Thiruvananthapuram: The Marathi entertainment industry has often failed to get due recognition, despite producing quality content for years now, thanks to the overshadowing glitz and glamour of Bollywood, according to Planet Marathi’s founder Akshay Bardapurkar.
Planet Marathi was therefore launched in 2017 by Bardapurkar, as a nodal digital platform to not only connect Marathi speaking audiences across the world, but also redefine the reach and popularity of quality Marathi content.
Celebrating its fourth anniversary, and through the course of these years, Bardapurkar and his team have successfully emerged as one of the most noted production houses in the Marathi industry. In 2020, Amitabh Bachchan made his debut in Marathi filmdom with the movie, ‘AB Aani CD’ under the banner of Planet Marathi. The company has also launched an initiative named 'Planet Talent', with the aim of according due recognition to and highlighting supremely talented artistes from Maharashtra.
Talking about Bollywood under shadowing Marathi content, Bardapurkar said, "Marathi filmmakers are among the best, and globally renowned for their work. The Marathi industry was undermined due to several factors. The problem was that Marathi always lacked the branding and packaging, which the other regional players like in Tamil and Telugu, have never refrained from. They have created the stardom which is a requisite (component of industry). They branded their products very well. This is what we intend to do by creating varied content in Marathi. We are sure that we will be able to match up to Bollywood or even any other regional languages in the future."
Bardapurkar, in association with actor Pushkar Shrotri and music composer Aditya Oak, plans to launch an OTT platform exclusively dedicated to Marathi content. The OTT platform was originally scheduled to launch in May, but the second wave of the Corona virus of 2019 resulted in the launch of Planet Marathi OTT being postponed. Despite tight competition from mega players like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+Hotstar, Bardapurkar is quite confident about the Marathi OTT platform being able to affirm its position in the market through the strategic use of unique content for audiences.
"Technology is at the highest level today. Language is not a barrier on OTT platforms. Films released on OTT are considered world movies, just like we watch Latin, Spanish, and Korean films. I believe Marathi films with English subtitles will attract global audiences. We have (a large pool) of talent, and it is necessary to market it wisely. However, we should make sure that the content is crisper," added Bardapurkar.
An official announcement regarding the re-scheduled launch of the OTT platform is expected to be made in the near future.
Bardapurkar revealed that he does not visualize a target audience while creating content, and emphatically states that content offered by Planet Marathi will cater to the needs of people, irrespective of age demographics.
Apart from creating original movies, Planet Marathi also plans to launch many non-fiction shows, and games. According to Bardapurkar, Planet Marathi's OTT platform will not just be an OTT platform uploaded with movies, but instead, it will be a super-platform offering non-fiction shows ranging from music contests to cookery shows.
Bardapurkar revealed that his company has successfully laid the foundation, over the past four years, for the future to witness a creative movement that will open up a world of high-quality Marathi content for global audiences.