“There are certain natures of which the mutual
influence is such, that the more they say, the more they have to say. For these
out of association grows adhesion, and out of adhesion, amalgamation.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Villette
Indian literature and OTT platforms; an amalgamation extraordinaire, for the alliance of the two exudes a vibrant perspective to the creative world unheard of in the past. Creativity is infinite, it relishes upon the euphoric attitude of the beholder. Creativity is a niche domain, the blessings bestowed upon a selected few, but in a way the rest are also blessed to be entertained with visual as well as auditory treats – spectators and audience alike.
The amalgamation of literature and OTT platforms is one such niche segment of creativity. Let us first understand the crux of this amalgam concept. The field of literature is vast and diverse. A plethora of authors vying for the ‘numero uno’ position. In the process, the readers are lost for options in their deep dive; a quest for knowledge and entertainment. Indian laureates have come a long way in contributing to the literary masterpieces; from contemporary writers like R.K. Narayan, Arundhati Roy, Anita Desai to name a few to the more Gen X ones like Rohinton Mistry, Amish Tripathi, Chetan Bhagat and the likes. Then there’s the more pioneering types in Shashi Tharoor, Devdutt Pattanaik, Sudha Murty and their leagues. All in all ‘the league of extraordinary contributors’, their insatiable thirst for more leads only towards the betterment of India’s rich literary history. The end beneficiaries are ‘we’, the masses who get to relive each of the characters created by these pen–fighters, the unfathomable saga of love, betrayal, euphoria and a basket of all the other emotions penned down.
21st century is the era of digitisation and we mortals are lucky to be here, experiencing what was envisioned by a bunch of creative geniuses. Everything in this century has transformed itself from its previous avatar giving itself a more fashionista look contemplating a need based evolution from its previous versions. Thoughts and facts in the form of stories are not confined to books alone. Talking about books, it has also shaped itself to a refined version in the form of kindle and audio books. This has led to an enhanced reader experience resulting in an increase of reader base. The manifestation that this technological advancement has projected, led to the lurk of avenues to be encashed on and guess what who comes to the rescue – yes, the OTT platforms!
An over-the-top or more commonly known as OTT media service is a streaming media service offered directly to viewers via the Internet. OTT bypasses cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms, the companies that traditionally act as a controller or distributor of such content. Popular OTT platform includes ZEE 5, ALT Balaji, Prime Video, Big Flix, Netflix, Hotstar and Voot which has had a tremendous run of popularity amongst the old and young alike enthralling the audiences with different genres and domains.
What makes these OTT platforms such a sought after entity? Well the answer lies in ‘content’. There’s a well-known saying, ‘Content is King’. This has been once again proved right by intense competition in the OTT world as well as the ever increasing viewership. Traditional viewing platforms are as good as obsolete for it lacks creativity, it lacks pace and most importantly, it lacks content. Traditional media in all its propensity is still holding ground for there are a fewer lot who enjoy watching live matches and being glued to television sets for news. But how long? Even these are fast catching up in the OTT platforms through Hotstar, Jio TV and the akin ones. The icing on the cake – some of the broadcasted programs are free. The humdrum traditional channels in a hurry-curry to save their existence have also followed the golden path with refinement to their newer avatar and those who are yet being aristocratic have been rightly shown the back door by the masses. Another very important aspect that the directors get to showcase through these platforms is ‘freedom’; freedom to be their self without the Censor-Gods poking their nose and curtailing the efforts of the creative team.
The world is passing through a critical phase due to the pandemic Covid-19 and India is not oblivious of it. In fact the torrid times the Indians are facing is a tad more as compared to the rest of the world, considering its huge population and the weak health infrastructure. But we are not shying away and the government with support of its citizens has taken the problem head on and giving it a tough fight. This pandemic has brought the world to a standstill, and it is now a question of ‘survival of the fittest’. I firmly believe that during unprecedented times it is the ‘out of box’ thinking that will keep you ahead of the crowd. OTT platforms were as it is, galloping at a brisk pace and the pandemic meant, it raced ahead by a fair distance. Even contemporary movie producers opted for OTT releases of its films – thereby enthralling the masses with clear-cut winners in the form of ‘Gulabo Sitabo’, ‘Lakshmi Bomb’ and ‘Shakuntala Devi’. OTT platforms has also seen a massive rise in web-series and short stories which are an instant hit with the youths, who can enjoy these creative contents at the click of a button and from the comfort of their home as well as at their own convenient time. This gives the creative brains a wider avenue to showcase their talent considering the OTT platforms are on a constant vigil to look out for creative contents and its source.
To summarise in a nutshell, good creative writings act as a catalyst for the digital world and vice-versa. The amalgam of creativity and showcase is a win-win situation, not only for the writers and directors alike, but also for the viewers. This will only encourage budding writers to put in more honest efforts in their write-ups and they are surely to reap rich dividends. The show business is in good hands and there’s only a bright future ahead in the coming times. Indian Literature and OTT Platforms – a combination par excellence!