The OTT space is revolutionising the way the world enjoys visual entertainment, and it is reorganising a lot of things in Bollywood, too.
Among things in Bollywood that seem to be changing is the concept of stardom. Gone are the days when being a star was about big screen glory. In this context, what is currently going on has been unprecedented. Several top Bollywood stars are headed towards OTT as never before. These are not character artistes or budding stars, but established names such as Shahid Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Madhuri Dixit, Raveena Tandon and Juhi Chawla.
It is something that Television never managed. At the height of superstardom, even though Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan or Shah Rukh Khan have appeared on TV, they came as themselves, and not to essay fictional roles. On OTT, it is the roles that seem to be attracting big Bollywood stars.
Many feel it is an outcome of a star’s innate urge to find an audience. Even though the theatres have opened up, it seems OTT platforms have an edge. With Covid cases showing no sign of receding, there is no guarantee when the big screen business will be back in full swing. While Bollywood stars like Kajol and Emraan Hashmi have already made their OTT debut, the year 2021 will sees a major influx of well-known names into the world of OTT.
Says casting director and filmmaker Mukesh Chhabra: “I remember I used to approach actors earlier and they weren’t too keen when I said the film would release on an online platform. But now, everything has changed in a span of a year’s time. More and more films and shows are being bought by OTT giants. Actors are more willing to do these shows and films.”
He adds: “Actors always want an audience, the bigger the better. So, while many of them are already well established, they can now have a bigger audience from every part of the country or world, so to say.”
With new announcements coming every day, it is clear that mainstream film actors are looking directly at OTT platforms for some breath of fresh air. Actress Kajal Aggarwal, who made her OTT debut in February with the series “Live Telecast”, says doing an OTT project felt like a natural step for her.
“I think it’s a very natural progression for actors to venture into different platforms. Making your mark in the digital world is very important, especially to connect with the millennial,” she says.
Here’s a latest list of Bollywood’s top stars who are lined up for OTT debut in the months to come:
The actor announced his digital debut with filmmakers Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK’s action thriller series, which has not been titled yet. Shahid is expected to do some heavy-duty action scenes on the show.
Actress Sonakshi Sinha, who has been a part of big productions in Bollywood, will play a fearless lady cop in an untitled series. The series will be directed by Reema Kagti and also star Vijay Varma, Gulshan Deviah and Sohum Shah.
The actress recently announced her upcoming digital debut in the series “Finding Anamika”. While details are awaited, it is known that Madhuri plays the role of a global superstar, who suddenly goes missing. The series is directed by Karishma Kohli and Bejoy Nambiar.
The actress will make her digital debut with a web series tentatively titled “Hush Hush”. The series has a female-led cast and crew, with director, producers, writers being women. Actress Ayesha Jhulka will also be making her digital debut in the series.
The actress will be seen on OTT platform is the series “Aranyak”. Raveena will play a cop named Kasturi Durga. The series is directed by Vinay Vyakul.