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Filmmakers stand by digital film release, say ‘big screen will not get replaced by OTT’

Many filmmakers including Hansal Mehta, Sanjay Gupta, Sudhir Mishra among others believe that movies should release on digital platforms as we are in the middle of a crisis. Apart from Gulabo Sitabo, Shakuntala Devi, starring Vidya Balan, is also releasing on Amazon Prime Video.

By: Entertainment Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 16, 2020 8:50:46 am
bollywood movies on streaming platforms Since these are unprecedented times, many filmmakers believe that movies should be given the digital platform as we are in the middle of a crisis.

The recent announcement of Bollywood films like Shakuntala Devi, Gulabo Sitabo among others releasing on OTT platforms, instead of the age-old practice of releasing movies in a cinema hall, has disappointed theater owners. Since these are unprecedented times, many filmmakers believe that movies should be given the digital platform as we are in the middle of a crisis.

Director Hansal Mehta shared on Twitter, “The big screen will not get replaced by OTT. Audiences will have more choice. They will go to the theatres. Many films will find their audience on OTT. But that is the future. Right now it is a battle for survival. If producers survive exhibitors will thrive. Live and let live. The producers and the director want the best for their film. One wants investments to be protected, the other wants her/his film to be experienced by maximum people over the longest duration of time. Why should exhibitors feel threatened? You win some, you lose some…”

Sameer Nair, CEO, Applause Entertainment, shared that with OTT platforms, “there’s space for everyone.”

Pritish Nandy shared on Twitter, “It reduces our dependence on the whims and caprices of so called superstars who claim they bring the audiences in, not the story, not the director, not the producer, not the DOP, not the music, not the dialogue writer.”

Director Sanjay Gupta, whose next film is John Abraham and Emraan Hashmi starrer Mumbai Saga, shared on Twitter, “A film is ready for release funded by the producer himself. He doesn’t have deep pockets like the studios. With absolutely no clarity on theatrical release he is left with no choice but to go straight to digital. It’s an exception & not the new norm.”

Also Read | Theater owners disappointed, call Gulabo Sitabo’s digital release a mistake

Filmmaker Kunal Kohli raised the issue of food and beverage revenue that is earned by multiplex owners. “Let inox release what % of their revenue is ticket sales vs F&B.F&B is based on ticket sales, no one goes to a theatre to eat,Right? Start sharing that revenue with producers as well, before accusing them for trying to survive in a world pandemic never witnessed before by mankind,” he shared in a tweet.

Editor-writer Apurva Asrani spoke about the survival of cinema and shared on Twitter, “Films age quickly. Technology changes, prevalent atmospheres change, subjects once relevant can become stale. Imperative that a films release is timely, else money & efforts of many go down the drain. Exhibitors must support survival of cinema right now. #LaxmmiBomb #GulaboSitabo”

Producers Guild of India issued a statement supporting the OTT releases. “At a time like this, it is important that each stakeholder understands and empathises with the predicament of the other, rather than adopting and adversarial stance which is counter-productive for the entire value chain,” read a part of the statement.

PHOTOS | Bollywood movies confirmed for OTT release: Shakuntala Devi, Gulabo Sitabo and more

On Thursday, multiplex chain INOX expressed their “extreme displeasure and disappointment” over the announcement of Gulabo Sitabo’s direct OTT release. Many other theater owners feel the same disappointment over the new release strategy.

Apart from Gulabo Sitabo, Shakuntala Devi, starring Vidya Balan, is also releasing on Amazon Prime Video.

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