The power of OTT to create roles for talented actors, given the medium’s slant at unconventional content, seems to be having a positive impact on television, too. Content on Indian TV is changing. The small screen is increasingly coming up with fresh stories and characters.
Among changes palpable is the kind of roles going to actors who have crossed their forties. With shows such as “Janani”, “Anupamaa”, and “Indiawali Maa” among others, the veterans of television are making a mark on television screens more than other platforms. For the first time, perhaps, TV writers seem to be thinking of creating entire storylines around veteran actors.
Well-known television actor Mahesh Thakur feels it is less about the right scripts coming from writers and more about people in power to take the call.
“I have done a lead role on OTT but later whatever scripts came my way were not good. More than the writers, it is the mindset of people who are in power — the OTT heads. There is a lot of talent out there. People who have been around for a long time know their job. They know their dialogues, their performances. Confidence is one thing but experience is another. The youngsters who go on OTT might have confidence but they don’t have the kind of talent that experienced artistes have,” said Thakur.
Actress Sucheta Khanna, stars in the sitcom “Jijaji Chhat Parr Koii Hai”, considers the scene with a slightly different view.
“There are so many central characters in OTT that are above 40. Of course, television has a new wave where actors above 40 are getting meatier and centralised characters, which is a wonderful beginning for actors such as me,” said Khanna.
About the notion that OTT is partial to younger characters compared to television, writer Sumrit Shahi, writer of the popular OTT series “Dev DD”, said: “There are a lot of strong characters being written by people of older age, in their 40s or above. They might not be at the centrestage of an OTT show, but there are enough individual characters that stand out. A great example would be that of Kulbhushan Kharbanda in ‘Mirzapur’.”
Sumrit, however, is partial to OTT as a medium when it comes to imagining older characters on screens. “The point is on television there is a set prototype of characters. On OTT, the older characters can be portrayed more realistically. Having said that, not many characters have veterans in the centrestage but if a good story comes long, it will change everything. “