Actor Jaideep Ahlawat says OTT has changed the course of his career and how. From his first short film Narmeen (2008) to now, Ahlawat aka Hathi Ram Chaudhary in the web series Paatal Lok, has walked a long road to success.
“The lockdown situation has changed our viewing habit and did wonders for OTT. We knew Pataal Lok was good, but who would’ve expected so much love. Never thought I would get this kind of recognition. Everyday a new set of people are watching Paatal Lok, many are even re-watching,” says the actor, who also earned accolades for his performances in Lust Stories (2018), Bard of Blood (2019) on the web, and for films, Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) and Raazi (2018).
“People are tagging me along with Manoj Bajpayee and Pankaj Tripathi and suggested to make this trio work for a blockbuster experience. OTT gave me the audience and recognition a performer craves for. I finally feel arrived. Won’t be surprised if I get mobbed for selfies, autographs now when I step out,” he shares with a laugh.
Ahlawat adds there’s so much scope for a writer to develop the story, characters on the web. “Directors and cinematographers too get enough space to describe scenes and narratives. When these creative minds get to play so much, it opens up space for actors too. Every part has an arc and growth… OTT is a much liberating and democratic space. It did miracle for the performer in me that films didn’t.”
However, he explains films and OTT are very different mediums. “In films, you finish a story within two hours but in OTT you’ve a good six-seven hours. Cinema has its own charm. I enjoy working in both the mediums. But yes in main stream films character actors like us get lesser scope at times,” he says adding that after Paatal Lok he has got many film and web offers, and unlike earlier, all are prominent characters.
“Even remuneration has been better,” he says.
It took time, but Ahlawat is not one to crib. “Kabhi kuchh kaam jaldi mukaam tak pahaunchta hai, kabhi samay lag jaata hai. Patience is the key. A lot of hard work, heartbreaks and emotions went into my journey too. Bura aur achha waqt dono hi nahi theherta,” he signs off.
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Author tweets @Shreya_MJ