A boy and a girl with opposite worlds, family problems, casual sexism, and some out of the blue songs. Relatable? Yes, very much. From DDLJ to Badrinath Ki Dulhania nothing has changed much in the content delivery of Bollywood. Bollywood aka the Indian film industry used to deliver classics once upon a time but gone are those glorious days. Today, Bollywood produces very clichéd and creepy content which is not liked by the socially aware youth of India.
Fast-forward to this era, here comes the OTT platforms and they are emerging from the shadows of the TV industry because we are aware enough not to waste our time on Ekta Kapoor crap. OTT has its viewing base and it is no longer a mere platform for catch-up shows or mini web-series. OTT players are coming up with compelling original content that is finding great traction with viewers. The success of OTT platforms can be rightly contributed to the revolution in the smartphones and internet industry in India.
A successful Bollywood A-lister Saif Ali Khan who has starred in the Netflix’s population web series ‘Sacred Games’ has himself admitted that the OTT culture has brought homogeneity and bridged the gap between PVR and local theatres. He says- “Unlike films, the digital streaming platforms provide artistes with an “egalitarian” environment where everyone is treated as an equal.” For OTT, content is the king as it does not provide the viewership numbers.
Content and cliched has led to the downfall of Bollywood films. A successful 50-year-old A-lister romancing a 20-year old something. The age gap between the lead pair is indeed cringeworthy. Apart from this, the recent issues are not taken up by Bollywood and even if it does take them, it spoils the content with its stereotypes. Some actors are excessively glorified and some are extremely under-rated. For example- No producer will take a risk to launch their films with newcomers with a Salman Khan flick due to many obvious reasons. Bollywood which is known for making cult classics like Sholay, Khoon Bhari Maang, Mother India, etc is now known for its cringe-worthy rom-coms like Humpty ki Dulhania, its all the more cringe-worthy sequel Badrinath ki Dulhania, Student of the year 2, etc.
On the other hand, OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+Hotstar, etc are making their mark with the younger generation with shows like Mirzapur, Delhi Crime, etc which has original content and solid acting. Many Bollywood stars like Pankaj Tripathi, Manoj Bajpayee, Radhika Apte, etc have come out of their comfort zone and are delivering excellent performances.
However, recently the government has brought the OTT platforms under its regulations. This means the OTT platforms would have to seek approval for the content that they wish to show. And rightly so, of late, content screened by some of the OTT platforms have been highly questionable in terms of vulgarity, obscenity, and the overall agenda of the content.
To conclude, OTT platforms are the future of Indian digital space and if Bollywood wants not to lose out on their young audience base, they need to raise their bar high.