New Delhi: One month back, after almost a decade the cast of Girls on Top finally reunited. It only took me back to the age when there suddenly came an alternative to YouTube content and the consumption by the youth was at an all-time high. The Timeliners, FilterCopy, and many alike were bringing fresh content with fresh faces and stories that one would love to watch while nibbling, metro rides, and right after a college lecture. This was a new era for the revolution that was waiting to come.
This web industry was on the battlefield with the daily soap industry, eyeing the control of the theatres which soon resulted in OTT platforms taking a high, recognised as a mainstream channel for content consumption. This new industry had a connection with its audience from 14 (sometimes less) to 50 years of age, a purpose, variety, creativity, freshness, and no cost to it. It invented its new jobs and new stars, from casting directors to writers and faces that stay the OGs with a recall and popularity that the actors of today’s OTT are still striving for.
Sumeet Vyas was often hailed as the poster boy of Indian web series. Jitendra Kumar, affectionately known as Jitu, gained a massive fan following for his role in ‘Panchayat’ and is called SRK of the web. When it comes to women, the only one standing tall was Barkha Singh, who made her mark with ‘Engineering Girls’ and is often referred to as the biggest female ‘born on web’ star. Everyone wanted to work with them. Everyone wanted to see them on the screen.
Talking about the women of the web, this space did not want their characters to oozle in an item song or stand a hot-minute away from their hero. Barkha just doing a hair flip was neither a two-episode run on the screen. Barkha was authentic, carefree, relatable, true to her craft and one always wanted to come back to her smile as the liberty to skip was available but the heart wouldn’t allow it. She was the hero of every story. When this was established, it definitely was the start to the breakthrough. Every sketch was different and with each, the love for their ‘hero’ Barkha would increase.
It is a revelation to know that Barkha’s Please find attached first season was a 3-episode experiment. The audience’s response was so massive, more cult-like that the second and third season happened owing to the love the actors were receiving. It’s fair to say that these wins of the web world gave the platform a much-needed boost and propelled them into the big world. With the nature of the characters that stars like Barkha brought, she continues to hold that grip over a massive fanbase, vibrancy and excitement still. Even when we saw her in Maja Ma, Girls On Top, Masaba Masaba and many more.
It’s a distinctive status that these OGs enjoy and are referred to as the biggest ‘born on web’ stars that the nation has ever seen.They were the national crushes, a global representative to India’s growing entertainment economy and the revolutionaries for what we know of OTT today and Barkha Singh was the breakthrough star needed for the digital evolution of web content to the OTT universe we see as mainstream today.