BY NATALIA NINGTHOUJAM
New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) How much can an actor shine in a two-hour film? The fact that the world of web series has opened up varied shades of characters, more than mainstream films in India have ever done, has not gone unnoticed by an incredibly talented lot of the industry. And if they are lucky enough to bag a role in big digital projects, the big bucks will follow. No wonder, actors as Pankaj Tripathi — regarded as prop cast till the other day — have suddenly become toast of the movie buffs. Others like Ali Fazal and Emraan Hashmi have managed to prove themselves as actors on OTT platforms, after films rarely gave them the scope.
Pankaj is a known name in filmdom. After all, he has films like “Apaharan”, “Omkara”, “Gangs Of Wasseypur” and “Stree” to boast about. His roles in web series such as “Sacred Games” (Netflix), “Mirzapur” (Amazon Prime Video) and “Criminal Justice” (Hotstar), however, are the ones that have got fans excited.
“I think every actor wants to be in the digital space because its reach is wide and, yes, in terms of money, it is no less than films. It is equivalent — and in some cases of big shows on big platforms, they are actually more,” Pankaj told IANS.
He feels an important factor that attracts actors to the digital medium is the duration of the shows.
“There is no time limit of two hours, unlike films. There are eight, nine or ten episodes, so we can go in depth while approaching a characters, which is difficult in cinema. You need to tell your story in two hours in movies, after all,” he added.
Actor Ali Fazal had a steady career in Bollywood, besides the odd outing in Hollywood, and yet he explored the digital platform.
“In movies, you have to be at your heightened best in every single frame. Not that you don’t have to in a show. You have to but in a film, point a to b… half of the journey goes unsaid sometimes,” said the “Mirzapur” actor.
“In many cases, I believe the money is lucrative,” he added.
“Cheers!” actor Vijay Varma doesn’t see the trend of Bollywood actors doing web shows as a “big plunge”.
“It’s actually a smooth transition because it doesn’t affect your standing as a cinema actor (unlike TV) web thrives on untold, new age stories and makers and it’s fresh. Everyone wants to stay relevant and the youth today is consuming every bit of their entertainment on web,” said the “Gully Boy” actor.
For “Inside Edge” actor Angad Bedi, web definitely offers “you something more in ways you can explore your character and that’s the best opportunity an actor can get”.
“I feel ready to do justice to the characters I play. Digital audiences give you the exposure to connect with younger audiences, as young as 20-25 year olds who are the primary audience base consuming the content. Content wave is moving digital and it’s opening up opportunities for several deserving talent,” he said.
Now, several acclaimed actors including Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, R. Madhavan and Vicky Kaushal are foraying the digital platform, — in films as well as web series. National Award-winning actor Manoj Bajpayee also made his digital debut recently with “The Family Man”.
“I am one of those actors who is constantly experimenting with choices. I did many short films that were released on digital platforms, and those narratives were quite unique. But I was waiting for the right kind of script to start my journey in the digital space. The web series is a new format in the entertainment business, and I wanted to do something different and interesting here,” Manoj told IANS.
“I wasn’t staying away from web series but patiently waiting for the right project. Let me tell you, ‘The Family Man’ could have been an exciting show for any actor. I am very impressed by the way Raj and DK directed it.”
Actor Emraan Hashmi’s first web series “The Bard Of Blood” will also premiere on Netflix soon. The list is only growing longer.
BY NATALIA NINGTHOUJAM