Actress-producer Anushka Sharma is over the moon with the rave reviews her debut web production ‘Paatal Lok’ has received.
“When we were making the show we weren’t thinking of it to be the best show, we were just trying to tell a story and we just wanted to stay true to the story. Today when the show is getting appreciated on these lines it makes us feel very happy that it is being called the best show that India has ever produced,” Sharma said.
Sharma added that she and her brother Karnesh, right from the beginning, were always “inspired by the work that was happening throughout the world”.
“OTT [streaming] platforms allow you to kind of sample the content that is being created world over in Ireland, Turkey, America, United Kingdom. It enables you to see the content creators all over the world and the work that they do and we would obviously get very inspired by that and always desire to create that kind of content, which can inspire people and which we felt very inspired through,” she said.
As soon as the show aired, Sharma received a barrage of messages from friends and colleagues.
“Today, when we get calls from so many of our colleagues and filmmakers that they felt inspired after watching ‘Paatal Lok’, it makes us feel that we have done something that was truly inspiring,” Sharma said.
“It is because of the team that worked on the project. It is because of the writing, the actors, the technicians who worked on it — everybody coming together and being on the same page. That is the reason the show is being called what it is being called. As a producer that’s what makes me feel the happiest that every aspect of the show that you have backed has got its appreciation.”
Sharma, who has already bankrolled ventures like ‘NH10’, ‘Phillauri’ and ‘Pari’, says the reason she stepped into the exciting world of digital content is because the space allows filmmakers to express freely.
“I see the OTT platform as an opportunity for filmmakers and groups of individuals to be able to touch upon stories and ideas you can explore in a longer format with the show, which you can’t do with the film. Sometimes you want to flesh out details of a story, and introduce every aspect of it in a way that is relevant and interesting to an audience, something which is different. It also allows you to express yourself freely, because of the nature of the platform and its audience,” the actress added.
She stressed that the streaming platform has always been an avenue “which was interesting to us producers.”
“The other thing is that as producers we don’t restrict ourselves, we just want to be able to send out stories and ideas. I can say there are two different platforms now in India, you have the streaming platforms and you have your theatrical releases, and I think you can choose and decide where you want to put out what. That kind of liberty is something that we have taken advantage of.”
With interesting content coming on the web space, does she see the digital space taking over the regular cinemagoing experience?
“I believe that the OTT platforms are a great introduction to us because it enables us to say a story in an in a fleshed-out manner. One can really get in the many aspects of the story and touch upon various topics within the framework of one story,” said the actress.
Liberty is one thing that the platform offers, Sharma feels.
“I think that kind of liberty you do not have with feature film, but at the same time there are films which are being produced specifically made for the OTT platform. I feel one needs to keep in mind the content, idea and story which is being presented on the OTT platform,” she said.
At the same time, she says that the moviegoing experience will not fade away.
“We Indians as people are culturally people who love to celebrate together. We love doing things as part of a community. So we will always be interested in doing something collectively as a community. It [the big screen] is an outing experience with family and I don’t see that going out. We are not independent as people, that’s just who we are culturally. I think movies will always continue to be,” the star said.
Sharma feels that the theatergoing experience and OTT platforms will coexist.
“The only difference that is going to happen — and it’s a natural progression with changing times — is maybe we will now have to start thinking as producers, as filmmakers, what content is to be made for which platform,” she said. “So stories will probably be more befitting for the OTT platform, and the experience of the theatres can never ever be replaced by the OTT platforms. So I believe that they will manage to exist together.”