Even though there have been a string of hit blockbusters like Pathaan, Tu Jhooti Main Makkaar, The Kerala Story, Zara Hatke Zara Bachke, and Satya Prem Ki Katha, have been successful, footfalls in theatres still seems to be unpredictable. Actor Shivin Narang who will next be seen in the web series Criminal Minds starring Tamannaah Bhatia talks about how the entertainment industry has changed with the advent of OTT.
“I feel that it’s not entirely true that we cannot make a film without OTT platforms. However, at present, the kind of films people want to watch and the quality they are accustomed to, especially from international shows, require a certain budget. The current theatre recoveries are not sufficient. This is where the role of OTT platforms becomes significant. The business and viewership are similar, but half the audience now watches movies on OTT, while the other half is cinemagoers. This division in the audience exists. Therefore, both cinema and OTT need each other. Films need OTT platforms, and OTT platforms need films to be produced,” says the actor who has been part of film Goodbye and shows like Suvreen Guggal – Topper of The Year, Ek Veer Ki Ardaas…Veera, Internet Wala Love, Beyhadh 2 and Khatron Ke Khiladi 10.
The reason behind this, according to the actor, is that we aspire to watch similar kinds of films and have similar experiences.
“These films require a specific level of production and a certain budget. As the audience is divided between both cinema and OTT, so both platforms need to contribute to making a film,” he adds.
Shivin has watched films in theatres, but not as many as the number of releases.
“It varies, but on average, I would say once or twice a month, depending on the films that catch my interest or if there’s something inspiring that I want to experience for my creative focus,” he shares.
The actor enjoys both OTT and films in cinema halls.
“The experience is distinctly different in each setting. While cinema halls offer a grander experience, watching movies at home also has its unique charm. The preference depends on the type of experience one desires,” he says.
Ask if the faster availability of movies on OTT platforms is also something that discourages people from going to theatres, he adds,
“Yes, I believe that is the reason why some people are hesitant about going to a cinema hall with their families due to the high cost of food items, such as popcorn, samosas, and cold drinks. Cinema halls have become expensive, and when families visit, they end up spending a significant amount of money. As movies are readily available on OTT platforms, people are not as enthusiastic about going to theatres. It’s human psychology that when things become easily accessible, we tend to choose the easier way.”
OTT has made us accustomed to watching films in the comforts of our homes. It also allows us to fast forward, rewind and even pause. These are very convenient experiences, especially in today’s day and age.
Agreeing, Shivin adds,
“We have become accustomed to new technologies and services that offer comfort and convenience. We tend to choose easier options in our daily lives, whether it’s ordering food or using services like Uber/Ola etc. OTT platforms provide us with easy access to movies, and they have played a significant role in showcasing new talent, new actors, and fresh stories. I myself will soon be making my debut on OTT, and I am supportive of its benefits.”
Cinema is always seen as a larger-than-life experience.
“I believe that movies featuring Shah Rukh Khan could revive footfall in theatres. Currently, the kind of movies people want to watch and the success of larger-scale action films contribute to the grand cinema experience. It’s like going to an amusement park where we seek the best slides or the latest experiences. Such films are better enjoyed on the big screen. Additionally, promoting more films in a larger-than-life format, similar to those in Hollywood, could revitalise the theatre experience,” he says.