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‘Content will continue to exist’: Rana Daggubati on cinema halls vs OTT debate

Rana Daggubati said that the year 2020 has been a learning, that irrespective of the medium, films will continue to be made.

By: PTI | Mumbai |
March 4, 2021 9:19:34 pm
rana daggubatiRana Daggubati in a still from Haathi Mere Saathi.

Actor Rana Daggubati says the theatrical experience in the country is not in danger as the spectacle movies will always find an audience on the big screen.

Daggubati’s latest action-drama Haathi Mere Saathi is gearing up for a theatrical release in March, a year after it was originally scheduled to open.

The Prabhu Solomon-directed film was pushed due to the coronavirus-led lockdown, which saw many producers heading to the OTT platform for the release of their movies.

When asked about the future of theatrical experience, Daggubati said going forward, there will be a clear demarcation between stories meant for the big screen and OTT platforms.

The Baahubali star, 36, said that 2020 has been a learning, that irrespective of the medium, films will continue to be made.

Pandemic has taught us that the amount of content we can consume has gone up by ten times. There will be specific cinemas or stories that you’ll watch on OTT and there will be specific experiences you’ll go to the theatre for.

“Content will continue to exist, whether it’s in cinema halls or on OTT. Cinema halls will always be the place for spectacle story experiences. Now, the cinemas in south India have a better collection than they ever had,” the actor said at the trailer launch of Haathi Mere Saathi, where was joined by Solomon and the film’s other cast, actors Pulkit Samrat, Shriya Pilgaonkar and Zoya Hussain.

Haathi Mere Saathi chronicles the journey of a man, played by Daggubati, who fights for the jungle and animals. The film is described as a reflection of the environmental crisis across the world.

Hussain, who made her film debut with Anurag Kashyap’s 2017 sports drama Mukkabaaz, said Haathi Mere Saathi is not only a visual treat but also offers a timely message.

“Last year highlighted the importance of living organically, in sync with nature, giving back to the environment and preserving it.

“The film doesn’t tell, it shows. It’s an audio-visual experience to feel what it is to be one with nature,” Hussain said.

Samrat, whose feature film Taish was released on OTT platform ZEE5 last year, also believes that cinemas will survive the digital boom.

“The cinema experience is not in danger. Both OTT and the big screen have their perks. In our country, going to a cinema hall is more of an outing. We see families going out, students flocking it.

“Going to cinemas is a culture which is why it is difficult for anything to take it over,” he said.

Produced by Eros International, the film will be released in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu.

Pilgaonkar said it was a challenge for her to shoot the film in three languages. The Mirzapur actor was clear that she didn’t want to “speak gibberish” and hence worked closely with writers of all three languages before every shot.

“Prabhu sir likes to improvise and a lot of times, I was getting my dialogues minutes before the scene. Initially, it was challenging, it took a while for the rhythm to set in. Prabhu sir was clear that the focus had to be on the emotions and not be distracted by the language.

“I observed how Rana, in Telegu, would do something and then for Tamil he would do the same thing differently and something new again in Hindi. Prabhu sir and Rana had a clear understanding of how these industries work. I enjoyed observing those nuances,” she added.

Haathi Mere Saathi, which has no connection with Rajesh Khanna”s 1971 Hindi film of the same name, is slated to be released on March 26.

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