Streaming platforms lure major Bollywood stars for web originals

New Delhi: The number of mainstream Bollywood actors making their digital debuts is increasing, with celebrities known for mainstream cinema also accepting offers to star in original web series.

Shahid Kapoor, Aditya Roy Kapur and Kareena Kapoor Khan have already signed projects, while word has it that Varun Dhawan and Sidharth Malhotra will also make inroads on the web. Studio executives and media pundits have said that not only are OTT show pay comparable to feature films for big stars, but it allows actors to sink their teeth into meaty roles unlikely to turn up. in movies.

In the coming months, Anushka Sharma and Kareena Kapoor Khan will be making their streaming debuts with Netflix Originals. In 2021, around 22 actors and 20 directors made their streaming debuts on the service, including Kartik Aaryan whose thriller Dhamaka was in the world top 10 non-English films on Netflix.

A Netflix spokesperson said the platform offers various stories featuring seasoned talent as well as new talent. “Our recent series, The fame game featured Madhuri Dixit, who captivated fans with her incredible performance, as well as new acting talent Gagan Arora, who received unconditional love from the audience,” the person said.

As Hindi films face competition from Hollywood and regional language films for their share of the box office, it is natural for movie stars to explore other alternatives where they can find audience appreciation, Gautam Jain said. , partner of media consultancy Ormax. “OTT platforms give a huge global reach to the show or movie and therefore the cast who star in it, which is a big driver for movie stars to say yes to streaming opportunities,” he said. declared.

Platforms with aggressive growth plans like to cast movie stars to help build a subscriber base and market content they endorse, Jain said.

While film is a director’s medium, series is primarily a writer-focused medium and platforms are becoming progressive, competitive and experimental with films and television series, making it an attractive field for any talent, a said Sunder Aaron, co-founder and principal, Locomotive Global Inc, a production house working on web originals.

“Mainstream stars are now also seeing their Hollywood counterparts appear in OTT projects. Streamers offer actors, filmmakers and writers an immediate global platform. With the success of series like Money theft and squid gameand movies like Roma, don’t look up and The Irishmantalent can see that working with OTT leads to great exposure for their work,” Aaron said.

At the Oscars this year, Netflix Originals and Apple TV+ dominated the nominations. Amazon Prime Video declined to comment on Mint’s questions about upcoming Originals featuring movie stars while Disney+ Hotstar did not respond. Queries sent to Varun Dhawan’s team elicited no response while Sidharth Malhotra’s team declined to comment.

Karan Taurani, research analyst at Elara Capital Ltd, said most big stars are considering debuting with global OTT giants that can afford their fees and a production budget that ensures some scale. ‘episode. “Their compensation would be the same given that filming a six to eight episode show is similar to filming a feature film and they certainly won’t commit without paying high fees. Also, while the market overseas is always growing for Indian films, these platforms ensure global reach and increase in overall brand value,” Taurani said.

“We realize that the theater sector, especially for Hindi films, is extremely risky with its high production and marketing costs. Therefore, the ability to experiment or take risks is lower. Stars who don’t top the box office, don’t find very fulfilling roles and are hungry to connect with fans,” said Siddharth Anand Kumar, Vice President, Films & Television, Saregama India, which owns the studio-boutique Yooodlee Films. Yodlee has a webcast in the works invisible woman with senior actor Suniel Shetty.

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