At a time when Indians are divided on the prospects of OTT and Bollywood, Alia Bhatt, actor and entrepreneur, says that mainstream cinema inevitably must be about larger-than-life storytelling, which is widespread in its reach. “By widespread, I mean it should reach out to a larger audience. It’s a family audience, so everyone from the family; people from all parts of the country, and even the world, could come and enjoy it on the big screen. That is the idea of a mainstream movie,” says Bhatt.
She believes that over the years, OTT platforms will be known as a more intimate method of storytelling. “But then there will also be extremely large-scale, big-budget shows being made which will sit on an OTT platform,” she says. Bhatt adds that with the passage of time, it will be evident what is more intimate storytelling and what is not. “Something which is able to cut across diasporas and geographies will bode well for an OTT platform,” she adds.
Bhatt—who has been the leading lady in some of the biggest cinematic projects this year— believes that for an actor, the art of essaying a role is medium-agnostic. “I don’t think the art of acting changes depending on which medium you are in. The intention always is to tell a good story—whether it’s for the big screen or small screen, or even an audio story. The process may change from actor to actor, but I don’t think it changes from medium to medium,” says Bhatt.
Drawing from her experience, where she has essayed roles in Darlings—which was released exclusively on Netflix—and films like Gangubai Kathiawadi, RRR, and Brahmastra: Part One: Shiva—which was released on the big screen, she says that her approach to acting has largely been the same. However, Bhatt says that the process could differ for her when acting in a TV show or a web series. “Maybe when I do a TV show or a web series, then you can ask how the process is different for a two-hour movie and a three-season web series, for instance. Living with a character is a completely different process altogether,” she explains.
Bhatt believes that for a multi-season web series, the character stays with the actor, and it is easier to get into character. “The number of hours you spend playing a character, it becomes second nature,” she says. Notwithstanding, she says that an actor’s role is to merely bring to life how the director conceives a character.