OTTs have been a blessing for independent filmmakers: Pepper Chicken director Ratan Sil Sharma

Interviews

Pepper Chicken, released on ShemarooMe Box Office, is a nail-biting psychological thriller featuring Dipannita Sharma in the lead. Set in North East India, the thriller movie has an engrossing plot. Here, Pepper Chicken’s director Ratan Sil Sharma tells OTT Watcher about the movie, the shooting experience, and his take on the OTT ecosystem. Excerpts:

Tell us about Pepper Chicken. What’s special about the movie?

Pepper Chicken, actually, is a kind of a dream project for us. It’s an effort to make a suspense-thriller that narrates the tale of a car ride gone awry, as a cab driver and his female passenger engage in a deadly game of cat and mouse. The specialty about the movie is its story and the ending, or you can say, the climax! We kept the ending in a very open way for the audience. Probably, you have to watch the movie twice to notice every single detail to connect the dots.

How has it been working with the cast and crew during the production of the movie?

Oh! They were excellent in their jobs. We planned to make this movie in Hindi, but we could not get a huge budget for that. Our target was the national platform; but it was almost impossible for us to create a huge production value for the film. And then, we got our own people in our own place, who came forward to make the dream possible. During the process, it was a collective effort from each and every member of the team.  Actually, the entire team became my comfort zone and that was the best part. The lead cast, Dipannita and Boloram, did a brilliant job in the film. They were so supportive from the very beginning. It was them who made it easy for me to give a life to my imaginations.

What are your ongoing/upcoming projects?

A few projects are on board. We are planning a lot actually. In Assam, the Assamese film industry is emerging gradually. Being a part of that industry, we are planning to do a few new projects. But I can’t disclose anything about the projects right now, but will announce very soon.

What is the importance of OTT platforms in democratizing the film industry as they give opportunities/avenues to budding artists, which was unthinkable till recently?

Obviously, OTTs have been a blessing for independent filmmakers like us. To release a film for the masses nationwide, we need a huge budget which we can’t afford. Moreover, for many reasons, we can’t assure a good return from big releases. OTTs have given us the opportunity to present good content at a minimum budget, which is really good for us. And then, the young budding talents from all the regions are getting chances to showcase their talents in a big platform. The real game in filmmaking is with the money and OTT platforms are giving us the opportunity to stay in the game.

The Covid-19 has been a blessing in disguise for OTT platforms. With theatres shut, OTT release is the only way out. But, will the audience abandon OTT platforms and throng the theatres once life returns to normalcy after the pandemic?

Theatre is an integral part of cinema. Actually, movies are being made for the theatres. You cannot abandon theatres over OTTs. But, nowadays, OTT is playing a very crucial role. OTTs brought all kind of films in your hands. It’s just about a click and you can watch whatever you want. And during this pandemic, OTT became the only solace for many filmmakers, and the audience got used to it. But I really think that once the pandemic is over, people will again come to the theatre to watch movies. Because, you know, no one can abandon theatres!