‘OTT platforms are like a bull in a china shop’

- February 26, 2024
| By : Santosh Mehta |

Actor Anant Mahadevan, who has directed upcoming Marathi film Aata Vel Zaali that deals with euthanasia, says he is not fond of OTT platforms as they lack censorship

TOUGH TIME: Anant Mahadevan says that it was tough to find funding for Marathi film. (Photo: Getty)

Bollywood actor Anant Mahadevan, who has featured in hit TV serials like Dekh Bhai Dekh, The Sword of Tipu Sultan and Zabaan Sambhalke besides films like Dil Vil Pyar Vyar, Victoria no 203: Diamonds are Forever, and The Storyteller among others, is excited about his upcoming Marathi film Aata Vel Zaali (It’s Time to Go) which deals with the topic of active euthanasia.

The film, directed by him, features veterans like Dilip Prabhavalkat and Rohini Hattangadi, who is known for her role as Kasturba Gandhi in the film Gandhi.

The film has already been acclaimed in various film festivals, bagging several awards. 

Noted actor-turned-politician Hema Malini has called it emotional and appealed everyone to watch it.

The film is set to release on February 23 across Asia. 

In an exclusive interview with Patriot, Mahadevan spoke about the upcoming film besides previous projects. 

How tough was it to make Aata Vel Zali

It was extremely challenging to find funding and producers for an independent cinema film. As you’d know, it is a bit tough to get producers for Marathi films. 

You played the role of an abusive father in Yes Papa. How did you accept that role?

It was one role that any actor would think several times before accepting because the film itself is so defiant. The role of the abusive father is daunting as it calls for snake–like calm in demeanour and yet the poison ejected has to be vicious. But I played it with an artistic charm that is far removed from the image of an antagonist in Indian cinema.

I performed my role according to the story and left it to the audience to judge. However, I am glad I am part of a film that is an urgent wake-up call for everyone in the family, particularly the girl child. Saif Hyder Hasan, I must say, was gutsy enough to go ahead with single-minded determination.

Tell us about The Storyteller which you directed…

The Storyteller was my humble tribute to Satyajit Ray on his birth centenary. It is not often that one gets the privilege and challenge to transcribe a Satyajit Ray original story into big screen. With veterans like Paresh Rawal, Adil Husain, Revathy along with young actress Tannishtha Chatterjee performing their roles well, directing it brought sheer creative joy. The Storyteller was also shown at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.  

What are your views on the OTT platforms which show abusive, bold and often unwanted stuff?

Graphic violence in films isn’t a new phenomenon. The Godfather or Quentin Tarantino movies portrayed it with visual cunning and élan. Unfortunately, the spill-over into the Indian formula potboilers are like left-overs for an audience that is not film literate and dwells in a world of fantasy. Mediocrity therefore is lapped up by our so-called “masses”, and I don’t see this virus going away for a long time. I call it the film pandemic.

Do you subscribe to digital platforms?

No, I don’t subscribe to this mutant term called “OTT”. They are devoid of censorship and have replaced the crashing market of stereotyped television. It is like a bull in a china shop running amok and breaking every boundary.

Do you like direction or acting?

It really depends on the offer. A great character tempts me to be an actor and a challenging script pushes the director in me. I need to be versatile if I am to be a complete cinema person.

Would you like to share your memories of Delhi?

Delhi is the place to be in winters. My very first feature, as director for the TV show Sambandh, was shot here. I followed it up with the Sharmila Tagore-starrer Mrigtrishna a year later. So, in a way, I started my career as a film-maker in Delhi. Of course, I had acted in a series called Basera with the late actor Mehmood. It was shot at Rajouri Garden. I continue to visit Delhi for my stage performances. It holds special memories for me as an actor.