For the first time in the history of Malayalam cinema, a film will make its international premiere online on the day of its release in theatres.
‘Leela’, an upcoming movie by ace director Ranjith, is scheduled to make its opening in the digital world on April 22 for audience outside India, the same day it hits theatres in the country. The movie will be available on http://www.reelax.in at a cost of Rs 500 after its release. However, people can pre-book the film as well at Rs 450.
The film, that stars Biju Menon, Parvathy Nambiar, Vijaya Raghavan in pivotal roles, is said to be facing problems regarding its release with the producers’ association in Kerala. Officials at reelax.in are hoping that the film can be launched on their platform in India as well on the same day.
“We have already opened for pre-booking from non-Indian audience and the response is great. Over 300 people have registered for pre-booking,” said Venkitesh Janardhana Sharma, HR manager at the Eram Group.
The Ranjith film is an adaptation of a short story of the same name by R Unni.
The film is not available for downloads and can only be viewed online for a period of 24 hours once a person starts viewing the film. The purchased movie should be watched within seven days, after which it expires and will not be available for viewing.
Moreoever, the website states that the contents provided are strictly for ‘personal/home viewing and not for commercial exploitation in any manner.’
The experimentation of the film on digital platforms could be seen as a move by producers to tap into audience outside Kerala. A large Malayali population exists in countries like UAE, US and UK where producers may not be able to afford screens for release.
This also comes in the backdrop of top video streaming services like Netflix coming to India and offering a wide range of content on its platform at a nominal cost. The coming of Netflix was seen as a big boost for independent cinema that struggles to book theatres in the face of mighty production houses. It is also beneficial for users in India to access content, that’s otherwise not available in the country legally.