One year of lockdown: How entertainment industry and its audience changed in 1 year of pandemic
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It has been a year that most of us have stayed at home, with masks becoming a part of life and work from home becoming the new normal. In times like this, films, TV and OTT became our means to escape, allowing us to forget that we are in the middle of a pandemic for a few moments. The entertainment industry, however, was badly impacted too – theatres closed down, shootings were halted, TV shows were cancelled and daily wage workers wondered where their next meals were coming from. This week marks the anniversary of the lockdown and we revisit how this one year has changed the people who create entertaining content and we, who consume it.
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Angrezi Medium, released on March 13, was perhaps one of the last big films that released in cinemas. The film was to become the last release of Irrfan Khan who died in April 2020, making this release even more poignant for his legion of fans.
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Among the big films that were postponed as lockdown was clamped was Rohit Shetty’s Soorayavanshi. Expected to hit the screens on March 24 last year, the film is yet to come out. As the world scampered to deal with the virus, the life as we knew it changed all at once.
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Ranveer Singh starrer 83 was all ready to be released on April 10, but it also got delayed. Marvel tent poles, secret service agents who had been entertaining us for decades and other big-ticket Hollywood extravaganzas followed suit.
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Perhaps realising that India needed a comfort watch, the tried and the tested from the past were brought out for a re-run. Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan made records as it was aired again from March 28, 2020, on DD National. (Photo: Express Archive)
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BR Chopra's Mahabharat also made a comeback on the television. Interestingly, this was the first show that ran on three different channels which were DD Bharati, Colors TV and Star Bharat. A nation locked inside its houses dutifully tuned in. (Photo: Express Archive)
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OTT certainly gained prominence in the last one year. Streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video gained viewership. As per a KPMG report, there has been a “secular rise in OTT consumption in duration, and across demographics and devices” with a “OTT players with a large, legacy library” clearly having an advantage. In 2019, the industry had revenues of Rs 173 billion in India as per the report.
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The year 2020 also brought big movies directly to our home screens. The makers decided to take a shift to OTT and the first major Bollywood film, Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana’s Gulabo Sitabo, premiered on Amazon Prime Video.
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The cinema halls lurched back as they were opened around October but with stringent precautions in place. (Express Photo by Abhinav Saha)
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One of the longest-running and popular series on Indian television, Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah was among the first TV shows to return after a four-month gap. With the shooting of television serials gradually resuming with a set of safety guidelines, the cast and crew were seen learning to negotiate a new normal. Social distancing, to the use of their own makeup kits, use of face shields and masks became a part of the shoot. (Express photo: Nirmal Harindran)
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The cast and crew of the sets underwent temperature checks. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)
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Bottles of sanitisers are kept across the sets. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)
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Bell Bottom, the Akshay Kumar starrer became the first film in the world to start and finish shooting during the pandemic. The cast and crew of the film flew off to UK to shoot in August and finished it on September 30. (Photo: Akshay Kumar/Instagram)
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Released in the Diwali weekend, Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari, starring Manoj Bajpayee, Diljit Dosanjh and Fatima Sana Shaikh, was the first Bollywood release following the opening of cinemas after the Covid-19 lockdown. Although the film received a lot of support from the film fraternity, it failed to get the audience to the theatres.
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A few celebs got back to the cinemas. Hrithik Roshan shared this photo and wrote, "Home is where the heart is, My wonderland . #CinemasAreBack & so am I! Now watching #WonderWoman84 in my other super hero mask. Good job @INOXmovies n Rajendar for empowering us with a safe movie watching experience. This was sooo much fun ! Nothing and I mean NOTHING comes close to the real experience of watching a movie on the big screen ! The sound , the projection , the safety precautions taken by the cinema was all OUTSTANDING ! 🙌 well done to the INOX team !" (Photo: Hrithik Roshan/Instagram)
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With the cases increasing again, a few films have started to shift their release dates again. Rani Mukerji, Saif Ali Khan’s Bunty Aur Babli 2 release postponed due to rising COVID-19 cases. Bunty Aur Babli 2 is not the only film to delay its release in the wake of rising Covid cases in the country, Rana Daggubati's multilingual Haathi Mere Saathi and Punjabi movie Pauuda, featuring Ammy Virk and Sonam Bajwa in the lead roles, have also been pushed till further notice.
We wish that our entertainment industry get back to normal soon.
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