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What will be the Future of Bollywood after the Over-the-top (OTT) platforms?

The 2022 year has been one of the most difficult ones in Bollywood’s long and illustrious history. Due to its long-standing tradition of male-led dramas with thin or non-existent narratives and the widespread belief that stars can do no wrong, the Hindi film industry has reached a crossroads where its identity is in danger. 

Many pricey Bollywood films featuring Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan, and Ranbir Kapoor—three of India’s most famous actors—have failed at the box office. These performers are among the country’s most bankable celebrities. A few instances of these overhyped films that did not live up to their expectations are Kumar’s Bachchan Pandey, Kapoor’s Shamshera, and Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha, a Hindi remake of Forrest Gump.

The premiere of Kapoor’s film Brahmastra, a combination of The Da Vinci Code and the Marvel world, resulted in a dramatic decline in the stock prices of two of India’s most important movie theatre chains, Inox and PVR. The producers and theatre owners had to lower ticket prices to bring in an audience, which allowed them to ultimately recover their investment.

The root of the problem is not political or post-covid era problems but within the industry itself.

There is a straightforward answer to Hollywood’s issues. Storylines, or the lack of them in this case.

The film, in general, and Bollywood, in particular, significantly influence India’s popular culture. The average Indian moviegoer won’t be deterred from seeing a film if it satisfies their standards, regardless of how many calls for bans or worries about the public’s health are made.

Before the proliferation of OTT channels, a significant portion of Bollywood’s budget was allocated to formulaic films that heavily emphasized well-known performers. It was an everyday occurrence for people to go to the movies and see a movie.

Over-the-top (OTT) platforms gave direct competition to the Indian Industry and dismantled the monopoly.

Over-the-top media services provide content to consumers without going via traditional distribution channels. Over-the-top (OTT) services avoid using conventional content gatekeepers and distributors, including cable, broadcast, and satellite TV networks. For example, Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, etc. 

However, the content library of OTT services is now practically endless, making it possible for Indian fans to catch up on international successes such as House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones prequel that shattered records upon its release on HBO. Why waste time and money going to the movies when they don’t have anything fresh or innovative to give after all that’s happened?

At this stage, traditional Bollywood has much to gain from OTT platforms as a source of inspiration. The enormous catalog of television series and motion pictures that may be accessed via streaming services did not miraculously materialize out of thin air.

Over-the-top (OTT) platforms have made it easier for filmmakers to cast less well-known but capable actors in a wider range of tales than is feasible in traditional Bollywood. This is because OTT platforms have made it possible to stream content directly to users’ devices. This democratization has led to fierce competition in this sector since its target population consists of individuals from all over the globe. 

The success of a tale lies in its ability to connect with its audience.

In reality, creatives in South India’s film and television industries say that their strength lies in their ability to remain firmly anchored among the public by often addressing the plight of the average person. Kantara sheds light on the animist practices of the coastal state of Karnataka, which the rest of India is unaware of.

The types of storylines connected with viewers this year suggest that Hindi films might likewise turn to solutions. Here we have films like Jugjugg Jeeyo, which explores marital strife caused when wives achieve more success than their husbands, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, a hilarious comedy horror thriller, and Gangubai Kathiawadi, a crime drama inspired by the life of a mafia queen. Even in Thailand, nobody expected Gangubai to be such a success.

If Bollywood is to continue existing, it must adapt. It needs to hear what the people are saying. The goal is to provide a wide range of materials that can accommodate every taste in the narrative.

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