The 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) is set to make history with the introduction of a groundbreaking category – the Best Web Series (OTT) award. Heading the jury for this innovative addition is the acclaimed filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani. The five-member jury, a stellar ensemble of industry experts, includes Krishna DK, co-creator of the widely praised “The Family Man,” Prosenjit Chatterjee, celebrated actor, Divya Dutta, versatile and accomplished actress, and Utpal Borpujari, a seasoned filmmaker.
This pioneering move comes in response to the shifting landscape of the entertainment industry, where OTT (Over-The-Top) platforms have become significant contributors to the creative landscape. Recognizing the burgeoning influence of web series, the festival aims to celebrate and acknowledge outstanding contributions in this rapidly evolving space.
A total of 32 entries from diverse linguistic backgrounds, representing 15 different OTT platforms, have been shortlisted for evaluation by the jury. This reflects the diversity and inclusivity of the digital content space, which has become a melting pot of languages, cultures, and storytelling techniques.
In recent years, the inclusion of OTT entries in various sections of IFFI has garnered positive responses. The popularity of web series premieres and interactive sessions with teams from shows like “The Family Man,” “Mirzapur,” and “Fauda” has contributed to the decision to establish a dedicated award category for web content.
The move also marks a paradigm shift in the perception of storytelling, acknowledging that compelling narratives are not confined to traditional cinematic formats. The emergence of outstanding web series has demonstrated that the digital medium is an equally potent platform for artistic expression.
The four series shortlisted for the Best OTT Web Series award – “Panchayat,” “Rocket Boys,” “Nirmal Pande ki Ghar Wapsi,” and “Human” – exemplify the diversity of themes and genres explored in the OTT space. The award seeks to commend and encourage the remarkable work being done in the OTT realm, reinforcing the festival’s commitment to staying at the forefront of evolving trends in cinema.
As IFFI embraces this new wave of storytelling, it reinforces the idea that excellence knows no boundaries, resonating across both traditional cinema and the digital frontier. The festival’s foray into web series recognition reflects a forward-looking approach, acknowledging the transformative power of digital platforms in shaping the future of storytelling.