Chitra Vakil Sharma Bollywood and OTT are two different platforms having a wide range of viewers and have their individual charm
We all have grown up watching Bollywood. For years it has been a source of entertainment, there is nothing like the larger-than-life experience. Post lockdown, the viewing habit has changed and people have got hooked to OTT, where the content also is more relatable. Storyteller Chitra Vakil Sharma, also producer of web show Tandoor, shares her take on the issue and also opines on whether Bollywood needs to buck up to match up with OTT or not.“Bollywood and OTT are two different platforms having a wide range of viewers. They are both different from each other and have their individual charm. When it comes to the content, I feel no one needs to match the other because both the platforms have their unique way of representation, otherwise, why would OTT be a success if we already had big screens,” she questions.Many are of the opinion Bollywood is going through a rough phase as footfall in theatres have gone down due to the popularity of OTT. The attitude is that it’s okay now to miss a film in theatres because very soon it will be available on a streaming platform.“It’s definitely more convenient for the viewers to watch the films in the comfort of their homes. Many films are highly viewed on the OTT platforms, just because it did not make enough at the box office doesn’t mean it was a flop,” she adds.Industry pandits are blaming the content and lack of star value in films is affecting Bollywood’s popularity. There are others who have opined that social media has decreased the star value.
“I think the main reason could be the prize surge in theatres. A family of four would spend at least Rs 1000 - 1500 if they watch one movie at the theatre, so nowadays people are choosing to subscribe to the OTT platforms where they get a year’s subscription in the same or lesser amount and can watch many films wherever, whenever, and however, they wish to. And, social media is what makes them the stars that they are, as it is where the people show their love and support these days,” she explains.On how she thinks footfall in theatres can be revived, Chitra adds, “Convenience I think in all ways would definitely help in the revival. Honestly, I feel it has already started getting better. Many are already going back to the theatres because one thing no one can deny is, it’s always the most fun watching a film at the theatre as the atmosphere there definitely gives us a better experience and one can enjoy the film to its fullest.”The last Bollywood film she watched in the theatre was Bhool Bhulaiyaan 2. “It's a really good movie, the plot was so amazing that it kept you hooked till the very end and I think the cast was amazing too. And, the film that I am really looking forward to watching next is Brahmastra. I feel this is going to be a new beginning for the industry as nothing like this has ever been done in Bollywood. Being compared to marvel movies is a huge thing too,” she adds.
It’s been noticed that in the last six months only Bhool Bhulaiyaan 2, Kashmir Files, and Gangubai have been able to impress the audience. But big budget films like Prithviraj Chauhan, Heropanti, Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui, among others bombed at the box office.Ask Chitra if she thinks Bollywood has finally moved away from stardom and she says, “Bollywood and stardom go hand-in-hand, the ones that were huge hits were also done by the most popular celebrities. All I can say is it’s just a phase and it’ll definitely pass. Films were not doing well in the theatres because it wasn't preferred by the people due to covid situations. But now, all the films have done well because the pandemic is almost over and people are not scared to step out of their homes anymore.”