Wednesday, November 29, 2023

How OTT filmmakers like Suravi Patnaik are driving the game away from Bollywood

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Suravi Patnaik is a tech entrepreneur and film producer who started her career in films as a crew member in the Hollywood flick Mission Impossible: Fallout in 2018. She is also the co-founder of Sponsa Limited, a global company providing tech and film production services. In her short career, Suravi has successfully carved her niche as a businesswoman and believes the statement ‘Vocal for Local’ is not a code word in the startup world anymore, but is emerging fast as the voice of rising OTT platforms.

The Dying Star System

In 2018, a leading filmmaker complained about actors being delusional by demanding irrational pay cuts even if their movies don’t open up too much at the box office. Thanks to COVID, this undue reliance on “star system” and box office openings are both declining fast, giving rise to more “producer-friendly” projects. This, in conjunction with the uptick in streaming platforms that can dish out regional offerings without waiting for pan-India theatres has only reinforced the digital platform, says Patnaik.

In today’s fast paced world, content is clearly the king as viewers are getting tired of the same old formula of a “bankable star” with chiseled six packs or photoshopped item songs.

Beyond Bollywood

With the spike in viewership of OTT platforms and regional content gaining prominence, it is believed to be the best time to be an outsider in Bollywood. The popularity of regional cinemas can be seen due to the growth in megacities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Pune as a melting pot for diverse cultures. People now migrate and live in these cities, and are able to relate to regional cinema even if they don’t speak the language. As a result, regional cinema is crossing language and medium barriers, and setting the cash flow on fire, believes Patnaik.

Film stars like Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma and Ritesh Deshmukh are among the few A-listers who boarded an early bus to produce regional languages on OTT platforms and give new talent a chance. This has paved the way for many talented artists to showcase their work in the industry.

According to a recent survey conducted by FICCI and EY, regional content consumption in OTT will continue to surge and is predicted to cross 50% by 2025 compared to its 30% share in 2019. This has only reinforced viewers’ preference of content over the grandiose of Bollywood.

Apart from her commendable work in filmmaking despite being an outsider, Suravi has aced many other arenas of her life. From consecutively topping in school to receiving a prestigious award of a bright student, from clearing her Masters degree with flying colours to becoming an entrepreneur, Suravi has proven her talents over and over. She is an inspiration for all those young girls who want to make it big by chasing their dreams.

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