Samyukta Hornad: There’s less risk with web series

Samyukta Hornad shares her views about OTT platforms as an actor

Make hay while the sun shines certainly holds true for actor Samyukta Hornad. After establishing herself firmly in the Kannada film industry, she is now spreading her wings to OTT platforms. According to Samyukta, it all began with director Pradeep Deva Kumar’s Telugu web series, Locked, which was released on the streaming platform Aha, owned by Allu Arjun, after the coronavirus lockdown began.

Locked was released just when people got glued to digital content. Though the web series had nothing to do with the lockdown, it did well on the digital platform. Interestingly, my previous web series, titled G.O.D (Gods of Dharmapuri), also started doing well and was rated among the top 10 series of the year across all platforms. I play a Malayalee journalist from Hyderabad, and it was shot in Hampi,” she says.

This new phase has helped her try her hands at roles that she has not played before. Interestingly, her Tamil film, Abhiyum Anuvum, and four Kannada films - Omelette, Arishadvarga, Mysuru Masala: The UFO Incident, and Red Rum - are also likely to get an OTT release. Discussions are on with leading platforms, but there is no official confirmation as yet.

“All these films are at different stages of post-production work. They had targeted theatrical releases, but due to the delay in reopening of theatres, the makers are now taking a call on digital streaming,” says Samyukta.

With the entertainment industry debating over theatrical and OTT releases, Samyukta says there are two sides to everything. “Today, people are getting to watch films in their toilet, an experience they have gathered over the last 50-60 days. With scare around coronavirus, people are reluctant to venture out, preferring to stick to their phones and laptops. Though it is posing a problem to distributors, it has turned out beneficial to a few actors, assistant directors, junior artistes and filmmakers who are just starting off,” she explains.

That doesn’t mean Samyukta is siding entirely with OTT. “As an actor, a film or a web series is powerful in an equal manner. The experience of watching the first-day first-show of a movie with the audience is something that a digital release can’t give you. There is a different kind of a high you get from the viewers’ reaction, and as actors, you only want more of it. However, it is a lot safer with OTT. The risk with web series is less, and the career graph might not change, which is not the case with the silver screen,” she says, adding that in the current times, it is best to adjust and adapt to the change that the entertainment industry is facing. “If that means more OTT, we should go with it,” says Samyukta, who enjoys being in front of the camera, irrespective of the medium.

“I want to say to all artistes that as actors, we entertain people. However, we don’t come under the ‘essential’ category of people’s life. We might probably bring in hope now. The best way is to motivate ourselves,” says Samyukta, who is happy to be busy amid this pandemic outbreak. “I have a handful of assignments, including documentaries and short films. I also have another web series, to be made in Telugu and Hindi, for which I am yet to begin the shooting.”

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