Art & Entertainment

Mita Vashisht: OTT Platforms Have Definitely Given Me A New Lease Of Life And Income

Teleplays, the recordings of live-stage shows, can help viewers experience the energy of theatre and expand the community of theatre goers, says actor-director Mita Vashisht.

Mita Vashisht

Teleplays, the recordings of live-stage shows, can help viewers experience the energy of theatre and expand the community of theatre goers, says actor-director Mita Vashisht.

Vashisht, equally at home with films, TV and theatre, said actors don’t perform for the camera in a teleplay – just like it is with actors on stage before an audience in a theatre.

"I perform for the audience. So I am unlikely to adjust my performance for the camera. The camera has to decide how it will capture that theatrical mode in the best angle," she told PTI.

Like stage productions, televised plays also have live audiences, said the actor, who appeared in the TV show "Swabhimaan" as well as films such as her debut "Chandni", "Dil Se.." and "Taal".

She will be seen on OTT in the critically-acclaimed Hindi play "Agnipankh", which has recently been made available in Kannada and Telugu on Zee Theatre. It is available as a value added service (VAS) channel across various DTH platforms.

"The play was shot while we were performing live. But unlike theatre, it is being watched in two-dimension, on a flat screen... Many of my friends were so happy to experience theatre's live energy. Teleplays can expand the community of theatre goers,” the 55-year-old actor said.

Set against the oppressive zamindari system, director Ganesh Yadav's "Agnipankh" is a family drama that unfolds on the eve of independence. It centres around a fierce Durgeshwari (Vashisht) who goes to great lengths to preserve her position, both in the family and in society.

According to Vashisht, it is the director's responsibility to capture the vibe of a stage performance with a teleplay.

"The onus is on the directors to try and get as much theatre energy as possible by choosing the right camera angles. They cannot get it all, but if they did a good job, they can give the TV audience a flavour of that energy," said the graduate from Delhi's National School of Drama.

Though she credits streamers with taking theatre to households, Vashisht also criticises them for not pushing "more mind-bending content". Her major grouse is the way OTT platforms are falling into a trap, especially when it comes to Hindi content.

"What we get now is often similar to what enjoyed early success or a rehash of whatever is tried and tested in other countries. So we end up getting violence and sex mostly,” she added.

She also acknowledges that OTT is a boon for actors like her.

"I managed to make my own film, ‘That Thing Called The Actor’, with the money I earned from OTT platforms since 2017. So, OTT platforms have definitely given me a new lease of life and income," Vashisht said.

The actor said performing on the stage has never been exhausting for her.

"Theatre is quite an intensive process. It is always a new experience with every new audience. For example, I have been performing my play ‘Lal Ded’ for 14 years, but I never tire of it. Because I get to grow with each performance, I have to engage with a new audience," she said.

Theatre has the power to bring about a social change too, believes Vashisht.

She recalled how her love for the format deepened when she realised its potential to be used for rehabilitation.

"For five continuous years, I worked with girls who were pushed into prostitution, until I just could not handle it any more. Our governments often make it impossible for you to do these things," the actor said.