While Bollywood stays shut, video streaming portals are importing fresh talent, crispy content and bold ideas into India's entertainment industry that once banked on star power to crack the box office. Actors say over-the-top (OTT) services are spotlighting evolving preferences of new-age audiences into their streaming content.
"Change keeps happening," said actor Pankaj Tripathi, who grabbed eyeballs ever since he shone on web crime thrillers such as "Mirzapur" and "Sacred Games".
"It seems there is a time of change happening in cinema with the coming of OTT. There is no other option than OTT currently," he told IANS.
"Stories are important on OTT. Who or what is in it is not important. His or her talent and performance matters. Storytelling matters more," he said.
The 44-year-old also said OTT platforms are a nursery where fresh talent is blooming with ease.
"I am happy about it. I can see one after another talent is coming through the advent of OTT. Especially for those who take time to get recognised through films and there is a possibility here on OTT," the actor said. Pankaj, who earned the spotlight in 2012 with a small role in the two-part film saga "Gangs Of Wasseypur", added that content is king on streaming services, a relity that was perhaps absent during the celluloid era.
The January release of "The White Tiger" on Netflix highlighted actor-singer Adarsh Gourav as he was nominated three months later in the Lead Actor category at the 74th British Academy of Films and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards.
Adarsh believes people are working harder than before to try and win over India's burgeoning online viewers.
"I'm glad that this happened because knowing that things aren't permanent, people work harder and don't take anything lightly," Adarsh told IANS.
Actress Wamiqa Gabbi's tryst with web stardom came on the back of her performance as a steadfast cop in the Disney+ Hotstar-streamed "Grahan", which dealt with the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
The actress said she felt the tailwinds of creativity in India's film industry that for long stayed straitjacketed.
"Everyone who did not want anyone's approval to make a film or a series on a subject that is not really commercial, now they can," Wamiqa said, and added the focus of OTTs was ever more on content.
"OTT has given us that door where I think we are all rushing in (and) I am glad that now more opportunities have been opened for film-makers, for writers, actors, producers," Wamiqa told IANS.
Vikrant Massey, who has been a frequent face in the digital space, said a newer generation of viewers has come to stay. (IANS)