Thamizh Talkies: Realm of new possibility
The writer is a content producer and art curator
There is a certain allure when a woman plays the lead. You can write her character in myriad ways. A cinematic world with such a character is as lit as life is with women, and yet, the women we have seen in mainstream cinema have fallen into stereotypes, with rare exceptions. There is a marked difference in the role for a leading lady, say between a film a Nayanthara frontlines, where she is the ‘hero of the film’—meaning most saleable name — and a film featuring a hero, in which she’s the heroine (eg: Netrikann & Bigil).
With the post-COVID world divided into theatrical and OTT content, there lies an opportunity for writing lead roles for women that can go beyond elevated TV. This has been proven on global platforms like HBO, which featured the amazing Kate Winslet in Mare of Easttown, and Nicole Kidman in Big Little Lies that also roped in Meryl Streep in a non-stereotypical role. Nicole Kidman seems to star in a host of OTT Originals (Hemingway and Gellhorn on Hotstar in India) in which she also doubles up as the executive producer/producer, while frontlining series or films that have been shot after COVID struck, like Nine Perfect Strangers that is currently showing on Amazon Prime.
Theatre and OTT will come to co-exist despite all the current murmurs from fans of the big screen (I am one myself). Writers will gain better ground on OTT than they ever did in cinema and a newer crop of directors will come in as a web series can be helmed by more than one director. Creative collaborations that may not be possible for the bigger screen, are possible on OTT. A pro-active, pro-content approach will ensure that everyone emerges a winner.
So where does this (now utopian) chain begin? Does a producer ring the bell first or does the OTT platform call for submissions? Do writers take their stories to producers and actors first or do the heroes and heroines who have been shying away from OTT open themselves up for such narrations? Won’t it be wonderful if all of it happened simultaneously, and all doors were thrown open, so that content from the South can set the template for the rest of India?