'Cinematic experience is unparalleled': Actor Bidita Bag doesn’t feel OTT is a threat to the big screen 

Actress Bidita Bag, who is best known for her roles in Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, Abhay and Bhaukaal, was recently seen along with actor Shreyas Talpade in the web series Teen Do Paanch.

The Hotstar series features Shreyas and Bidita as a childless couple from Noida, that wants to adopt one girl, but end up adopting three kids.

In an exclusive interaction with The Free Press Journal, Bidita shared her experience of working for the show and also opened up on the ongoing OTT vs theatre debate.

Talking about Teen Do Paanch, the actress said, "I play the role of Priyanka and Shreyas essays the role of Vishal. We have been married for seven years but haven't been able to conceive. My character is stressed about not having a baby and begins considering adoption. With every episode, the series progresses into an interesting turn of events and after adopting three children, Priyanka finds that she is pregnant."

Bidita further added that she found the script hilarious and it has the right dose of different emotions. 

"Director Amitabh Verma, who is a very popular lyricist, used to sing for us during the shoot and when I have co-actors like Shreyas, Akashdeep Arora, Shantanu Anam, Sheeba Chaddha, Akhilendra Mishra, Brijendra Kala, the set became a laugh riot ground," she said, adding that her experience working for the show has been amazing.

Calling her co-star Shreyas highly cooperative and a grounded man, Bidita said, "He is a sweetheart. A remarkable one of its kind. I needed a blue saree for a particular scene but couldn't source. Shreyas was going to Mumbai for a day. I requested him if he could bring a saree from his wife and to my surprise, he bought a suitcase full of blue sarees to choose from. His wife Deepti Talpade is equally sweet."

In one of the scene's Bidita wore Shreyas' wife Deepti's blue saree
In one of the scene's Bidita wore Shreyas' wife Deepti's blue saree

She also stated that Shreyas has amazing driving skills. Recalling one of the incidents when they had a narrow escape, Bidita said, "For a particular shot, Shreyas had to drive the car at a high speed in a very narrow lane. In the outskirts of Noida, cars used to come from any direction. Once, the camera was mounted on the windscreen and a truck almost head-on banged our car from the wrong side of the road. However, we had a narrow escape."

When asked about her experience of working with three kids in Teen Do Paanch, Bidita said, "The kids were very cute and cooperative but when you are shooting in the middle of summer in a closed flat with heavy lights on, and ACs off, becomes challenging. Even children were going through mood swings. They became cranky at times but still continued to shoot...few chocolates did the trick."

Bidita, who has done a lot of socio-political films and shows, said that she is experimenting with different genres to grow as an actor. "Yes, I have done many serious films in the past and Teen Do Paanch is completely different. But I must experiment with different genres. Doing serious films back to back takes a toll on physical and mental health. On the other hand, comedy films bring relief to actors as well as the audience. Also, the actor gets more fan base," she said.

The actress has also done a considerable amount of work on OTT. Talking about the medium and the never-ending debate on OTT vs theatre, Bidita said, "I believe, unlike cinema, OTT is a fair medium which gives a platform to all its content. People can watch their favourite shows from any part of the world and at their convenience."

Long before OTT space became the go-to medium for entertainment, especially during the last year amid the pandemic, Bidita had started exploring the digital sphere - finding new meaning and high for her career. 

Amid conversations about the web turning out to be a threat to the big screen, with filmmakers opting for the digital route as the uncertainties due to the COVID-19 crisis continue, Bidita says that cinematic experience is unparalleled.

OTT is just an addition to existing mediums, not a threat to the big screen in any way
Bidita Bag

"I don't think OTT space is a threat to big screens. We can't compare television, mobile screens with cinema halls. OTT will never be able to compete with the big screen. Right now, because of the pandemic, it's not safe to go to cinema halls. However, after a major section of the population gets vaccinated and once the situation gets back to normal, people will get back to cinema halls. Every medium of entertainment will survive. OTT is just an addition to existing mediums," she said.

Bidita has been a part of the entertainment industry for over 10 years now. Talking about her journey so far, the actress said, "I started my career as a small time model and then went on to do some of the biggest ad campaigns in this country. I also worked with some of the biggest designers then slowly I started getting offers for Bengali movies and few other regional movies. My foray into Bollywood was not easy. Yes, I have come a long way... but still, a long way to go."

Meanwhile, the actress will resume shoot for Bhaukaal Season 2 after the lockdown. She will also be seen in two more web series - one for Amazon and the other for Netflix. However, an official announcement on both the series has not been made yet.

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