Bollywood’s offbeat actors rule video streaming universe | Mint – Mint

Critically acclaimed Hindi film actors who have played leads in offbeat films or starred in supporting roles are starting to ride the OTT wave
They may not romp about the big screen as main leads in commercial cinema, but critically acclaimed Hindi film actors who have played leads in offbeat films or starred in supporting roles are starting to ride the OTT wave.
The list of most popular OTT actors is topped by Pankaj Tripathi (Mirzapur on Amazon Prime and Criminal Justice on Disney+ Hotstar); Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Sacred Games, Serious Men and Raat Akeli Hai on Netflix) and Radhika Apte (Monica O My Darling, Sacred Games and Ghoul on Netflix),
Also on the list are Manoj Bajpayee, who straddles commercial and art films, and Jitendra Kumar, showed a survey by media consulting firm Ormax.
While their earnings are only a third of top stars such as Ajay Devgn (Rudra-The Edge of Darkness on Hotstar), media experts say their projects are easily assembled and find discerning audiences and eyeballs with interesting content. Unlike newcomers, these names have come to be known for edgy, compelling content and can make between 8-10 crore per show.
“OTT is a democratized platform. Here, stardom gets you the eyeballs, but finally it boils down to the merit of the content, and you will see a lot of clutter-breaking content and actors coming out of this wave,” Himanshu Arora, co-founder at digital agency Social Panga said.
While OTTs allow Bollywood stars to do work rarely seen on the big screen due to multiple censorship restrictions, non-mainstream actors can also draw attention due to streaming platforms. “This gives a massive platform to talent for showcasing skillset, not just acting but other technical skills, too, like direction, editing and so on,” Arora said.
Gunjan Arya, chief executive officer at OML Entertainment, which has backed web originals like One Mic Stand, said the digital medium allows creators to explore various genre of audiences instead of catering to wide bases. “Each actor or creator can find their own market and price, be it in front of the camera or behind it, because of the non-linear nature of the media landscape,” Arya said, adding that a lot of new faces, who are not from mainstream cinema, are seeing their earnings jump as their work gains recognition.
Karan Taurani, senior vice-president at Elara Capital, said the presence of actors like Tripathi or Siddiqui can change the brand value of a series, given that they are known for acting skills—considered paramount by discerning viewers of the web.
“On the other hand, the presence of a Bollywood star can bring in incremental eyeballs, but after that, it all boils down to content, which these names are known for,” Taurani said.
Additionally, returns on the projects these actors choose are often higher, given their relatively lower costs of production, industry experts said.
The stage is set for these unconventional faces to further stamp their dominance in the OTT universe, given that mainstream stars are focusing on regaining theatrical clout.
“A lot of actors feel they will no longer be able to pull people to cinemas if they are seen in a web show. Plus, with theatres back to full-scale operations, it is box-office that matters to them,” independent trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai said, adding that, in essence, OTT shows don’t even need popular film stars.
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