHITE, is difficult but shooting outdoors would be Mountainee­r

hard too. There should be one like the film, Everest (2015),” he 28-year-old mountainee­r, Priyanka Mohite from Satara, Maharashtr­a, recently became the first Indian woman to scale Mt Annapurna, the 10th highest mountain peak in the world. Mohite, a trained Bharatnaty­am dancer wrote in a post, “I take the privilege informing all of you that I have successful­ly made it to the peak of Mt. Annapurna, (8091 mtrs)...” On achieving this accomplish­ment, she says, “I was confident, excited and a bit scared as it is one of the deadliest mountains because of its unpredicta­ble climate.”

In the past, Mohite has also achieved success in climbing Mt Makalu, the fifthhighe­st peak in the world, in 2019. She has previously scaled Mount

Lhotse, the fourth highest

Pbig star and big budget, and the same platform makes a small film with nobody known. Both are owned by the same platform and they’ll market it equally, unlike small films which barely get any screen space,” opines Deol. He reasons that even if there’s a [smaller] film people would like, they wouldn’t know if it’s playing in cinemas. “If there was just Bollywood and theatrical, you have to conform to the Bollywood norm of what a hero and heroine looks like. OTT platforms can serve you that because there’s an audience for it, but they can also serve a Delhi Crime…” says Deol.

Comparing the situation to Hollywood, the actor says people of colour got a lot of main lead roles in the West because ethnic stories got highlighte­d.

“Diversity started to get represente­d. Because you wouldn’t see that in mainstream Hollywood, all that was left to watch in cinemas was spectacula­r superhero films. Good drama went to TV. It’s the same here... Bollywood has always been about spectacle. We haven’t had any indie film industry as such, or alternativ­es to Bollywood formula.”

However, Deol would love to see his films in theatres.“don’t get me wrong. I tried to make non-formula films way before OTT. I got to make them and get a theatrical release because it was at a time when multiplexe­s were just coming up. For a brief moment, there was exhibition space,” he recounts.

He goes on to explain, “Slowly, they got money, bought space and didn’t allow small films to get any space whatsoever. OTT came in to show that we as a culture are capable of far more than what Bollywood shows us. If we have to sacrifice theatrical release for that, so be it.”

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Nethra Kumanan is the first woman to qualify for a sailing event at Tokyo Olympics, and that too, by booking a direct berth through a qualifying event! The Chennai-based 23-year-old sailor, who represente­d India in 2014 and 2018 Asian Games, will compete as part of the laser radial class of sailing. She says, “I’m honoured to have made history. The Olympics have been a goal for a long time!”

Training under her Hungarian coach Tamas Eszes — a two-time Olympian in laser standard class — Kumanan recalls how she got stuck in Spain last year, due to the travel restrictio­ns during the pandemic. “It made me homesick. I would watch a lot of Hindi movies when I would miss home and my family.”

Talk about home and the memories of her childhood, when her parents introduced her to the sport, come rushing back to her. “My parents would put me in a lot of extra curricular activities... every summer meant a different camp. Once we saw an advertisem­ent about a sailing camp, and that’s how I joined the sport,” she reminisces.

Even her regular schooling had to take a back seat to reach where she is today. “I’ve been training abroad a lot. I had to leave regular schooling, and do my class XII through an open school. I’m four years behind; my younger brother and I are in the same year of college,” quips Kumanan, who is a second-year student of engineerin­g.

This young sailor has faced her share of difficulti­es as well since the sport is quite expensive. “There was a whole year in the middle when I had to stop sailing. Now I have support from different places. There are clubs in India that provide opportunit­ies, but here we focus more on studies and look at sailing as an extracurri­cular activity. Also, it’s more of the Navy or the Army that sail, and finding coaches is difficult as well. I hope it picks up in India in the near future.”

 ??  ?? Priyanka Mohite always carries a photo of her late pet dog, Aishu,
during her climb
Priyanka Mohite always carries a photo of her late pet dog, Aishu, during her climb
 ?? PHOTO: FACEBOOK ?? Nethra Kumanan
PHOTO: FACEBOOK Nethra Kumanan
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