The Indian entertainment industry in the mobile application space has witnessed a great change in the past three years. American companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have revolutionised the market space with cutting edge new shows and movies in India and internationally. This has led to several Indian mobile apps offering original web-only entertainment.
As a result, many Bollywood and television actors in India have taken to the web series/web film format as an additional source of exploring their creativity. We take a look at some of the bigger names who have recently made the web streaming platform their own as producer or actor, like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma, Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and some more.
Aamir Khan and Alia Bhatt were supposed to star in Netflix's series on Osho Rajneesh, but the deal has fallen through. There was also news of Aamir Khan doing the Mahabharata for Netflix but those are just rumours, according to the actor.
We have a already seen Vivek Oberoi in Inside Edge along with other actors like Richa Chadda, Siddhant Chaturvedi, Angad Bedi, Tanuj Virwani, etc., Radhika Apte, Akash Thosar, Neha Dhupia, Kiara Advani, Vicky Kaushal, Sanjay Kapoor and Manisha Koirala in Lust Stories on Netflix, Lisa Haydon, Shweta Tripathi, Mallika Dua and Sapna Pabbi in The Trip, Milind Soman, Prateik Babbar, Kirti Kulhari and Bani J in Four More Shots, Please, R Madhavan in Breathe, and the web series superstars like Sumeet Vyas in TVF The Tripling, Permanent Roommates, Official Chukyagiri and Official CEOgiri, and Pankaj Tripathi toplining Mirzapur.
Here are some big Bollywood stars who are all set to take the web streaming platforms by storm, or some who have already done so.
On March 5, 2019, Amazon Prime Video announced that Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar will be making his digital streaming debut with the mobile app. Akshay Kumar is all set to star in an Amazon Prime Video original film, tentatively titled THE END and produced by Abundantia Entertainment.
At the event to announce the association, Akshay Kumar revealed that it was his son Aarav who suggested that he make his digital debut in order to reach out to the youth. "I can't wait to start rolling for this action-adventure series that will be an Amazon Original for global audiences," he said.
Jennifer Salke, Head, Amazon Studios, said in a statement, "The scale at which THE END is being conceived is enormous and speaks our passion for creating breakout programming across genres. The storyline and the actions sequences have been brilliantly crafted to give viewers a thrilling experience."
Shah Rukh Khan
In 2018, it was announced that Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan's production company Red Chillies Entertainment will be producing a series for Netflix. The espionage thriller is based on the book The Bard of Blood, written by Bilal Siddiqi.
It stars Emraan Hashmi, Sobhita Dhulipala, Amyra Dastur, Kirti Kulhari, Vineet Kumar Singh, Jaideep Ahlawat and Ivan Rodriguez, among others. In the future, SRK may himself star in a web movie, which we think may be a good idea in the coming years.
While Arbaaz Khan will be seen as a chat show host on QuPlay's Pinch, his superstar brother Salman Khan is developing a web series for kids, as per 2018 reports. He has roped in actress Manisha Koirala and actor Javed Jaffrey for the same. Salman Khan has chosen Hotstar, a web app platform owned by STAR India, to make his debut in the space.
Having already turned producer with her Bollywood films like NH10, Phillauri and Pari, actress Anushka Sharma is producing a web series for Amazon Prime Video called Assasin. It is based on controversial journalist Tarun Tejpal's book The Story of My Assassins. The story is based on actual events where a senior journalist investigates his own would-be killers.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas has made an entry into the web streaming space with a movie on the hard-hitting of sexual abuse, its after-effects on a relationship, and forgiveness. The actress' production house Purple Pebble Pictures recently made their web debut with Firebrand, a film starring Usha Jadhav and directed by Arunaraje Patil, a director of repute. Both Jadhav and Raje are National Film Award-winners, so is Priyanka Chopra. Firebrand has been received well on Netflix, giving a boost to Priyanka and Arunaraje's foray into the space.
Saif Ali Khan
When his movies weren't doing well, Bollywood's coolest Khan decided to take the risk of starring in a web series. And so happened Sacred Games, the groundbreaking web series by Netflix Originals in India. Saif Ali Khan struck it big with this one as a not-so-good police officer wanting to break through. He will soon be seen in Sacred Games 2.
Amazon Prime Video's original Breathe, toplining R Madhavan who is a heartthrob down south and fairly successful in Bollywood, will return with a sequel. The psychological thriller Breathe 2 will star Abhishek Bachchan, who will make his web streaming app debut with the series. The news is that Malayalam actress Nithya Menen has joined Abhishek Bachchan in Breathe 2.
In Bollywood, Nawazuddin Siddiqui is the man with the Midas touch. Any film headlining him is talked about for his performance, or even his small roles in his earlier films are. The man has his fair share of fans and that only helped Nawaz when he starred as the most important and interesting character in Netflix's Sacred Games. It remains to be seen how his dead character is revisited in Sacred Games 2, as shown in the teaser.
With his unconventional looks and decent acting, Emraan Hashmi has been popular among masses and has seen good success with his films at the box office. In 2018, the actor starred in Tigers, a web film directed by Danis Tanovic that was well received for its social topic. Now, Emraan Hashmi is all set to star in The Bard of Blood for Netflix, produced by Shah Rukh Khan, as mentioned above.
The Final Call is a 2019 Indian web television thriller series based on Priya Kumar's 2015 novel I Will Go with You: The Flight of a Lifetime. Directed by Vijay Lalwani, it centres around the passengers of a flight from Mumbai to Sydney whose lives are endangered after the captain decides to commit suicide on board.
The new web series and films will see these major actors and producers dominating the web streaming platform space in India and also get more global exposure. Exciting times ahead for the viewer.