29 October, 2020

The Websters: How Web Series Are Changing Dictionary of Stardom

Web series on popular streaming OTT platforms like Hotstar, Netflix and Amazon are the launchpad of talented newcomers trying to find a foothold in the Indian entertainment world

Photograph by Apoorva Salkade
The Websters: How Web Series Are Changing Dictionary of Stardom

The expletives are not muted, the sex scenes unrestrained with moaning, groaning, the work...and the violence is gory—brains blown off by a shotgun, blood squirting out of a neck slashed with a razor. And lording over all these is the devious and ruthless Akhandanand ‘Kaleen Bhaiya’ Tripathi, played by national award winning actor Pankaj Tripathi in Amazon Prime’s Mirzapur, a gangster web series set in the badlands of Uttar Pradesh. Mirzapur is a gripping tale despite the excessive violence and is all set for the second season, just like Sacred Games, the first hugely popular fare from the growing over-the-top (OTT) platform in India.

But the story of the growing popularity of web series in India also has a sub-plot ­concerning the Indian entertainment ­industry—it is now the launch pad for newcomers trying to find a foothold in tinsel town. Web series are what television serials were not so long ago—remember the TV series Circus that turned a certain Shah Rukh Khan to King Khan of Bollywood?...



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