The days of cine-superstars lording over audiences’ attention is over. The OTT platform ,a compulsion rather than a preference in 2020 to begin with, has now come to stay. As Sunny Leone told me , people have become habituated to watch their cinematic content at home.Writer-filmmaker Rumi Jaffrey puts it even better. “When you have tea without sugar you find the tea bitter for the first few days. Then after the 15th day you become so used to it you don’t want to go back to chai with shakkar.The same happened with the OTT platform. Audiences have now acquired a different taste.” Digital domain has its own star system now. Here are the ones getting the best roles and remuneration , who will shine in 2021.
1. Amit Sadh: Cinema just didn’t give him the space and attention he deserved. In 2020 he made a terrific impact in Breathe 2 where he played the troubled out-of-control cop with remarkable restrain. Digital audiences , now exposed to discreet acting, have zeroed in on Amit’s ability to say more by saying less.Avrodh The Siege Within, further consolidated his position in 2020 as a solid reliable digital star whom the ladies like to fantasize about. He is now one of the most in-demand OTT stars. In 2021 he will open innings with a war bio-pic Zid followed by Breathe 3 for which he’s training in Dubai as you read this.Amit busier than many of the so-called superstars from Bollywood.
2. Jitendra Kumar: He is one of the original products of the digital platform, having made a big impact with Permanent Roommates and Kota Factory. In 2020 Jitendra scored big with Panchayat a series celebrating rural India’s stuttering awakening, just what Jitendra needed. He’s now being offered the kind of money he had never seen before.
3. Kunnal Khemmu: After being given a raw deal for years, Kunnal Khemmu has finally found his fair share of fame in the digital domain. In 2020 he had two knock-out hits on OTT with the gruesome crime thriller Abhay 2 and the airy amusing Lootcase. They now want him for many big web series including the next season of Abhay . There are throwing tempting offers at Kunnal to team up with his wife Soha Ali Khan on the OTT, which Kunnal is considering. Perhaps brother-in-law Saif Ali Khan who was the first major Bollywood star transit into OTT, can help Kunnal make up his mind.
4. Neena Gupta: Hotly in demand on the digital domain after the unexpected success of Panchayat and Masaba Masaba where she played her own daughter’s mother. All of a sudden Neena is being seen as the only major female superstar on the OTT platform. “I’ve never looked at the offers as digital or non-digital, television or cinema. To me a role is a role,whether it’s theatre,cinema or the mobile phone,” says Neena. Watch out for her powerhouse performance at home in 2021.
5. Tanuj Virwani: Huge success came his way with Inside Edge and its sequel . In 2020 Tanuj was seen in the moderately well-received Code M. Virwani has been using all of 2020 to zero in on the projects that he will take on in 2021. It’s a lineup that takes him impressively away from what his star-mother Rati Agnihotri did in her heydays. “Times have changed, and in 2020, so have tastes. What worked on the large screen no longer works at home. Entertainment has acquired a new meaning and relevance now.I am doing serials that are pathbreakers but at the same time they are solid entertainers. They have to be. Otherwise the man watching you on his phone while commuting or the lady looking at your series while the daal gets prepared in the pressure cooker ,will find something else to see.”