OTT is the future; digital platforms allow writers to offer rich roles

Badava Gopi, who wears many hats, is excited about his latest release – Meme Boys – the web series which was released on SonyLIV a week ago. The actor-comedian, who is known for his off-the-cuff humor and witty one-liners, expresses his excitement about being part of a dynamic team and says it was really fun to work with a young team .

In an exclusive chat with OTTplay, Gopi talks about his character in the project, his association with a young team, the impact of long-form content and the supremacy of digital platforms. Extracts…

The story of Meme Boys and its sequences are primarily aimed at young audiences. What was the factor that made you sign the series?

First of all, it’s a fun project that provides plenty of entertainment. I felt that the character offered to me is an extension of the role I played in Dhanush -starrer 3. I am trying out the role of a college professor in Meme Boys who shares a cordial relationship with the students. He is not a tech-savvy person and does not hesitate to seek technical help from students. I loved the way the character was designed.

When director Arun Koushik, showrunner Gokul and writer Rajeev approached me, I asked them about the payment. They said it wasn’t a big budget project and seemed a little hesitant to talk about my compensation. I told them, ‘I’m asking how much I should pay you to offer the role. We were all delighted with the different stages of its production.

What were your preparations and contributions for the character?

The team was well prepared with even the smallest details of all the characters sketched correctly. They ensured that no actor found their respective roles confusing. Since the project went on the floors, I was waiting to act with Guru Somasundaram. We have several sequences together.

He plays the dean of the college and I play an assistant for him. He resorts to various methods when it comes to playing his roles to perfection. It’s a pleasure to see him play. I learned a lot after working with him for 20 days, and I realize that my process of action has changed after interacting with him.

What was it like working with a new team made up mostly of young team members?

A lot of people I personally know who belong to my age often talk about blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. So I make sure to spend most of my time with people who are much younger than me. It drives me forward and I always find that I am inspired by their enthusiasm and energy. Some of them invite me to be part of their short films and projects. Meme Boys also has a new group of young actors and technicians and I had a lot of fun working with them.

What do you think is the USP of Meme Boys?

It’s a story set in a campus setting. There are plenty of fun moments one expects from a vibrant campus drama. The new all-star cast and its theme are the highlights of the series. As the title suggests, these are memes created by a few students who get them into trouble.

People curious about memes and the world associated with them will love the project even more. You need to have knowledge of various topics like politics and movies to take advantage of the popular memes that are doing the rounds on social media. Meme Boys offers a glimpse into the world of memes full of humor and engaging conflict.

How to differentiate the response received from OTT projects and theatrical releases?

I don’t think it’s necessary to compare them. Today, OTT platforms have become so huge that writers and actors have the opportunity to show off their skills. Unlike movies where you have to worry about length and engage the audience in every scene, OTT content provides space to develop each character beautifully. Plus, the days when OTT movies and series revolved around violence, sex, and drugs are over.

Lots of family dramas and funny content are now coming to the digital avenues, increasing its subscriber count and viewership. The length of some web series is almost equal to the length of two movies. This allows writers to come up with well fleshed out roles. They don’t need to limit their creativity or a character’s screen space in OTT due to duration issues. OTT is the future in every way.