It has been a tough time for the film industry in particular the last couple of years with theaters being shut across the country. But the bright spark is obviously been the OTT platforms for making it much more accessible for audiences who’ve been in such desperate need of entertainment over the last two years, said Siddharth Roy Kapur, Co-Chairman, CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment , President – Producers Guild of India, and Founder & Managing Director of Roy Kapur Films.
Speaking at the CII Summit FX 2021, he said, “I think a lot of us in the film industry are scratching our heads and wondering what the future will hold. Now that such convenience has been so widely available to people and they’re so used to it at their fingertips, what does the future of theatrical entertainment really look like?”
He said that a big screen theatrical experience are really things that the film industry needs to focus on when it comes to creating content for the big screen. “And of course, intimate dramas and relationship movies and light comedies, etc., are more likely to be consumed on OTT platforms in the future,” he added.
According to Kapur, “And that, therefore brings me to the AVGC part of it. If we have to make these big ticket entertainers, which involve new worlds, fantasy, magic, realism, VFX, all those things that make a big screen experience really compelling, I think it’s important for filmmakers to really be able to embrace this technology and realise what it can do for their storytelling, I have to admit that the level of training in the industry, when it comes to being able to use these tools is still very, very low. And I think if we really have to move forward as a creative industry, we know we’ve got the skill sets, we know we’ve got the people to actually get the work done, but it’s about the creators embracing this as a way to tell their stories.”
Giving an example of what he meant in terms of training and skill development, he said, “I got the creator of Narcos, a show that is a global hit on Netflix down to talk to our writers and directors here in India about how to structure a series, because we’re used to making movies. And then we’re used to making daily soaps. And we haven’t ever been used to making premium quality digital content. That’s a confluence of both these, the quality of a film, but the length of storytelling and the breadth of storytelling that a series involves.”
Kapur said Narcos creator was very appreciative of the talent and he felt that there was a lot of great talent in the room. “But he did say that as with most things in India, we realise we are skipping multiple generations of growth. We are going straight from daily soaps and movies into creating long form digital premium content.”
He went on to add: “I think if there is one thing that I think that we need to focus on, it is skill development in training. When it comes to our creative people, we should be able to give them the opportunity to use the tools available to them today to be able to fly and tell the stories that they have to tell. So if there’s anything that we can do going forward in that regard, I think that’s where our focus and our attention should be. Because there are stories from India that we can take to the world and get the world to resonate with.”
Kapur concluded by saying that we need to have a Parasite, we need to have a Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, we need to have our movies that are able to go out into the world and do the sort of business and create the sort of popular culture and soft power that so many other countries have managed to do. “I’m sure we will do it. But it needs to happen in a more structured way. And not by default, but by design.”