This year, OTT platforms emerged as ready spaces for several regional actors to court the pan-India limelight. The likes of Pratik Gandhi, Jisshu Sengupta, Samantha Akkineni, and Swastika Mukherji have been consistently doing good work in their respective regional turfs, and occasionally courting the Bollywood dazzle. While cinema halls remained closed for most parts, these actors represented an emerging lot that has looked at wider reach beyond their regional realms, all thanks to the digital platforms.
Born and brought up in Surat, Pratik predominantly works in Gujarati theatre and cinema. He has been seen in Hindi films such as “Mitron” and “Loveyatri”. However, it was in 2020 that he rose to prominence with his performance in filmmaker Hansal Mehta’s drama web-series “Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story”. Pratik’s portrayal of Harshad Mehta was bang on, and it made him a household name overnight. The show is the top Indian web-series of 2020 according to IMDb.
Jisshu is an established name in Bangla cinema but he has occasionally done Hindi films, too. He was seen in “Barfi!”, “Mardaani”, “Piku”, and “Manikarnika”. However, Jisshu has come of age in the attention span of Bollywood buffs only this year, with his well-crafted performances in “Shakuntala Devi” and “Durgamati”.
Samantha Akkineni is a star of South Indian films and is married to Telugu superstar Naga Chaitanya. She is all set to make her debut in the Hindi digital space in the second season of the much-awaited series, ‘” The Family Man” starring Manoj Bajpayee. She had earlier appeared in the digitally-released Tamil anthology “Super Deluxe”, and will hope to reach out to pan-Indian audiences with her new role.
Swastika has been an established star in Bengal for a while but her tryst with Bollywood wasn’t having much of an impact. She did a role in the Sushant Singh Rajput starrer “Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!” as well as films like “The Stoneman Murders” and “Mumbai Cutting”, but was far from a recognized face among Bollywood fans. Earlier this year, she also appeared in Sushant’s last film, “Dil Bechara”, which released on OTT. The digital space seems to have welcomed Swastika. She will next be seen in the upcoming web show “Black Widows”, after a small but strong performance in “Paatal Lok” earlier this year.