Unlike the '90s, You Don't Need Superstars to Make Big Budget Films or Shows Anymore: Sanjay Kapoor
Sanjay Kapoor is totally enjoying his second innings in acting with several digital projects currently afloat. After the anthology film Lust Stories (2018) for Netflix, the 54-year-old actor was recently seen in the thriller series Gone Game (Voot Select). He has acted in Guneet Monga's short film Sleeping Partner (2020), while two other projects – one each on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix – are in the making.
The actor is glad that OTT platforms function differently from movies in terms of financing a project, which has led to more actors getting good work.
“It's not like movies where you need to cast a superstar to make a 50-crore film. All the commercials are totally different. For example, before the lockdown I was shooting for a show called The Last Hour for Amazon Prime Video. It is such a big budgeted show, we were shooting with a unit of 200 people. And they are all new, the only known person in that show is me. It’s impossible to spend this kind of money on a movie. You can only do it on an OTT platform, where content is most important,” says Sanjay.
He also cites Gone Game as an example of a series where the producers were willing to try a new format and take risks. The thriller, shot mostly from the actors’ homes during the lockdown, revolves around the Covid-19 pandemic and the panic surrounding it.
“Just the fact that Voot decided to back a show like Gone Game shows that OTT platforms are ready to go that extra mile for good content. They are ready to take that extra risk just to make a good show. I have been in this profession for so long, and we are producers ourselves. When you are spending even a rupee, you want it back, because it's business, you are not doing charity for anybody. So the very fact that they backed this kind of a project, that is commendable,” he explains.
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Sanjay says that we are seeing a similar trend in films as well, which was not the case in the '90s when he started out as an actor. Mentioning his last film Mission Mangal, Sanjay says, “Vidya Balan and Akshay Kumar were the two main characters in the film, but other actors like me, Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee, we all had our moments. Akshay is such a big superstar, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be in every scene from the beginning till the end. He also understands that content is the main thing.”
“So, those '90s days are over, when there used to be one hero, who sang 6 songs, did all action sequences and was in every scene, be it with mother or sister. In three hours you would see so much of those one or two characters. But it’s no longer like that. Not just content on OTT platforms, many movies are also being made like that.”
Sanjay also cites his niece Janhvi Kapoor's film Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl as another such example. He says that despite having a clear protagonist, the film gave enough importance to other characters as well. “Obviously Janhvi was playing the main role, but Pankaj Tripathi had a fantastic role, Angad Bedi had his moments. So, times are changing and in the long run, basically anybody can be an important part in a film, which is better for actors. They are also realizing that the film is the most important thing.”