There was a time when we used to wait for a new release every Friday, clamouring at the Box office to get the best seats in the house. Cut to: Today. There are movies, web shows and series, short films releasing (almost) on a daily basis. Few of the movies have not even witnessed a theatrical release. Things have changed in a way that is hard to fathom.
While there are actors such as Maanvi Gagroo, Sumeet Vyas, Bhuvan Bam who started their career with the digital medium, there are many Bollywood actors now-a-days, who are jumping on the web bandwagon, recognizing the reach of the medium.
Abhishek Bachchan, who has not delivered a Bollywood hit for a while now, has moved online. He will be appearing in the next season of Amazon Prime Video’s Breathe, which had R Madhavan and Amit Sadh in the first season. Amit will join Abhishek in the second season too. Abhishek recently even lent his voice to the Netflix’ original Mowgli. Kareena Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit, too, gave voices for Kaa and Nisha respectively in the film, along with Anil Kapoor (Baloo) and Jackie Shroff (Shere Khan).
Also Read | Amazon Prime Original Breathe Season 1, Review
Jackie Shroff’s debut short film Khujli was released by Terribly Tiny Tales where he and Neena Gupta play a couple that hasn’t been ‘close’ in a while. This funny short film brilliantly shows them scratching a 25 year old itch, leading to their dark fantasies being revealed. Along with Pankaj Tripathi, Jackie Shroff will soon be starring in Tigmanshu Dhulia’s web series Criminal Justice – an Indian adaptation of the British series by BBC Studios India and Applause Entertainment.
Also Read | Short Film Khujli, Review
Pankaj Tripathi, who has been part of a multitude of Bollywood films, got on the OTT bandwagon last year, playing pivotal roles in two big ticket shows with the industry giants – Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. While Saif Ali Khan (as Sartaj Singh) and Nawazuddin Siddiqui (as Ganesh Gaitonde) showed, with Sacred Games, that the web is an absolutely cool medium to be on, Kalki Koechlin (Tara), Jim Sarbh (Roy) and Gulshan Devaiah (JJ) proved, with the Eros Now original Smoke, that all that matters is the viewer – wherever they are – along with a platform to showcase your performance. Smoke explored the dark world of drugs and mafia.
Also Read | Netflix Original Sacred Games, Review
In ALTBalaji’s The Test Case, Nimrat Kaur (as Captain Shikha Sharma) plays the sole woman in a male dominated Indian Army, training for Special Forces. Juhi Chawla, as the Indian Defence Minister in the series, played a cameo in it. Nimrat won accolades for her films The Lunchbox and Airlift. Radhika Apte doesn’t just have a long list of films to her credit, but has also been lauded for her roles in Andhadhun, Padman, Phobia and so on. She has been ruling on Netflix with Lust Stories, Sacred Games and Ghoul. Saqib Saleem, last seen in Race 3, plays the role of a trigger happy Shiv Prakash Shukla in Zee5’s Rangbaaz, his first on the digital medium.
Also Read | Altbalaji Original The Test Case, Review
Arunoday Singh, who first grabbed eyeballs as the hunk in Sonam Kapoor starrer Aisha, has been garnering praise for his role as Rudra in Altbalaji Apaharan, stuck with the repercussions of a plan gone wrong. The show also stars Mahie Gill, who shot to stardom with Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D, as Madhu, a politician’s wife. Arunoday and Mahie set off on the web highway with this series that is set in the 70s.
Also Read | AltBalaji Original Apaharan, Review
Vir Das has been travelling the world, spreading laughter far and wide. Maybe, one fine day he realised that all he had to do was stand on stage, and let the entire world watch him. Thanks to Netflix. Vir already has two Netflix specials currently streaming – Abroad Understanding and Losing it. Arjun Rampal, whose latest film Daddy was critically acclaimed, has announced his digital debut with ZEE5 Titled ‘The Final Call’, an adaptation of renowned author Priya Kumar’s book ‘I Will Go With You’, slated for an early 2019 release.
Also Read | Vir Das ‘Losing It’, Review
Mrunal Thakur, who has two movies lined up for release this year – Hrithik Roshan starrer Super 30 (as Ritu Rashmi) and Nikhil Advani’s Batla House – will soon be appearing in Baahubali: Before the Beginning, playing young Sivagami’s character in the Netflix series. Huma Qureshi’s debut web-only film titled Leila, directed by Deepa Mehta, is set in the near future and will tell the story of a mother’s search for her daughter Leila, who was taken away 16 years ago.
Bard of blood based on Bilal Siddiqui’s book of the same name will mark Emraan Hashmi’s web debut. It will tell the story of an ex spy Kabir Anand, currently working as a Shakespeare professor in Panchgani, who is summoned to save his country. It is being produced by Red Chillies Entertainment for Netflix. Manoj Bajpayee’s web debut will see him in Amazon’s The Family Man produced and directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK. The story revolves around Bajpayee’s character caught between saving the nation from terrorists on the one hand and protecting his family from his “secretive, high-pressure, and low paying” job on the other. Kirti Kulhari, who appeared in Uri: The Surgical Strike and Pink, will soon be seen in Amazon’s show Four More Shots Please, where she will play the role of a single mother.
The web has opened a whole new world of possibilities for entertainment and opportunities for entertainers. We could not be happier. After all, we the viewers are loving every bit of it.