While the news of Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana starrer Gulabo Sitabo and Vidya Balan’s Shakuntala Devi releasing on Amazon Prime must have made the fans happy, exhibitors are disappointed with the filmmakers for taking the online route. Multiplex chains INOX and PVR had also expressed their displeasure over this decision. Now, Koimoi reached to Sooryavanshi and ‘83 producer Shibasish Sarkar for his take on the ongoing producer-exhibitor tussle.
Commenting on the same, Reliance Entertainment’s Group CEO says that both the parties are correct from their individual standpoint. “However, now they have to look at each other’s point of view with empathy. From a producer’s perspective, he/she has already invested money in the film, is running cost of interest and has no clarity when the theatres will open, but at the same time they also have a running cost of employee’s salary and office maintenance. And we must remember that every producer has a certain level of oxygen to breathe, right? So if a producer decides to take his film to an OTT platform, he isn’t wrong,” says Shibasish Sarkar.
However, he also understands the plight of the theatre owners. “The exhibitors will be disappointed as they are also bleeding and are in the hope that once the lockdown lifts, they will have some good content to screen in their theatres. In between if some good films go online then it’s definitely disappointing for them, which is completely understandable.”
Offering a solution Shibasish adds, “In my opinion, at this point of time we need to keep our tonality of communication more polite as there is no point in getting aggressive with each other, and work jointly for the overall ecosystem. Let’s put it like that, neither producers can survive without exhibitors and vice versa. So the discussions are going on to make things work in everyone’s favour and amidst that if a few films goes on OTT, so be it.”
Prod him on his decision to not release Sooryavanshi and ’83 online and he says, “We have said this earlier that we are waiting for a theatrical release. We are hoping that things will come back to normalcy by August or September, so we will evaluate the situation then and take the necessary action. We don’t have to take any calls right now. Our directors and partners are on the same page that we want to have a large theatrical release, and I completely respect that. We will try to bend ourselves forward and backwards to see how long we can hold. Of course, we can’t keep the film held up for an indefinite period as that’s not practical. But we are hoping we will get some clarity in a few months,” Shibasish Sarkar signs off.