Pandemic has really redefined the fortunes of glamour dolls in Indian cinema at large and Telugu in particular. Coming as a blessing in disguise, the lockdown break has opened up a plethora of opportunities for actors in terms of content, revenue and stardom. Landing a meaty role isn’t a far-fetched dream anymore.
Leading ladies have set the ball rolling in the entertainment industry which has been a topsy-turvy ride with unpredicted results at the box office. The forays of OTT platforms in the market has blurred the line between an actor and a star. Web series, talk shows and adventure films — name it and all have rendered a platform for actors to expand their range.
A slew of actors starting with Samantha Akkineni and Tamannaah to Kajal Aggarwal, Priyamani, Keerthy Suresh and Hansika Motwani — are reaping benefits on OTT platforms. Tamannaah will be seen in boardroom drama titled 11th Hour. The story is about a woman who plays a pivotal role in saving a corporate company from an impending crisis.
At the launch of her new celebrity talk show Sam Jam, Samantha said that the relatively new content on OTT is an extension to her already established filmy career. Fun-filled activities with guests give a candid appeal to viewers and the members of the live audiences. This apart, Samantha has been a host of Bigg Boss Season 4 earlier. She is playing a negative role in The Family Man Season 2.
Likewise, Hansika Motwani who once reigned supreme at Telugu box office hasn’t made a comeback. New Telugu web series titled Naasha, which is being directed Bhaagamathie fame G Ashok, is what drew her attention. However, it was temporarily stalled due to the pandemic.
Kajal Aggarwal, a popular star in the south, has experimented with relatively new content — Tamil web series titled Live Telecast. She is someone who usually likes to do girl-next-door characters. But she took a leap of faith into OTT platform with the horror genre. Featuring Vaibhav and Anandhi, Live Telecast is an out-and-out horror series that was written keeping wider family audiences in view.
Keerthy Suresh is another big star who is creating much buzz since lockdown days on OTT. Although her movie Penguin released on Amazon Prime Video, failed to live up to the expectations of her fans, the star, however, managed to steal the hearts with her performance as a mother. Her recent movie Miss India, another Netflix release, has made people take notice.
Dusky beauty Priyamani is known for her performance-oriented roles as much as her being a glamour doll. After getting featured in web series The Family Man, the actor has a series of projects in store starting with Viraataparvam, Naarappa, Maidaan, and Cyanide, among other films. She is also popular among television viewers as she has stepped into the role of a judge for multiple dance shows.
Doing away with the fair-skin norm
The stereotype that the film industry has been carrying — ‘fetish for fair skin’ has bothered even the brightest talent of actors until now. The colour bias during casting seems to be gradually fading with the transition of viewers’ (new-age audiences) style of content narration.
Picking up the right talent is what matters rather than the popular norm of going for fair-skin appeal. The emergence of OTT has given freedom to filmmakers to explore storylines beyond boundaries of regionality and language.
The recently-released Colour Photo on ‘aha’ is one such example. Even in the absence of cinema halls and multiplexes, the movie penetrated well in the digital space as it reached out to all sections of audiences. Thus, it stands apart from other flicks that were released around the same time. The movie created much buzz on social media for its star cast and screenwriting which added depth in storytelling.
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