The audience's content preferences have changed in the last three years. This change has been catalysed by the Covid-19 pandemic, which even after three years, refuses to slow down. Today, there is a clear demarcation in the mind of the audience about what they want to watch in theatres, because let's face it, going to the cinema is not a cakewalk because it involves some effort and then there are the hidden costs of fuel, parking, food and beverage, and not to forget the mind-numbing traffic and pollution.
According to Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor, who is gearing up for his web-series debut in the crime-thriller series 'Farzi', all said and done, good content will always work. He furnishes the recent example of the breakout success of last year's 'Kantara'. The Kannada film, which has been written and directed by its lead actor Rishab Shetty, has broken new grounds and territories courtesy its rootedness and honest storytelling, something that will define the success of a film in the post-pandemic world.
Shahid told IANS: "How would you judge a film like 'Kantara', man? It was not a spectacle when it was released. Of course, it is a spectacle to watch but it was the audience that made that film what it has become now." Delving deeper, he said: "It's more about how cinematic experience a film could provide. I agree that there is a clear demarcation between different content pieces but I don't see this as a change in trend. I just feel that multiple things have happened in the last three years and the differentiation is what I want to watch at home and what I am willing to watch in the theatres."
Sharing his observation and insights, he expressed: "One thing that I have observed in the audience is that they are not willing to pay their hard-earned money for mediocre content. Unless your content is good, it has a certain scale, it has a certain entertainment quotient, it won't work. The audience wants to watch good content. They are willing to walk into the theatres but you have to bring your A-game to the table."
One may sit down and analyse the impact of the pandemic on the film industries across the world, but at a human level, the pandemic's initial phase was very challenging for everyone more so for the film fraternity because to put their work together they had to leave behind the social distancing and come together.
Changing the course of conversation, the actor said: "Another thing is that the pandemic was very challenging for the entire fraternity because we work under certain conditions, this is a collaborative medium and there is a certain way of working.
"For instance, for 'Farzi', we hardly met before the shoot, we were constantly on Zoom calls trying to brainstorm from the confines of our homes staying as much safe as we could.
"Filmmaking is a very touch and feel kind of a job, if you have to do a recce, you will have to visit the location and mark the boundaries for the shots, the props or the production design."
Shahid plays an artist turned counterfeiter in 'Farzi'. Shedding light on his character, he said: "I found this character to be a very interesting dichotomy since he is an artiste, he creates something but his creation causes destruction to the economy in the long run. "What I really love about Sunny (the character) is that I don't think he knows what he is or what he is capable of. I never judge the characters that I play, it's okay with me if people judge them or even hate them. My job as an actor is to put conviction and believability in my characters." He further mentioned: "My favourite line of this character from the series is that he says he is helping the system by actually putting in more money. Every criminal has a justification for their actions and so does he."
'Farzi' will be available to stream on Prime Video from February 10.