Kamlesh Pandey, the veteran adman and writer of memorable movies such as Tezaab, Rang De Basanti and Delhi-6, spoke about the state of content on television and OTT platforms, in a recent interaction with BestMediaInfo.com. He said even though OTT offers a lot of freedom to makers, the content has not been like it should have been on these platforms.
“OTT came with a lot of hope because it meant freedom from the fear of box office. OTT removed us from the bondage of box office and allowed us to tell the kind of cinema we wanted to tell, take risks and explore ideas, thoughts, narratives which were never done before in this country.”
Pandey said there should be newer stories on OTT platforms and not just stories about the underworld and mafia.
While some content on OTT is just to shock and attract audiences, it cannot retain them, he felt. “It is quite possible that OTT was perhaps misused by some people because they could show things that were not possible in films or on Indian satellite television to shock people. These kinds of shocks wear off too soon. How much of it can you watch? Pornography is out there on the internet on every cell phone. Why would people watch it on an OTT show? OTT was meant for the kind of stories that did not have any space in theatre or satellite television in India,” he added.
Speaking about satellite television, he said content on TV deteriorated after the early ’90s. Asked how TV channels can attract advertisers as they are shifting towards OTT, he said, “TV channels have become a victim of their own smartness. I was for a long time the head of programming and we started the first Hindi satellite channel but what followed afterwards was obscene, humiliating and regressive.”
“They were recycling old third-grade Hindi movies all over again in the form of soap operas. For some time it did keep the housewives occupied and gave them something to watch for a few hours. It was ultimately a suicide what satellite television did. TV is such a great medium because it is repetitive and addicting. We could have done incredible work. If you go back to the early ’90s, we had such brave shows from Zee TV; we don’t find such shows in India anymore,” he added.