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    Sajid Ali on Woh Bhi Din The: How OTT Rescued a Film from Obscurity

    Filmmaker Sajid Ali talks about how OTT rescued both his films- Laila Majnu and Woh Bhi Din The from obscurity.

    Officially his debut film as a director might be Laila Majnu, but the first film Sajid Ali directed was not that. Woh Bhi Din The, his first one has finally seen the light of day, courtesy OTT. It is now streaming on one such platform.

    Sajid Ali's first film Woh Bhi Din The has released on an OTT platform.
    Sajid Ali’s first film Woh Bhi Din The has released on an OTT platform.

    Ali shares, “This is my first film, and will always be the most special thing I have ever done in my life. I had turned 30 with this film 11 years ago. It’s a long story how the producers got convinced to let me direct it. It is based in my home town Jamshedpur, where I grew up, and the school I went to.”

    ‘OTT GAVE SECOND LEASE OF LIFE’

    He fully believes that had the medium of OTT not popped in, his film would still be lying in the cans. “I actually don’t know why the film had not been released then. I have understood there are market dynamics that play their own part. But it It would have never come out. Who will take chance of releasing an old film in theatres? Nobody! OTT has offered a second life to people like us,” shares Ali.

    In fact, Laila Majnu, which had released to a tepid response in theatres in 2018, too had been praised by the people who had seen it. However when it hit an OTT platform is when it really took off. The filmmaker gets excited when you bring this up, “When you make a film with people who are not well known, not everybody would give it a chance. Not just in terms of money, but also to make the effort as a viewer to make the effort of travelling physically to a theatre. You have got to have some excitement to do that and buy pop corn. Very few at that time were inclined towards Laila Majnu, and I understand.”

    From a producer’s POV too, he says, it was a brave decision to go ahead with a theatrical, with a film that starred two newcomers- Avinash Tiwary and Triptii Dimri. “It was my idea to cast new faces, and producers really supported. It has definitely got a new lease of life on OTT. TV is there yes, but it wouldn’t have been like this. Thanks to the internet, we are still talking about it,” he smiles.

    ‘NOT ENOUGH LIGHT HEARTED CONTENT’

    The one grudge that Ali however has with the streaming platforms is that it’s too much of boldness, strong language, dark content, and a lack of enough family entertainment. “I have kids now. When we watch something at home, I have got to be constantly checking whether they are sleeping or not. We tend to always find something we can always watch together, you either end up with animation, which sometimes you are not in the mood for. Sometimes you push them to watch something above and beyond their years, but also something safe. That content is very less. I would like to watch a nice comedy with my daughter, but I am always suspicious.”

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