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Shilpa Shukla Says OTT Has Made The Market Fairer For Women, Given More Opportunities. We Couldn’t Agree More.

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If you, like me, are obsessed with movies and shows, then you probably also believe this is the best time to be alive. The sheer influx of content, good content, is amazing. And the assurance that more is coming and we can only go forward from here, is sweet joy. But we cannot even begin to understand what a huge deal OTT has meant to actors, old and new, who finally have a place to seek varied work that does justice to their talent. Take Chak De India girl Shilpa Shukla, for example.

 

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The actor, despite playing the team’s gunda in the film, managed to get us all rooting for her. Sadly, we haven’t seen much of her on screen, barring a few stints like BA Pass. Now we know she’s talented, so could it be a dearth of good, meaty roles that have kept her away? Turns out, OTT is on the case!

In 2020 itself, we’ve seen more of Shilpa Shukla on OTT than we have on the big screen, with roles in Mentalhood, Hostages and most recently, Criminal Justice: Behind Closed Doors. In an interview with Hindustan Times, she talked about how the future of streaming services looks bright, and thereby, so does that of actors associated with it. “To me OTT sounds like a mix of theatre and cinema. The grammar is new, we’re beginning to learn and hopefully in the next couple of years it’s going to do much more.”

 

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Indeed, and it’s quite exciting to be a content creator or filmmaker right now. Because you know that there isn’t just one option (the big screen or television) and just one metric (the box office) that your work will be judged by. In fact, with OTT almost eliminating the ‘BO’ pressure, small budget films with unique subjects have managed to get the upper hand. Today we’ve got anthology films, short films and various formats being experimented with. And there’s an audience out there for all of it. Producers and studios are backing these projects because there’s no fear of empty screens.

Shilpa Shukla is also grateful that OTT is offering something resembling a new lease on life for actors who were a bit lost because they couldn’t find the kind of roles they were looking for. They finally have a place to go, and it has to do with the distribution of streaming services being massive.

“The reach and acceptance of the audience has suddenly increased. I’m happy that people liked all these projects and my work. Thanks to the web, one thing that we’ve been talking about for years that time is going to change, it’s happening now. All the actors who’ve worked on their crafts for years are finally getting what they deserve.”

Also Read: Tandav Teaser: Dimple Kapadia Holds Her Own In This Power-packed Political Drama

Another substantial change brought about by the arrival of OTT on the scene is the kind of avenues it has opened for women—actors, filmmakers, writers, and subjects. Women no longer have to be content with playing second fiddle to the superstar hero, or not get projects because films made for women, by women and about women don’t do well on the box office. 2020 has been a stellar year for women filmmakers, actors and women-centric content.

“It’s not like either you’re a heroine or a vamp. Now female characters are layered, have shades of reality. Web is offering that space to women. Criminal Justice is one of the biggest examples. All those women who were waiting in the wings are now getting opportunity,” says Shilpa.

 

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Earlier actresses were deemed to have a ‘shelf life’. If she’s married, or a mother IRL, she would get typecast in certain roles. But not anymore. Look at Dimple Kapadia, all set to headline a show, Tandav, on Amazon Prime Video. Sushmita Sen just won us over with Aarya in 2020, didn’t she?

“When you’ve a limited shelf life you tend to compromise. But OTT has changed the perspective. Now, you can shine at any age. That way it’s much relaxed, encouraging. I feel the market is fairer now.”

And Shilpa Shukla is ready for it all—all the interesting parts and opportunities that OTT might throw at her. She concludes, “Now I’m prepared. The offers have been better in terms of characters, stories, directors, banners… I’ve a couple of web shows and a film that’s happening. I’m not someone who gets bothered doing ensembles or length of my role. I’ve done smaller roles just to share screen space with a particular actor. As Konstantin Stanislavski says, there are no small parts, only small actors.”

Hear hear! I recently spoke to Sandhya Mridul on the same subject, and she spoke about how, she kept on being offered the same kind of roles in movies and TV shows. She was this bold, feisty, bindaas woman and that’s the only character people saw her playing. But that’s not all she is as an actor. And she couldn’t understand why people couldn’t understand that she wanted to play versatile roles. OTT was finally quenching that thirst.

Also Read: “OTT Is Encouraging My Versatility”: Sandhya Mridul On Tandav, And Finally Getting To Play Non-Stereotypical Characters

Well, I guess, as happy as we are with our OTT offering an endless stream of content, the actors are happier. Their dried up well of good roles and unique scripts is finally brimming.

Study Finds Women Directors Helmed Record Number Of Hollywood Films In 2020. Back Home Also, Women Ruled The Roost

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