New-age actors talk about OTT platforms redefining stardom
Gone are the days when stardom used to be more about image and less about the craft. A breed of new-age stars in Bollywood are not only redefining and reinventing the content library of the entertainment world, but also scripting new-age stardom.
The change is being driven by the ever-expanding world of digital entertainment in India, which comes with the power to shun the concept of over-the-top stardom with cliched content.
Today, stars have the liberty to take risks, break image and come out of comfort zone, all thanks to the booming OTT scene in India. It gives them a bigger playground to break ground, court instant fame and be a part of this whole changing system.
"With OTT coming in, I believe everything is about actors, about playing different characters and about playing them well. I hope there are actors getting better opportunities -- that you are cast not because you are a star but because you are apt for the role. I hope OTT brings this trend rather than again making stars out of people who are artists," said actress Kirti Kulhari, who has found a new standing as an actor mainly thanks to her digital shows with "Four More Shots Please!" and "Bard Of Blood".
The movement was started by Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and the late Irrfan Khan in the new era, and the cue was picked up by Ayushmann Khurrana, Vicky Kaushal and Rajkummar Rao. The success of these actors have prompted a new genre of artistes in the realm of Hindi entertainment -- the star born out of on-screen realism.
IANS takes a look at some of the most promising actors in this genre, who are breaking and creating new rules of success and stardom.
He started out in films as a comedian and is now gearing up for his solo debut as a hero. From "Dangal", "Badrinath Ki Dulhania", "Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi", and "Stree" to his latest release "Luka Chuppi", Aparshakti, the younger brother of Ayushmann Khurrana, has made his presence felt in the narrative irrespective of the length of the supportive characters. Now, he is looking forward to his first solo hero project, the social comedy "Helmet".
Divyenndu Sharma was noticed in the role of Liquid in the 2011 release, "Pyaar Ka Punchnama", and went on to star in films like "Chashme Baddoor", "Dilliwali Zaalim Girlfriend", "Toilet: Ek Prem Katha" and "Batti Gul Meter Chalu". He has attained major fandom as Munna bhaiya from the web-series "Mirzapur". Now, Divyenndu is looking forward to the web series "Bicchoo Ka Khel".
Vijay made his acting debut in 2012 with "Chittagong". He was then seen in films like "Rangrezz", "Monsoon Shootout", "Raag Desh" and "Manto". It was only in 2019 that he found fame, after he featured in the Ranveer Singh-starrer "Gully Boy". Ever since his breakthrough performance as Moen Bhai in "Gully Boy", he has been flooded with work, from starring in Zoya Akhtar's segment in "Ghost Stories", Tiger Shroff-led "Baaghi 3", the web series "She", Mira Nair's "A Suitable Boy" to the second season of "Mirzapur".
"I think I got content as soon as I found the recognition that I was so craving for, which I feel I was rightfully deserving. It's been nice," Vijay told IANS.
Actor Priyanshu Painyuli did the film "Bhavesh Joshi Superhero", and went on to explore the digital space. His performance in the recent second season of the web show "Mirzapur" has been a talking point, after he played the role of a Bangladeshi crime lord in Sam Hargrave's directorial debut "Extraction", starring Chris Hemsworth. At the moment, he is working on "Rashmi Rocket", which also stars Taapsee Pannu.
He roared as the rap star MC Sher in "Gully Boy", and life has never been the same for him. Before his big break, he featured in "Life Sahi Hai" and "Inside Edge". The actor already has much-hyped three films in his bag. He teams up with Deepika Padukone in an untitled upcoming film that also stars Ananya Panday. With Katrina Kaif and Ishaan Khatter, he will share screen space in the horror comedy "Phone Bhoot". He will also be seen in the sequel of the 2005 hit, "Bunty Aur Babli".
She has featured in critically acclaimed films such as "Qissa", "Manto" and "Hamid", but her role as bold Beena Tripathi in web show "Mirzapur" made her a household name. Her role of a young police officer in "Delhi Crime" added to her popularity. She also starred in "Out Of Love", which revolved around marriage, infidelity and insecurity.
Shweta Tripathi Sharma
She impressed as an upper caste girl in the 2015 film "Masaan", and went on to do a few films. She caught the attention of fans as Golu in the series "Mirzapur". She also showed her versatility in web series like "Made In Heaven" and "The Gone Game", and the web movie, "Cargo".
She is famously called the "Netflix girl" by netizens due to her association with the OTT platform. Radhika has acted in films such as "Badlapur", "Phobia", "Pad Man" and "Andhadhun", but her association with Netflix through the anthology film "Lust Stories", the series "Sacred Games" and the limited series "Ghoul", gave her a wider reach.
He comes from a theatre background, and proved his mettle in Bollywood first. Be it comic or villainous roles in films like "Stree", "Bareilly Ki Barfi" and "Gangs Of Wasseypur", he has done it all. He became a phenomenon on OTT as the dreaded gangster Kaleen Bhaiyya in the web series "Mirzapur", and "Sacred Games", where he played the power-hungry Guruji.
Gajraj Rao made his Bollywood debut in 1994 with Shekhar Kapur's "Bandit Queen" and was later seen in films like "Dil Se...", "Black Friday", "Talvar" and "Rangoon". But 2018 changed the game for him after he featured in "Badhaai Ho".
"The recognition I am getting now, definitely if I had gotten it 10 years ago I would've felt better about it. I have got it now, it's still a good thing," said the actor, who was last seen in web show "Pariwar".
He rose to fame with his character Chitvan Sharma in "TVF Tripling", and was last seen in film "Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare", which stars Bhumi Pednekar and Konkona Sen Sharma in the lead role.