The pandemic has changed our lives in many ways and one of them is the way we watch films. OTT platforms are the new cinema halls for moviegoers. And so, gone are the days when being a star was about big-screen glory. Several top Bollywood stars are headed towards OTT as never before. Among the many actors is Ajay Devgn who will be seen next in Rudra, a remake of Idris Alba’s series Luther, about a detective pursued by personal demons as he sets out to crack complex cases. The actor has shot for the show for a couple of days and will soon resume shooting for it.
Talking about the rise of streaming platforms, the actor feels that the idea of stardom has changed. “The good thing that happened because of OTT is that a lot of new actors are getting a chance to showcase their talent. I believe good talent is coming in and when you make things with newcomers and if the product is good, it will be liked by the people,” he says, adding, “This was happening in films too, but those films with newcomers were finding it very difficult to make it to the theatres because there, the producers had to sell the films. But today they have a new platform where they can release their film or show more easily.”
Many actors like Pratik Gandhi, Pankaj Tripathi, Jaideep Ahlawat and Rasika Dugal, Shefali Shah have been catapulted to ‘streaming superstar’ status. Devgn says that the stakes become different once a big star is involved. “When a good film comes, with no star power, it works. The movie, made with Rs 20 crore, can make Rs 60 crore. When a star’s film releases, it makes Rs 200 crore-Rs 250 crore. I am not talking only about my films, I am talking about any star’s film. The price for a star is completely different. A film is overpriced when it has a star. We have seen many films of big stars failing on OTT, so this ballgame is completely different.”
While box office collection has been a barometer to check how the film has fared, the actor says there isn’t any system to measure the success of failure of a film which releases on OTT platforms. “OTT has this policy of not given out numbers. They say ‘We met our target’ or ‘We got 20 percent less than the target’. When we released Big Bull, they had a good target. When I asked them, ‘How many people have seen it?’, they said they could not disclose numbers, but that they had met their target. They buy your films at a good price, so they need to meet their targets. You have to believe them if they say they have achieved it.”
At the same time, Devgn is confident that people will come back to theaters and enjoy the big screen experience, “People all over the world have started going back to theatres. In fact, films have started releasing in theaters and are doing well. That means people are ready to come. People have gotten used to the OTT in the pandemic, but certain films need a cinema experience. In Hollywood, when a drama or niche film releases, people watch it on OTT. When a big franchise film or action film which needs a large screen experience, people will go to theatres.”