MUMBAI: Streamers have been a new source of employment for the entertainment industry, says actor Radhika Apte, who believes the digital space is a medium that can thrive under the freedom of expression.
Apte, whose series "Sacred Games", "Ghoul" and films "Lust Stories" and "Raat Akeli Hai" have released on the streaming service Netflix, said it is "terrifying" that the over-the-top (OTT) platforms are facing government scrutiny.
"I hope we understand that there has to be freedom of expression and people need to be far more tolerant about the fact that there will be disagreement in life, that is the way of life. I find it terrifying and sad that this is where we are headed," Apte told PTI in an interview when asked to comment on the intervention of the authorities in the OTT space.
Following the controversy over Amazon Prime Video's web series "Tandav", the streaming platforms have come under the scanner.
Last month, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting announced that a "code of ethics" and three-tier grievance redressal mechanism would be applicable for OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar, news publishers and digital media.
Apte said that apart from providing diverse content to the audience, the OTT platforms serve as a bridge between artistes and makers, both domestic and international. "The platform has given a lot of opportunities and employment. The platform is too new. What OTT has offered is the viewership and it is brilliant. We will have to wait and see how things pan out in the next four to five years, whether it makes actors internationally viable, we mix up actors or projects, or more collaborations. Things don't happen overnight," the 35-year-old actor, who divides her time between Mumbai and London, added.
Apte is excited about her next digital platform release with producer Anand Gandhi's upcoming sci-fi comedy series "OK Computer", which is currently streaming on Disney+ Hotstar VIP. Created and directed by Pooja Shetty and Neil Pagedar, the show imagines a near future where, for the first time, the Homo-Sapiens meet the Robo-Sapiens.
As sci-fi continues to be a lesser tapped genre, the actor said, working on the series was a "refreshing" experience. "What I liked is that it was a mockumentary and that was the most exciting part about it. There is a risk involved because it is a new experiment. I surrendered to the vision of the directors," she added.
In the past, India has seen a few titles in the sci-fi genre like Satyajit Ray's 1969 film "Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne" and Shekhar Kapur's "Mr India", the 1988 film starring Anil Kapoor, Sridevi and Amrish Puri.
Arati Kadav's "Cargo", which released last year on Netflix, is the most recent offering in this space. "Storytelling in all these films have been unique. 'Cargo' and 'OK Computer' are the most technologically advanced projects (in the genre). Just because the genre is similar, it doesn't mean they can be compared," Apte said, adding some of her favourite sci-fi films are "2001: A Space Odyssey", "The Fly", 1982's "Blade Runner".
"People are ready to see good work. We underestimate our audiences constantly. If the content is engaging they will watch it. If it's not, they won't watch it (irrespective of the genre)," she noted.
Apte said that the caricaturist absurd comedy in "OK Computer" is the brainchild of directors Shetty and Pagedar. Playing the role of Laxmi Suri, an artificial intelligence (AI) scientist in the series, was a "risk".
"It is not in my comfort zone at all so it was exciting to take that risk and see how it works. I feel that this comedy is very original. It is something new for audience and actors as well. If it is successful, the credit entirely goes to them but if it fails then we did not do our job very well," she added.
"OK Computer" also stars Vijay Varma, Jackie Shroff, Kani Kusruti, and Rasika Dugal.