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In a year dominated by Covid realities all around us, one absolute truth that emerged is that viewing patterns of audiences all over the world we’re in for a change this year. With cinema halls facing closure owing to lockdown, OTT platforms became the primary source of entertainment. While the big screen will not go away, streaming services have sure come of age and redefined for good how we perceive entertainment from now on.
The pandemic-induced lockdown ushered generic trends, too, and these are expected to be big in the future. In India, especially, many subjects and trends that were traditionally not so popular are suddenly evincing popular interest, now that access to variety is just a click away.
“The pandemic induced lockdown has only accelerated the demand for multi-platform content. OTT is not restricted by the pressure of finite airtime and hence the variety of content, at scale, is greater than broadcast,” Ajit Andhare, COO, Viacom18 Studios, told IANS while talking about the booming OTT space in India.
“Secondly, unlike theatrical productions, the content isn’t bound by time and scale constraints either. Therefore the platform offers versatility to content creators. It is this flexibility from mainstream production values that have enabled us to create shows like Jamtara, Taj Mahal, and She. Audience exploring new narratives & genres augurs well for us creators and will further develop the creative ecosystem,” he added.
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IANS takes a look at top trends that created ripples in the OTT space:
The year started with the spooky anthology Ghost Stories, and the trend of stringing several stories together continued all through the year. Some of the noteworthy anthologies include Ludo, Unpaused, and Paava Kadhaigal.
Direct to service releases
With the cinemas shutting down due to the coronavirus pandemic, movies ditched the traditional release route for the digital world. the Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer Gulabo Sitabo started the trend, which continues to gain steam.
Aarya, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, Bulbul, Bhaag Beanie Bhaag, Guilty, Four More Shots Please!, Hundred, Choked”, Raat Akeli Hai — the list only keeps growing. Female-led narratives are the trend all over in the world of entertainment, and the OTT space has been particularly susceptible to the trend.
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There was a dose of reality in the diverse fiction world of the streaming services, thanks to documentary films and series. The topics were varied — from kabaddi to sneak peek into the lives of Bollywood wives.
Regional films and shows
Amid lockdown, regional content found a new and wide audience on the OTT platforms in India, from Telugu, Tamil, Kannada to Malayalam. Regional cinema from the South especially saw a good response in the digital space.
While on stories, here are the top shows and movies that grabbed attention for being a little out of the league, in terms of idea and themes:
Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story
Filmmaker Hansal Mehta captured the story of one of the biggest financial scams in the Indian stock market. The financial thriller emerged as a winner, making Gujarati actor Pratik Gandhi, who essayed the role of Harshad Mehta, an overnight stay.
The hilarious satire series emerged as one of the sleeper hits while providing much-needed comic relief to the audience. It is about a young secretary of a Panchayat office in a village and his journey of coping up with rural life. The series stars Jitendra Kumar, Neena Gupta, Raghubir Yadav, and Chandan Sanyal.
Arshad Warsi made his digital debut with the show on a successful note. The crime thriller brings forward two opposing worlds against each other — the less explored world of forensic science and the world of ancient Indian mythology. Available on Voot Select, it also stars Barun Sobti, Riddhi Dogra, and Anupriya Goenka.
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Fabulous Lives Of Bollywood Wives
The web series chronicles the lives of popular star wives such as Maheep Kapoor, Neelam Kothari, Seema Khan, and Bhavana Pandey. It is backed by Johar’s Dharmatic Entertainment, the digital arm of Dharma Production.
Bad Boy Billionaires: India
The docuseries explores the greed, fraud, and corruption that built, and ultimately brought down, the most infamous tycoons in India. It is available on Netflix.
The eight-episode Hotstar Special spy action-thriller series is based on the role of Indian intelligence in a series of real terror attacks that India has faced over the last 19 years, including the 26/11. Filmmaker Neeraj Pandey has directed the series along with Shivam Nair. It stars Kay Kay Menon, Karan Tacker, Saiyami Kher, and Vinay Pathak.
The musical show, which launched Ritwik Bhowmik and Shreya Chaudhry, was a hit. It follows the story of two lovers from different musical backgrounds. The show, streaming on Amazon Prime Video, also features Naseeruddin Shah, Atul Kulkarni, Sheeba Chaddha, Rajesh Tailang, and Kunaal Roy Kapur.
Sushant Singh Rajput’s last film premiered on the Disney+ Hotstar in July and got a lot of attention. It was the official remake of the 2014 Hollywood romantic drama “The Fault in our Stars”. Earlier this year, according to a report by TV viewership monitoring agency BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) and data measurement firm Nielsen, Dil Bechara emerged as the top movie in the first week of release on an OTT platform, when it comes to the content viewed on smartphones.
With cinema halls shut owing to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Khuda Haafiz went for a direct-to-OTT release. It stars Vidyut Jammwal and Shivaleeka Oberoi. After the success of the first part, the makers have announced the second chapter of the story, and are planning to release it on the big screen.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: महिलाओं के खिलाफ हिंसा रोकने के लिए ‘दखल दो’ अभियान से जुड़े राजकुमार राव
The film may have drawn plenty of criticism as an entertainer, but it was truly a lavish crossover effort, between talents of Hollywood and Bollywood. Chris Hemsworth had a blockbuster digital debut as an actor with “Extraction”. He was seen as a fearless, black market mercenary Tyler Rake, who embarks on the most deadly extraction of his career when he is enlisted to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned international crime lord. The film was majorly shot in India.
Never Have I Ever
Mindy Kaling’s quirky show traced her relationship with Indian culture and used her “relationship with being Hindu” to narrate the story of 15-year-old Devi, a first-generation Indian American, and her desperation to feel that she belongs in society in the delightful “Never Have I Ever”. The Netflix show was a big hit and has been renewed for a second season.
Sushmita Sen’s comeback show Aarya delved into how organized crime and betrayal runs deep in a family. It revolves around the protagonist Aarya Sareen, who is dragged into her husband’s narcotics business when her family is threatened after his death. The show will be back with a second season soon.
Actress Anushka Sharma’s debut web production Paatal Lok opened to rave reviews. The show is about a police officer Hathiram who is on the lookout for four criminals — serial killer Vishal “Hathoda” Tyagi (Abhishek Banerjee), Tope “Chaaku” Singh (Jagjeet Sandhu), Kabir M. (Aasif Khan), and Mary “Cheeni” Lyngdoh (Mairembam Ronaldo Singh).
Nawazuddin Siddiqui was universally applauded for his role in the Sudhir Mishra directorial, Serious Men. The Netflix movie was an adaptation of Manu Joseph’s book of the same name. It narrates the tale of an underachiever who tries to make it big in Mumbai after discovering that his child could be a boy genius.
Four More Shots Please!
The show follows four unapologetically flawed women as they discover life while balancing friendship in Mumbai. The second season showed how they coped with their fears and insecurities. The show will be back with the third season soon.
The period horror drama narrated the journey of a young girl named Bulbbul from innocence to strength, with the looming shadow of the legend of a ‘chudail’. The story gives a positive spin to the term ‘chudail’. (IANS)
Amitabh Bachchan is adored by the public for his unforgettable on-screen performances as well as his magnetic demeanour. Not only do fans love Amitabh Bachchan's outstanding performance, but the actor's heartwarming words are also highly regarded. A much moved Amitabh Bachchan, during his speech to the crowd of over 80,000 people at the Reliance Industries' annual event, said that the legacy left by Dhirubhai has had a positive impact on millions of people's lives worldwide.
When Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan became bankrupt in the late 1990s, Dhirubhai Ambani stepped forward to give him financial assistance. In his speech, Bachchan remembered that Dhirubhai had sent Anil Ambani to offer him financial assistance during the crisis, which he had respectfully declined. Lenders began knocking on his door, losses mounted, and his bank account dwindled to nothing. He said, "Dhirubhai's money might have gotten me out of the problem quickly. However, I respectfully declined his offer and gradually began to find work again, which let me pay off my debt."
Amitabh Bachchan is adored by the public for his unforgettable on-screen performances as well as his magnetic demeanour. | Flickr
Later, after Bachchan had recovered from the bankruptcy, one day he was invited to an event at Dhirubhai's residence; Bachchan added, "Dhirubhai was standing and having a chat with his industrialist friends when he saw me there, he called me, firstly I felt shy even to present myself in front of such big industrialists but then, I went there, and Dhirubhai declared in front of all of them that 'This young man had fallen but managed to get back up on his own, I have a lot of respect for him because of that.' Those words of his were worth much more to me than any amount of money that he could have offered me."
It was the "Reliance Family Day" event and was attended by members of the Ambani family from all generations. The event commemorated the company's 40-year journey since its inception. It also celebrated the 85th birthday of the late Dhirubhai Ambani, RILs (Reliance Industries Limited) founder.
Keywords: Bollywood, Reliance, Amitabh Bachchan, Dhirubhai Ambani, event
In comparison to adults, children are prone to getting traumatized by troubling events easily, and this makes it important for parents to help their children when the times are tough. It could be a brutal accident, an unprecedented pandemic, a violent crime, or other disasters but with the right parental support, children have a higher chance of coming out stronger from an awful situation.
Anuja Kapur, Psychologist shares few tips wherein you can assist your child when tough times comes calling:
Every child responds differently to disturbing events: What children feel about a current disaster in their life and how they react to it can come and go in waves. Children can act moody and withdrawn at times, struck with sorrow and fear at other times. There's no absolute "right" or "wrong" way to feel after a traumatic event so make sure not to dictate what your child or how your child should feel and react to the event.
Children can act moody and withdrawn at times, struck with sorrow and fear at other times. | Photo by Kat J on Unsplash
Encourage your child to be transparent: Just make sure you let your child know that whatever feelings they're experiencing is normal. The unpleasantness will pass if your child opens up about it and that the phase is temporary. While many teens may be reluctant to talk about their feelings with a parent, encourage them to confide in another trusted adult such as a family friend, relative, or a counselor and teacher. It's important to talkeeven if it's not with you.
Just make sure you let your child know that whatever feelings they're experiencing is normal. | Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash
Deter your child from reliving the disturbing event: Dwelling over, watching the footage, or imagining the event can be overwhelmingly stressful for children and this stress can even block their nervous system. However, to negate such things from happening encourage activities that keep your child's mind occupied so they're not obsessive about the event. You could encourage your children to read, play games together, or simply watch an uplifting movie.
Dwelling over, watching the footage, or imagining the event can be overwhelmingly stressful for children and this stress can even block their nervous system. | Photo by Юлія Дубина on Unsplash
Cocoon your child with warmth: In order to reassure your child that they are safe with you and feel secure, that the worst is over your physical affection is important in making them feel safe again. Teens may try to be tough through it and avoid being held, but they still need the proximity.
In order to reassure your child that they are safe with you and feel secure, that the worst is over your physical affection is important in making them feel safe again. | Photo by adrianna geo on Unsplash
Maintain routines. Establishing a predictable structure and schedule for your child's life can help to make the world seem more stable again. Try to maintain regular times for meals, homework, and family activities. Make sure your child accommodates time and space for rest, play, and fun. Keeping up with a schedule can help countercheck the obnoxious feeling of stress and worry in children about the future being dark, hopeless, and unpredictable.
Try to maintain regular times for meals, homework, and family activities. | Photo by Paico Oficial on Unsplash
Acknowledge and validate your child's concerns. The disastrous events in life may give place to unrelated fright and concerns in your child. However, understanding and accepting your child's present state is a comfort for the child. If at any point the child blames himself for the event make sure to make it clear and crisp the event was not their fault, you love them, and it's okay for them to feel upset, angry, or scared but not guilty.
Understanding and accepting your child's present state is a comfort for the child Photo by Jeremiah Lawrence on Unsplash
Irrespective of the age of your child, it is vital for parents to offer that extra support and assistance following an unsettling event. The traumatic event may bring up unrelated fears and issues in your child. However, by accepting their thoughts and replacing their fear with your love and direction, the ominous feelings will start to fade away. Eventually, the child will be able to return to a normal and healthy life. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Kids, Help, stress, cope, routine, warmth, understanding, encourage, psychology, children
The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union (EU), has announced plans for smartphone and other electronics manufacturers to fit a common USB-C charging port on their devices in an effort to reduce waste. In addition to phones, the rules will apply to other devices like tablets, headphones, portable speakers, videogame consoles, and cameras, reports The Verge. The decision will have a huge impact on Apple, as the company still uses its own Lightning connector to charge iPhones. The proposals only cover devices using wired, not wireless and a USB-C port is only mandatory for devices that charge using a cable.
"Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices | Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash
"Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices. With more and more devices, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not necessary. We are putting an end to that," the report quoted EU commissioner Thierry Breton as saying.
The Commission also wants to unbundle the sale of chargers from the sale of electronic devices, which it says will improve the consumers' convenience. "With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics - an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste." In addition, the Commission will require manufacturers to provide relevant information about charging performance. (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: Electronic Devices, Chargers, Cable, smartphone, Adapters, Charging Cord