Rivaling Netflix, Prime, Ram Gopal launches his own OTT platform
At a time when cinemas are shut, people are turning to OTTs for entertainment. Sensing an opportunity, filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma went ahead and launched his own OTT platform, Spark OTT, on May 15. The subscription for Spark has been set at Rs. 399 for an year. The first film to be released on the platform was his own gangster-thriller, D Company.
D Company, as the name suggests, traces the story of Dawood Ibrahim. It shows how a Mumbai-based street gang, headed by him, transforms into a dangerous criminal organization, which eventually spreads it wings to international locations too. It stars Ashwat Kanth, Pranay Dixit, Naina Ganguly, and Irra Mor in pivotal roles. Based on over 100 reviews, it struck a 6.1 rating on IMDb.
Talking about the film, which earlier was scheduled for a theatrical release in March but got canceled due to the pandemic, Varma said he's intrigued by underworld. "This is my dream project and my research on the subject matter of D Company came from my extensive interactions over the last 20 years with gangsters to encounter cops to middlemen of the underworld," he added.
D Company, written and directed by him, has been produced by Spark OTT CEO Sagar Manchanuru, under the banner of Spark Productions. While D Company was given warm reception by viewers, Varma's film on lesbianism, Dangerous, sparked severe outrage on Twitter. Touted as India's first "lesbian-thriller" by him, netizens objected on his insinuation that homosexuality can only arise after a bad heterosexual experience.
Films aside, the Rangeela helmer also discussed why he started an OTT platform. Stressing that it's the need of the hour, Varma said he believes in the future "80-90% of films will come directly to OTT platforms." Explaining why, he said, "One is you going to theaters vs theaters coming to you, and second is the convenience you've to watch it anytime you want."
"We normally take away three hours to see a film. If in the first 10 minutes you are bored and you are already booked, you keep cursing the film. On OTT you can just skip it or watch some other film," he pointed out.