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  Entertainment   Bollywood  17 Jul 2017  Stars untangle the web

Stars untangle the web

Published : Jul 17, 2017, 12:27 am IST
Updated : Jul 17, 2017, 12:27 am IST

With more actors venturing into the digital space, we talk to industry insiders about why they move to the other side.

A still from Inside Edge.
 A still from Inside Edge.

Saif Ali Khan is all geared up to act in Netflix’s first Indian web series, Sacred Games, and is the first Bollywood A-lister to take up a project with the video on demand (VoD) streaming service. Saif is only the latest actor in the list to shed his inhibitions and get on the digital content bandwagon. From Vivek Oberoi, Richa Chadha, and Angad Bedi starring in Karan Anshuman’s Inside Edge, to Rajkummar Rao’s upcoming project based on the life of freedom fighter Netaji Subash Chandra Bose the experimental space that the digital platform provides is worth indulging in.

Hansal Mehta, who has critically acclaimed films to his name like Aligarh, Shahid and Citylights, and will be working with Rajkummar on the Bose series, believes that it was only a matter of time that the cinema creatives shifted from the quintessential cinema to the digital platform. “A creative revolution along these lines expects creators (actors, writers and directors) to want to be a part of it,” he explains, adding, “The VoD or web series format is a new thing that gives one a bigger idea to work around.” Equating the format to literary longform, the director explains how working in the digital spaces allows him to experiment more with his original idea. “Experimenting in terms of building your characters, the plotlines, the basic foundation — this is one of the biggest advantages of making something in the digital space,” he says. This is the story closer home.

Kalki KoechlinKalki Koechlin

But internationally, Hollywood A-listers have had no qualms about making their way to content on the Internet. With Kevin Spacey’s House of Cards, Neil Patrick Harris starring in A Series of Unfortunate Events, Winona Ryder in Stranger Things and Ashton Kutcher in Ranch, quickly becoming audience favourites, it won’t be wrong to assume that it is only encouraging actors to make the jump. Hansal says the shift is very likely inspired by international A-listers. “Now that we are starting a creative revolution back home, it is heavily inspired by the quality of work that is churned out internationally.”

Angad, the chauvinist bad boy in Pink, who now plays Arvind Vashishth in Amazon Prime’s Inside Edge, lists another advantage that comes with web content — the character development. “In Pink, I was playing a male chauvinist, an egoistic character, but in Inside Edge, I play an earnest, upright captain, who has cricket in his blood and is extremely headstrong — see the difference? As an actor, this has given me a lot of space to experiment with my calibre and even deliver the actor in me to a bigger audience,” he says.

After being part of the short film titled Naked and thought-provoking video It’s Your Fault, Kalki Koechlin is gearing up for her first web series titled Smoke. She feels that feels that the “out-of-box” content on the web is what’s helping in a conceptual push in the cinematic content. “The kind of content we see on YouTube and other web portals and VoD streaming services is rare. You see an old woman falling in love with a young man and stories from the LGBT community among many other offbeat ideas,” says the actress.

Saif Ali KhanSaif Ali Khan

Karan, who conceptualised Inside Edge, stresses on how affordable and convenient the digital space is for the consumer. “As a viewer, a single film with the whole multiplex experience won’t cost you less that Rs 2,000 (for a family of four). But, a web portal subscription costs you just Rs 500 — that too annually. It is affordable consumption, apart from the fact that one can watch it anywhere, anytime,” he explains.

With actors now greeting the web space with open arms, Hansal says he cannot wait till more A-listers make it on the other side. “I’m looking forward to when Shah Rukh Khan stars in a web series. Maybe they should make a House of Cards type drama with him, don’t you think?” he winks.

— With inputs from Garima Arora

Tags: saif ali khan, netflix, inside edge, sacred games