Hope OTT does not go the way theatre owners, producers have gone

By Ahana Bhattacharya

Mumbai, June 27 (IANS) The digital is an “unbiased” and “democratic” platform where the audience does not discriminate between big and small banner. But it should remain this way, and not go the way theatre owners and conventional producers have taken cinema to, feels Manoj Bajpayee.

“I have been screaming it from the rooftop for so many years that the box office does not define the quality or merit of cinema, but now small films have started losing their relevance in the industry and for the producer. Because everything which makes 100 crore and above is a good film and small films don’t get attention. We have started losing. The whole independent film movement has only gone down in the last few years because we have stopped getting mentorship from the producers, distributors and exhibitors. I just hope the OTT platform keeps that avenue open and does not go the way the theatre owners and conventional producers have gone,” Manoj Bajpayee told IANS.

Manoj Bajpayee’s latest movie “Bhonsle” has just had an OTT release on Sony LIV. The actor feels OTT is the ideal platform for a small film like this.

“It is fantastic for a film like ‘Bhonsle’. A small film like this would not have so many eyeballs and reach (in the theatres) as much as it will get on an OTT platform. So OTT release is a blessing in disguise for ‘Bhonsle’, even though we had initially planned to release it in the theatres in April. Because of the lockdown, the plan got cancelled,” shared the actor.

Talking about his character in the film, the actor revealed: “My character Ganpat Bhonsle is a recluse, cut off from social activity and interaction. He does not like it and prefers to remain undisturbed. He is not happy with the way the word is functioning, society is functioning. He has a deep anger within.”

The film deals with the real problem faced by migrants in Mumbai, which is very relevant in the present times. Commenting on the same, the actor said: “The conflict between migrants and locals is an age old one, now it is peaking globally. It has come right on the forefront, so much so that you cannot even ignore it. Also during the lockdown, the sight that we got to see of migrants leaving the city was quite heart-wrenching. Somewhere it has shown that migrants losing respect and having no trust in the urban society, having completely been disappointed, chose to walk thousands of kilometers. The problem is universal.”

Now that the lockdown is gradually opening up and shooting is all set to resume, how difficult will it be to shoot while maintaining social distancing?

“I don’t know. We are still wondering. I am going to speak to all the people I work with, I don’t know how we will manage. But I guess this is the new normal that we have to get used to. What will be the procedure, what will be the protocol, what will be the dos and don’ts on the set — these will be decided. Yes, it is not going to be so easy but the industry will surely find its way,” concluded the actor.

–IANS

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