What’s the common thread between “Sacred Games”, “Mirzapur”, “Breathe”, “Inside Edge” and “Ghoul”? They are big names and were big hits. But not on the big screen. The year turned out to be one of the big wonders on the small screen — all thanks to the proliferation of over-the-top or OTT platforms in India.
It was in 2017 that OTT platforms, which provide video content over the Internet, made their presence felt in the Indian market. This year, its world expanded with a robust roster of content.
“Content emerged as the undisputed king, not just in a proverbial sense, but even in terms of what clicked with the audience. Since the audience is becoming increasingly diverse, storytellers have the option to explore narratives that resonate at a hyper-local level, yet, can be appreciated by a global audience as well,” Siddhartha Roy, Chief Operating Officer of Hungama Digital said.
The shrinking size of screens is in no way a measure of the size of the entertainment. If there was Saif Ali Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui entwined in a tale of a police officer’s race against time to save Mumbai from an attack after a tip-off in “Sacred Games”, there was also Radhika Apte entering the paranormal realm with “Ghoul”.
R. Madhavan captured the plight of a father in his digital debut “Breathe”; Ali Fazal and Pankaj Tripathi narrated a story of lawless land filled with action with “Mirzapur”; Rohan Sippy had fun spreading laughs with his humorous take on all Bollywood things with “Side Hero”; and Sunny Leone’s life story unfolded with “Karenjit Kaur: The Untold Story of Sunny Leone”.
There were others which made a mark. Aravind Adiga’s 2016 novel “Selection Day” became subject of a web series and Mithila Palkar and Dhruv Sehgal navigated the complicated world of relationships with the second season of “Little Things”.
Sunil Lulla, Group CEO at Balaji Telefilms — the firm behind ALTBalaji, said: “Audiences today have become more accepting to new concepts. This has lead to major OTT players now heavily investing in exclusive original content across languages on the platforms.”
Actress Ratna Pathak Shah, who is part of Netflix’s projects “Love Per Square Foot” and “Selection Day”, feels the medium offers great possibilities to the entertainment scenario in India.
Looking back, Bimal Unnikrishnan, Vice President, Content, Viu India, said: “International players coming into India also recognised the need to tailor their diverse content catalogue to suit the preferences of the Indian consumers... Content diversity and an increase in regional stories can be seen visibly.”
He pointed out that “local talent is gaining more recognition than ever before; more niche stories are also being told”.
Manish Aggarwal, Business Head, ZEE5 India, mentioned that the “digital viewer is seeking fresh, edgy, relatable and engaging content every day” — which is changing the landscape of the content being produced. Identifying these needs have led us to come up with new concepts that revisit the basics of content,” he added.
Be it Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Eros Now, Hotstar, Voot, Zee5, Viu, ALTBalaji or Sony Liv — the growing number of platforms have proved to be boon not only for the audience and operators but also for the creators. (IANS)
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