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Filmmakers face more pressure from OTT platforms than producers, says Pa Ranjith

Pa Ranjith directed one of the four stories in the upcoming SonyLIV anthology Victim, which was inspired by real-life events.

  • Team OTTplay

Last Updated: 08.29 AM, Aug 03, 2022

Filmmakers face more pressure from OTT platforms than producers, says Pa Ranjith
Pa Ranjith/Twitter

Victim, an anthology, featuring segments directed by Pa Ranjith, Venkat Prabhu, Rajesh M and Chimbu Devan, will stream on SonyLIV from this week. It features renowned actors including Amala Paul, Prasanna, Priya Bhavani Shankar, Nassar, Kalaiyarasan and Thambi Ramaiah. At a recent press meet, these directors discussed their respective segments, besides the current trends in Tamil cinema and the ongoing OTT versus theatre debate. It's no secret that many are now attuned to subscribing to content online, although the theatre-visiting crowd remains true to their first love. While both of these content distribution formats are frequently pitted against each other, it is important to note that they both cater to different audiences and offer unique USPs.

In response to the notion that OTT platforms have begun to prioritise big stars over good content, Pa Ranjith said, "Even Netflix was first preferring quality content, but as time passed, they started to prioritise projects with star power. They now state unequivocally that they will not purchase anything that does not have star value." Speaking about platforms that churn out originals, the Kaala director added, "OTT platforms have a lot of requirements and want something that will appeal to their target audience. They have a say in the scripts. These days, filmmakers face more pressure from OTT platforms than producers."

Pa Ranjith's segment (Dhammam) in the anthology appears to be the favourite, among the other three directors. Chimbu Devan said he was intrigued by the fact that Ranjith found a story in something we come across every day. "He has done remarkable work within a limited space. In general, we see drone shots are being used everywhere, but in Ranjith's films, they appear beautiful, and the reason why he uses them is pretty justified."

Ranjith, on the other hand, said he hasn't caught the other segments. Anthologies are in high demand as OTT becomes the preferred platform for films. When asked why the anthology format doesn't resonate much with the theatre-going audience, Venkat Prabhu said, "At present, people visit theatres only if the film offered a larger-than-life experience. People don't come to theatres for simple ones. Only films like Fast and Furious and Christopher Nolan’s films attract a crowd to theatres, in the US. It is high time we accepted the fact that films with content and drama found a place only on OTT."

Further, he added, "With the OTT space, creators can tell any story they want, in any way they want, knowing that every story has an audience. It's nice to see how a similar subject is dealt with by each of us, and see how the format of the anthology has developed over the years."