Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Randeep Hooda doesn’t feel OTT is a threat to the big screen in any way

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The ongoing virus scare might have disrupted the cinema-going experience at large, changing the way content is consumed, but actor Randeep Hooda insists that nothing can replace the magic of stories coming alive on the big screen.

After seven months of shutdowns, just when things started getting back on track with theatres coming alive with new releases, things have become bleak once again with the second wave of the Covid-19 hitting every sector hard.

In fact, Hooda’s next, Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai, which was earlier slated to open on the big screen, has opted for a multi-platform model and will now simultaneously release on the web, too. Changing the route might be the need of the hour, but according to the actor, it doesn’t mean OTT is a threat to the big screen.

“I don’t think that the cinema watching experience in a large darkened hall with other people, and all the reactions, which is infectious, can ever be replaced,” the actor says with confidence, and continues, “But OTT platforms have recently defined its audience.”

Hooda points out that this change in consumption pattern has not only made the web a lucrative avenue for filmmakers, but is also giving new lease of life to some old projects. Picking examples from his work life, the 44-year-old reveals, “A lot of my films which suffered because of marketing or release (plan), have now found their audience on digital platforms”.

The actor, who has actively explored the OTT space in India as well as internationally, credits the pandemic for boosting the popularity of the medium.

“The growth which was to come in industry in the next five years — in terms of the content we produce or the movies we make — has hastened up because of Covid-19. For all these months when people were in lockdown, they explored a variety of different themes and different executions,” he opines.

And no wonder, the audience today is yearning for something new and different, “because maturity in the audience has come earlier than it would have otherwise”.

Fortunately, Hooda isn’t the person who fears change, instead he welcomes it.

“I try to adapt to the changing world as best as I can. Like, I adapted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown and adapted to the fact that you don’t need much, that happiness is dependent on very less compared to what we think,” says Hooda, who made his international web debut last year with Chris Hemsworth-starrer Extraction, and will soon be seen in web series, Inspector Avinash.

At the moment, he feels more adaptable than before. “There’s nothing, and no roles I want to avoid. I’m playing a full-fledged villain in Radhe for the first time. That has been a welcome change. I’m hoping that there’ll will be more things that knock on my door, which I’ve not thought of. I hope I can do them and cope with it,” he concludes.

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