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Why Ajay Devgn is making his OTT Debut

By PATCY N
August 23, 2021 09:24 IST
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'Once in a while if there is a great show, why not do it on OTT?'

Photograph: Kind courtesy Ajay Devgn/Instagram

So what is the secret of Ajay Devgn's success?

Among other things, Ajay asserts he's a switch on-switch off actor, and that makes sure his characters 'don't go to his head'!

Ajay will be seen next in Rudra, a remake of Idris Alba's Luther series about a detective pursued by personal demons as he sets out to crack complex cases.

"It's a brilliant show, that's why I decided to do it," the superstar tells Patcy N/Rediff.com in the concluding part of a candid conversation.

A lot has changed due to the pandemic and that has impacted the kind of content that we see. The OTT platform has seen a massive boom.

We are not seeing a massive boom on OTT because of the pandemic, apart from a couple of films which were supposed to release in theatres.

But a lot of talent is emerging. Do you think the definition of a star is changing?

On OTT, when a star's film releases, the numbers are completely different than what used to happen in the theatres.

When a good film comes, with no star power, it works. The movie, made with Rs 20 crore (Rs 200 million), can make Rs 60 crore (Rs 600 million).

When a star's film releases, it makes Rs 200 crore-Rs 250 crore (Rs 2 billion to Rs 2.5 billion).

I am not talking only about my films, I am talking about any star's film.

The price for a star is completely different. A film is overpriced when it has a star.

The good thing that happened because of OTT is that people are getting a chance to showcase their talent because you can make things with newcomers and if product is good, it will be liked by the people.

This was happening in films too, but those films were finding it very difficult to make it to the theatres because there, the producers had to sell the films.

That's the only difference.

The Family Man has become huge on OTT.

Yes. But every three or four years, a small film with new actors would release in theatres and get talked about. But that does not happen every Friday.

The Family Man is fabulous. It has gone through the roof!

If the actors of The Family Man give another product like this, their numbers will go up.

That's how they become stars.

When movies released in theatre, box office numbers told you how successful the film was. How do you check now?

You really can't check. But internally, you come to know.

OTT has this policy of not given out numbers.

They say 'We met our target' or 'We got 20 per cent less than the target'. That's the maximum they will tell us.

When we released Big Bull, they had a good target.

When I asked them, 'How many people have seen it?', they said they could not disclose numbers, but that they had met their target.

They buy your films at a good price, so they need to meet their targets. You have to believe them if they say they have achieved it.

How did Ajay Devgn's life change in the lockdown?

I watch a lots of shows, but I watched a lot more in the lockdown.

I have been working in some way or the other.

My life has not changed too much.

We've been scripting and editing in-house.

Our offices are shut, so we are working from home.

Bhuj needed a year of post-production work with the CGI team.

You are doing a Web series Rudra, based on Luther.

Yes, I saw it and liked it.

It's a brilliant show, that's why I decided to do it.

Once in a while if there is a great show, why not do it on OTT?

How different is it working on a film or a Web series?

Nothing much. The shooting process is the same. The time taken is the same.

As an actor, maybe you can take more liberties.

A film completes in two hours. When you are performing a scene, you have to finish the line fast because you cannot waste time. You cannot take your time to grasp things.

But here, you can.

You can have your pauses.

That's a nice difference.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Ajay Devgn/Instagram

What do you think about OTT censorship?

OTT censorship should happen to a point, but there is a lot of confusion.

There should be some censorship, but we should not go backwards.

Do you think people will return to the theatres once they open?

People all over the world have started going back to theatres.

In fact, a Punjabi film of Ammy Virk's has released and it's doing well. That means people are ready to come.

People have gotten use to the OTT in the pandemic, but there are certain films that need a cinema experience.

In Hollywood, when a drama or niche film releases, people watch it on OTT.

When a big comedy or action film needs a large screen experience, people will go to theatres.

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PATCY N / Rediff.com