Advent of new age OTT platform and the paradigm shift in media – a candid conversation with Actor/ Singer Plabita Borthakur

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From the dreamy town of Duliajan to the tinsel town of Bollywood, Plabita Borthakur shares her journey in an interaction with Ankita Kakaty.

Plabita coming from a humble background of musicians and artists had always a creative bent of mind. Her father Mr. Probin Borthakur is an ex serviceman who worked with Oil India Limited in Duliajan and also pursued classical music and her mother Rina Borthakur is a literature academician. Her elder sisters, Parineeta Borthakur (Bepannah television show famed) are a well-known television personality while Priyangi Borthakur is a singer and entrepreneur (O’Tenga). Plabita did her schooling from Delhi Public School, Duliajan after which she enrolled herself in Jai Hind College, Mumbai for higher studies. She was very active in performing arts and gradually she decided to enrol in an acting course to chase her dreams of becoming an actor. Eventually she joined Barry John Acting School where she completed a short term diploma course. Plabita believes that Mumbai the city of dreams is also a city of struggles. But she was always a rebel to take up challenges in life and hence she began her touch journey of headhunting and auditions for films as well as television commercials. Soon opportunities came her way and she was a part of many films and web projects like P.K., Lipstick under My Burkha, Doosra, Breathe into the Shadows, Bombay Begums etc.

In the year 2012, Plabita ventured with her appearances in several television commercials and ad films such as Britannia, Paytm, Flipkart and many more. She did over 20-25 advertisements till date. She also has an inclination towards western music and launched her own music band by the name Manu and Chow.

 

Plabita made her first appearance on big screen in the year 2014 with the film P.K. directed by Rajkumar Hirani. Right after that, she marched ahead in her journey to fame and was shortlisted as one of the leads in the critically acclaimed film “Lipstick Under My Burkha” directed by Alankrita Srivastava where she portrayed the character of Rehana Abidi. Plabita shares that working with such a dynamic women driven ensemble cast comprising of some effortless performers and actors such as Ratna Pathak Shah, Konkona Sen Sharma, Aahana Kumra, Sushant Singh, Vikrant Massey etc. as the central characters which was indeed an overwhelming experience for her. She believes that as the technology gradually shifted its gears to a more wider reach in terms of audience and viewers the web space or OTT platforms in India is gaining a momentum with the proliferation of new media and streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee 5, Voot etc. to name a few. And there begins a plethora of opportunities for the newcomers to try their luck across different genres of art.

In order to try hands on this new medium of public interface, Plabita entered into the digital spaces. Her first digital debut was in a web series Parchayee on Zee5 streaming platform. Recently she was seen in a crime drama thriller web series “Breathe into the shadows” directed by Mayank Sharma staring Abhishek Bacchan, Amit Sadh, Nitya Menon as the central characters. It premiered on the streaming platform Amazon Prime from 10th July, 2020. In the series Plabita portrays the role of Meghna Verma. She opines that her character was a very challenging one of an advertising official with a disability. Rather than being a victim, Meghna’s character is pragmatically cheerful and funloving who lives life with a sense of courage and freedom standing on her own capabilities. Plabita says, “The character of Meghna was very much similar to me. But yes while shooting and prepping for the role during the initial workshop days of shoot the director instructed me not to use my left hand since I was a left to feel the vibe of the character and prepare intensely for my role. But overall the learning experience was a pleasant one” – Plabita adds.

Coming back to working with a meticulous set of actors such as Abhishek Bacchan, Amit Sadh with whom Plabita shared screen spaces, she reveals some of her memories from the sets. She quoted, “It was really great working with both the actors. Abhishek was very disciplined and focused as an actor yet he is funny and shares a good camaraderie on the sets while Amit Sadh improvises a lot and adds his own nuances to his character which in turn makes out the scenes very organic as I too love improvising which adds to make an enriching performance.”. She further adds – “One of my most fun shoot days was the day I was doing a stunt sequence where I would have to fall off a building with the help of harness and I did the shot in just one take and the moment the scene was done I was too excited and wanted to do more of it. Another memorable moment was one scene where Amit Sadh and I were sitting at a chat corner and we both did not act in that scene but went with the flow of enjoying our food which was very candid and organic. Plabita auditioned for the role of Meghna through Mukesh Chabbra casting agency and fit in perfectly to the character which was appreciated by both viewers and critics.

As we see that the survival of the fittest is predominant in showbiz and nepotism in this regard acts as a hurdle to many emerging talents. Plabita in this regards believes that nepotism is pervasive to all professions more or less of similar interests and background. The only thing is to retain and work hard to secure one’s spot for acceptance and appraisal in his or her art/ profession.

Plabita defines that versatility is the key strength of any artist and as it is very evident from her diverse roles which she portrays on screen. One of her upcoming release is Bombay Begums, a Netflix original series directed by Alankrita Srivastava (Lipstick Under My Burkha famed) and Bornila Chatterjee where she shares a screen space with Pooja Bhatt, Shahana Goswami, Amruta Subhash, Aadhya Anand among the central characters. It’s an inspiring story of five women across generations and their struggles, desires, ethics and vulnerabilities to their own ambitions in a contemporary urban India. Plabita’s character in this series as she shares is a very interesting one exploring her arch as a performer.

 

 

 

 

 

Some of her upcoming releases include “Doosra, a feature film directed by Abhinay Deo. It is a story of how cricket changed India through the eyes of a young girl, Tara played by Plabita; yet another of her scheduled release is Saregama India Limited and Yoodlee Films “Chhote Nawab”, a movie directed by Kumud Chaudhary featuring Akshay Oberoi and Plabita as Fauzia as leads.

Plabita is quite optimistic of the fact how web content in India has driven people to select quality over quantity at the ease of fingertips. It is indeed a ray of hope for the struggling artist who juggles to fit into the contemporary world of art and cinema. She believes the having faith in oneself and working hard on one’s ambition by having one’s skill set can work as a positive aspect for an artist to grow and survive. And most importantly celebrating failures with an open heart giving room for new thoughts can make oneself a better person.

On such a positive note and optimistic thoughts we wish her success for her future endeavours.

 

 

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