Medium no bar: When Bollywood got bitten by the web bug

Bollywood actors and producers got caught in the 'web' amidst the proliferation of digital platforms, the number of producers hopping on to the web-series bandwagon and the variety and quality of stories capable of being told sans

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 | 1:20:05 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Bollywood actors and producers got caught in the 'web' amidst the proliferation of digital platforms, the number of producers hopping on to the web-series bandwagon and the variety and quality of stories capable of being told sans censorship.

"For us, as actors, it's about the story and the character, not so much about the medium," said Rajkummar Rao of his web-series debut with "Bose: Dead/Alive".

Like him, a string of actors and filmmakers who chose to give the medium a try -- not just to tap into the youth audience, but also to give creativity a boost.

IANS takes a look at those who gave a shot to web-series in 2017:

* "Bose: Dead/Alive": If he lost weight for a film like "Trapped", Rajkummar Rao made no bones about gaining an extra 10 kg and going half bald for his role as Indian nationalist Subhas Chandra Bose. The ALTBalaji series is based around the mystery of his death, and has been lauded for its production value.

* "Inside Edge": The first Indian original series for Amazon Prime Video -- one of the OTT majors -- the curiosity level for "Inside Edge" was palpable from its cast, which includes names like Vivek Oberoi, Richa Chadha, Angad Bedi, Tanuj Virwani, Sayani Gupta, Sanjay Suri and Sarah-Jane Dias. Created by Karan Anshuman, it is a gripping story about corruption in the cricket world.

Richa had said what drew her to it was that "digital is going to be the future and the platform is growing stronger".

* "Social": "Baahubali" star Rana Dagubatti chose to explore the digital platform with "Social", a Hindi-Telugu bilingual series launched by Viu. With Rana playing a busines tycoon, it revolves around a missing girl and the four people who set out to solve the mystery.

* "The Test Case": Directed by the acclaimed filmmaker Nagesh Kukunoor, this ALTBalaji series brought Nimrat Kaur, Juhi Chawla, Chandrachoor Rai, Rahul Dev and Atul Kulkarni to the digital series world. The limited series is based on a woman who is preparing to be the Indian Army's first female test case in a combat role.

On foraying into a web-series, Nimrat had said: "I think the advantage of being a part of a web-series is that you don't have the restrictions one would normally have of not being able to depict a certain part of a woman's life or of an individual's life. You don't have to worry about the censorship and you can literally depict life as it is."

* "Dev DD": Featuring Sanjay Suri, Rashmi Agdekar and Asheema Vardaan, the ALTBalaji Original has been written and directed by Ken Ghosh. It is a retelling of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel "Devdas". The series is about a modern young woman trying her best to break stereotypes about how an Indian woman is supposed to be.

Drawing a comparison with the small screen and the pros of the platform, Ekta said: "there are these various stories you can't do on TV because they don't have the stretchability factor in them. Besides, the attention span of the audience has gone shorter, and maybe not everyone is buying into the experience of coming in every day to see characters for a long time".

* "Romil and Jugal": The series explores homosexuality, and touches the controversial waters of showing a gay relationship. It features talent like Mandira Bedi and Suchitra Pillai.

* "Yo Ke Hua Bro": Shamita Shetty, who was on a sabbatical from the film world to pursue a course in interior designing in London after 2008 with Tamil film "Naan Aval Adhu", made a comeback with the comedy, thriller and drama set around Haryana.

With no plans to explore the platform initially, Shamita believes "It is something that is easily accessible and everyone has the internet which you can access on a lot of other mediums even when travelling".

Available on Voot, the series also features Aparshakti Khurana, Gaurav Pandey, Sumeet Vyass and Ridhima Pandit.

* "Spotlight", "Twisted" and "Maaya" : Filmmaker-producer Vikram Bhatt launched his own web series channel VB On The Web with the three shows releasing simultaneously.

While "Spotlight" revolves around an ambitious Bollywood star who yearns for true love, "Twisted" is a crime-suspense thriller.

Bhatt's "Maaya" raised the bar by exploring the theme of BDSM -- a variety of erotic practices or role playing involving bondage, discipline, dominance and submission. However, the show got a mixed response from the audience as it looked like a copy of the Hollwyood film "Fifty Shades of Grey", to many.

Now Bhatt has announced his plans to launch a full-fledged app.

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