Voot Select: The new player in the stream
Voot, a new streaming platform to debut with four original series - Asur, Marzi, The Raikar Case and Illegal
According to a 2018 report on OTT platforms, India is expected to become the second-largest video viewing audience globally by 2020. It doesn’t seem very far fetched, considering how digital viewing practices have percolated into our society. The choice pool just got larger with Viacom’s Voot introducing Voot Select, its premium offering that will offer original Indian content along with syndicated international content for premium users.
Taking on popular streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hotstar, Voot Select has stepped into the original content market with four series - Asur, Marzi, The Raikar Case and Illegal - with more shows in the pipeline. Interestingly, Asur will see a senior actor, Arshad Warsi, make his digital debut. Known for his comic roles, Asur will supposedly show Arshad in a new dimension. “The plot and storyline are so unique audience will be on the edge of their seats from start to finish. Voot Select will showcase some great stories,” the actor shares.
An opportunity to explore newer spaces is what got Shaitan actor Rajeev Khandelwal, excited about Marzi, another of Voot Select’s originals. “Nothing about this would remind you of anything I have done before. If I became a mere product of my image, then I will feel like a loser,” he says, explaining his reason for taking to the medium. A popular name on Hindi television as well, Rajeev believes that TV hadn’t offered him anything new in recent times. “Times change and you need to pick up things that work the best for you.” He also adds that the digital space makes room for some exciting collaborations between committed people. “In television, I used to do close-ups looking into thin air, but here, Aahana used to remain even after pack-up, for my close-ups. I did the same for her as well,” he says.
Aahana Kumra, who shot to fame with her role in Lipstick under my Burkha, is also excited by the diverse opportunities. Marzi, her show on Voot select, is a story of 'a date gone wrong'. “I am glad such content is being made because we have all been subjected to so much social conditioning. Not just women, but men as well. I am glad that such shows and films question all this, and change our stereotypical perspectives.” She also credits the evolution of the digital realm for bringing varied opportunities for actors. “I loved the script of Marzi the minute I read it. It creates a brave, important conversation. The digital era has brought so many opportunities for actors and with them, so many new stories and concepts to experiment with.”
Actor Barun Sobti, who shot to fame with the Hindi soap, Iss Pyaar Ko Naam Doon, agrees. “It is important that every person capitalises on this space. Personally, I have always felt that content created in India lacks good writing. Writing is the hero in Asur, which has given me the most demanding character so far.”
Apoorva Lakhia, who made films like Haseena Parkar and Shootout at Lokhandwala, believes that this digital space is more a boon for creators than actors. “With storytelling being its primary forte, platforms like Voot Select has given filmmakers and storytellers like us the creative freedom to run with our thoughts,” he says. Writer and senior actor Piyush Mishra, who is making his digital debut with Voot Select’s Illegal, shares this sentiment. “I loved working on the show and am grateful for the opportunity. But I believe actors are puppets and OTT platforms are a screenwriter’s medium. There's space to explore everything in detail, especially for writers." He draws a parallel between his show, Illegal, and the film, Rustom, when he argues that the former is a fleshed-out version of the latter. “These platforms are bringing attention to good writers,” he says, cautioning that the medium must be used judiciously. “There are limits here as well. You can't stretch a show unnecessarily. It shouldn’t attempt to do too much, and end up being overwhelming.”
What's the deal?
Voot Select has been priced at Rs 99/- per month and Rs 999/- per year. Apart from originals, the platform will also provide international shows and talk shows including the Elementary, Masterchef USA, and also provide access to Viacom's TV content 24 hours in advance. (30 minutes for non-fiction shows).