The Bollywood trade has been in a pretty devastating state since the lockdown happened this year. All theatres in the country were effectively closed and due to a hopeless situation many small & medium budget films directly released on OTT. Gulabo Sitabo, Dil Bechara, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, Sadak 2 are a few of the list.
Recently the cinemas re-opened in India but Akshay Kumar‘s big film Laxmii released directly on Disney Plus Hotstar. But that’s not the end. In coming days, Ajay Devgn’s Bhuj: The Pride Of India, Abhishek Bachchan’s The Big Bull and Varun Dhawan – Sara Ali Khan’s Coolie No. 1 will also hit different OTT platforms.
On top of that, the rumours starting floating around that Akshay Kumar – Katrina Kaif‘s Sooryavanshi & Ranveer Singh – Deepika Padukone’s ’83 will get postponed again. It was also being said that they may not release in cinemas at all and may directly hit OTT. For Sooryavanshi, there were in fact rumours that the film has been sold to an OTT giant for a huge price of 171 crores. This literally shattered all the hopes of exhibitors who are desperately looking for a big film to come to their rescue asap.
But Reliance Entertainment’s CEO Shibashish Sarkar has again clarified that the said films will release in cinemas only. However, he also confirmed that ’83 will not release on Christmas as planned before. Talking to Film Information, Shibashish said, “We are definitely not releasing 83 on Christmas. Sooryavanshi had already been shifted to next year, and now, we have decided to move 83 also to 2021. If all goes well, both the films will come in the first quarter of the new year.”
Denying the possibility of his films releasing directly on OTT he said, “If the company wanted, it could have sold the premiere rights of both, Sooryavanshi and 83, to OTT platforms. Now that it has waited for so long, it won’t go that route as cinemas have finally reopened. It will make more sense for Reliance to now wait for the audiences to return to cinemas.”
Now that’s a huge relief for exhibitors but their pain is still far from over. Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari which just released in cinemas couldn’t manage to attract enough number of audience. Theatres in Rajasthan are yet to open and even in the states where they have opened the maximum allowed audience is 50%. Even though exhibitors all over India need to get back in the business with full force desperately, it doesn’t look possible that a big film will release unless theatres all over India are open and that too with maximum seating capacity.