‘Show goes on’: ‘Despite competition from OTT, movies, theatre stands tall’

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‘Show goes on’: ‘Despite competition from OTT, movies, theatre stands tall’

LUCKNOW In today’s times, theatres have to compete with not just movies but OTT platforms as well. Despite this, there is a loyal audience for plays and hence, theatre stands tall, said popular actor Anil Rastogi. He added that theatres in Lucknow are also ready to compete with new streaming platforms.

Theatres in Lucknow are not afraid of innovations, said Rastogi. (Deepak Gupta)

“Today, the theatres in the city are not afraid of innovations. Theatres are also reinventing themselves in terms of scripts, content, dialogue delivery, presentation of facts, backstage techniques, light effects, sets, concepts, and sound effects, among others. This keeps the audience hooked. Viewers live our script and don’t just watch it. In the days to come, theatres would be the first choice for people who wish to feel the drama and not just watch it,” said the actor.

He also urged Lucknow residents to watch plays at Sangeet Natak Akademi Gomti Nagar between May 18 and May 26. These plays will have powerful script and immaculate performances, he added. Directed by Bharatendu, the new play ‘Swaha’ will be full of thriller and suspense. It will be staged at Sangeet Natak Akademi from 6.30 pm.

Noted director Shubhdeep Raha said, “Today, OTT has taken a lead over feature films when it comes to content and script. We have to experiment with content to bring people to theatres. This has been taken care of in my plays.” He added that in his plays, every person associated with light, sound, camera, support staff, and backstage work in coordination. They rehearse continuously for a month. Colour, light, and sound have special importance in plays, especially if it is a thriller. The coordination of all these with the artists enhances the play.”

In a similar vein, actor Shatrughan Sharma said, “During the last 25 years, theatre has changed a lot. Like films and OTT, the theatre has also become very professional. Any weak performance gets noted and the audience reacts immediately. Perfection is the key word and that’s why, practice is important.”

He added, “However, money is a big difference when it comes to theatre. The OTT industry generated revenue of 20 billion in 2020 and 31 billion in 2021. In 2022, this industry earned more than 46 billion in India. In comparison, theatre groups make far less money. Therefore, we don’t have the liberty to spend on lavish sets, dresses, make up, or special effects but with investment coming in, things are improving in the theatre as well. Despite a low budget, theatre is still miles ahead due to good content and script, and powerful acting. It still supplies manpower to the entertainment industry.”

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