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How OTT is democratising the way content is created

There is no doubt that OTT has opened up new avenues for creative talent, including actors, to explore their potential. Mithila Palkar, who rose to fame with the web series ‘Girl in the City’ and ‘Little Things’, speaks about the power of digital platforms to catapult an actor’s career.

In our third panel discussion at SCREENXX OTT Summit, Moderator Mayoori Kango, Head of Industry – Agency Partnerships, Google India, was joined by actors Gunjan Utreja, Hiten Tejwani, Jitin Gulati, Mukul Chadda and Writer, Director and Producer Rishabh Anupam Sahay, who spoke about their roles in OTT shows, how viewers are responding to their new avatars and how it has helped them connect with a different audience as compared to TV.

Mayoori Kango gets down to brass tacks right at the beginning of the discussion, “Traditionally, the kind of content we used to see like classic love stories, saas-bahu shows, etc., versus what we see today, whether it is dark comedy, adult content or even for that matter drama at a whole different level – is this because of the rise of OTTs or do you think it is because the audience’s tastes have changed and the medium doesn’t really matter?”

While agreeing that the audiences have changed today, Hiten Tenjwani observed, “They don’t want to watch the same old saas-bahu sagas anymore. Plus they are open to bold content. OTT is a platform where creators can go ahead and showcase whatever they want to show without bothering about the Censor Board cutting or butting in.”

“Even audiences have matured in their thinking and now have a broader understanding and also accept all kinds of stories. They want to see something real,” he maintained.

Rishabh Sahay opined, “Since we are in a time where technology takes preference, it provides a lot of creators and consumers with the opportunity to explore new creative ideas.”

Adding further, he said that while television is primarily an advertising medium and the art on television is a by-product of advertising and sales that happened through it, OTT has democratised the way content is created and has given an opportunity to a lot of different voices.

Agreeing with Sahay, Jitin Gulati added, “In the web space, I know exactly what I’m getting into. On television, sometimes the whole story has changed because of the TRPs. That’s not the case with the web. When I’m signing up, I’m signing up for a season, I know the start and end point for me and I also know that the story may take the same way forward in the second season.”

The fact that market changes did not affect him as an actor or the script was a refreshing change, Gulati further said.

Gunjan Utreja adds ". In OTT what has happened is that even if a show is super successful, the actor doesn’t really get to know about it. There is no parameter atleast for the actor to gauge the success of the show. You may see a lot of hoarding all over the country and also a lot of traction on social media, but you still don’t know whether this show is genuinely appreciated or not. But from an actor’s perspective, I think it is great because you know what have you really signed up for, what your story is going to be and this is my role."

“So far at least, the OTT space has been a perfect blend of television and film in some sense, where the scripts are ready in advance, which makes everyone’s job easy,” remarked Mukul Chaddha, while expressing the hope that this continued.

The discussion continued about combining the commercial and creative aspects when creating shows, reminiscing about Satyajit Ray and talking about the OTT originals that the actors have been a part of recently.

Watch the entire session below:

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