The month of March marks a year of lockdown where everyone, willingly or unwillingly, had to stay home for the greater good. While it was a tough time all over, one of the primary sources of entertainment left to us were digital platforms, and it was indeed a year of Over the Top(OTT) streaming some engaging and enticing content. Through Bandish Bandits, Aarya, Mirzapur 2, Scam 1992, A Suitable Boy or the January release Tandav not only has a new wave of storytelling been introduced, but cinema lovers also got to witness some impressive performances by actors that have been around for a while and some surprising new talents. Shriya Pilgaonkar, Ritwik Bhowmik, Shreya Dhanwanthary, Namit Das, Sarah Jane Dias, Harshita Gaur and Ankur Bhatia are a few of the names from the list of actors who have been appreciated for their performance and were part of some of the amazing stories streamed on various digital platforms. In conversation with Sweta Pendyala, the actors talk about their experience of portraying roles that received so much love from the audience and how they feel about being a part of the OTT wave.
The immensely talented Sarah Jane Dias who was recently seen playing the character of a very sharp and smart woman Ayesha opposite Saif Ali Khan, talks about how OTT is giving everyone umpteen opportunities to showcase their talent and tell stories and introduce characters that form a connection with the audience.
OTT brought opportunities for everyone
There has been an increase of opportunity with OTT. For the first time in my life I see all my friends be it actors, writers or directors they are all working on something. Also, web to me is an opportunity to connect with a larger audience.
Ayesha in Tandav is unlike me as a person
Ayesha is very meticulous and a reserved person and doesn’t trust anybody easily. Whereas I am quite animated as well I make friends quite easily. With Ayesha, it was very difficult to read what is going on in her mind and I am very transparent. My preparation involved making lists of the characteristics of Ayesha. I imagined her to be very reserved, manipulative when she needs to be, and most of all a woman who is very much in love with her husband and will do anything for his dreams to come true.
I actually said yes based on the scene I auditioned with. I loved it. I hadn’t read the whole script yet when I said yes to it. When I found out Ali Abbas Zafar is directing it and the role is opposite Saif Ali Khan I was very keen to be a part of it.
OTT allows you to develop each character, not just the leads
OTT platforms give opportunity to develop each character on the show, especially in an ensemble cast. One has nine or more episodes to play with and it gives immense space and time to develop a character, tell their story, and thus develop a connection with the audience. This is something very different about OTT as compared to a two-hour film where you barely have enough to make a connection with anybody besides the lead cast.
The evolution in storytelling in past four years
It has become a lot more efficient compared to initial years when it was a new platform as people were still trying to figure it out. Now, storytelling has become a little crisp and I do not see any hesitancy in creating stories that people want to tell.
I was open to this new platform and new ideas to see where it will go as I am usually someone who goes with the flow. At the time when I made my debut with Inside Edge in 2017, I used to have conversations with my friends wondering how it is going to evolve. But, we all knew that television was going to be obsolete and the web is the new way to go.
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