An OTT release is turning out to be the new normal. First Gulabo Sitabo and Shakuntala Devi made it straight to the OTT, then in the recent times arrived Gunjan Saxena – The Kargil Girl, and soon enough there are biggies like Sadak 2, Laxmmi Bomb and Bhuj – The Pride of India that would be arriving there as well. In between there were also films like Khuda Hafiz and Lootcase that chose this route, not to mention a dozen odd other films that were in any case looking for the best available platform and then OTT came to the rescue.
However, one man who seems to be unperturbed with the current trend and could well be happy to wait and then watch his next set of films arriving only in theaters is John Abraham. He has two films in advanced staged of production, Mumbai Saga and Attack. Former is almost complete with just a week of shooting left in Mumbai whereas latter has some action sequences left to be filmed for which the action director is awaited from South Africa.
Going by the trends, one may assume that John too could be tempted to bring at least one of these films on OTT soon since he already has a packed 2021 ahead. There is Saytameva Jayate 2, for which director Milap Zaveri has already taken the drama to Lucknow and is currently doing a recce there. On the other hand Ek Villain 2 is set to be yet another high decibel romantic drama with Mohit Suri calling the shots. Then of course there is Gurkha for which John is expected to begin shooting with Nikkhil Advani. Not to mention a couple of more films too.
However, contrary to popular opinion, John isn’t in hurry and is happy to space out his films further, as long as there is a theatrical release in the offering.
“Temptations are always there but John has always been cool minded,” informs our source, “He would rather bring a film of his in theaters even if it does lesser than usual business due to Covid, instead of opting for a small screen OTT arrival where people are having a casual watch. There is a different high altogether when someone buys a ticket to watch a film. John is aware of that sentiment. He has seen that very recently with films where masses [Satyameva Jayate] as well as classes [Batla House] have endorsed him. Why would be go any different?”
This is what one expects as well from a hero of the stature of John Abraham, considering there are very few who are saleable in any situation and circumstance. He is one of them.
“Remember how Force 2 was the first release after demonetization, and he still brought in crowds,” recollects a distributor, “Everyone thought that the film would not even open as there were people standing in queues just to withdraw Rs. 500. They thought, why would anyone spend these 500 bucks for a movie? Still, the film took an opening of 6.05 crores. At least the distributors and exhibitors had something to play in theaters.”
It’s the same thought process that the industry is expecting John to carry for his upcoming films as well since they know that at least he will pull in the crowds as much as possible.
Says an exhibitor, “If someone like John is standing up and bringing his films only in theaters, it makes good sense for all. Someone needs to take the plunge, stick his neck out and say that it’s going to be a theatrical arrival only. Audiences have made people stars because they were seen on the big screen, and not because they were on TV. Now to hold your films for theatrical release first is a way of giving it back to them, as well as exhibitors & distributors. There are men whose personalities are suited mainly for the big screen; John is one such hero.”
Moreover, if the credentials of Sanjay Gupta [Mumbai Saga] and debutant Lakshya Raj Anand [Attack] are anything to go by, one expects nothing but hardcore big screen sagas from them.
“Sanjay Gupta thinks big; that’s the way he has always been from the days of Aatish. With John, he has made Shootout at Wadala and Zinda, and now Mumbai Saga is yet another stylized hard hitting dramatic action affair,” says an insider, “On the other hand Lakshya Raj Anand has been an assistant director on films like Ek Tha Tiger, Bang Bang and New York. That by itself says loud and clear what the youngster is capable of.”
With so many factors already screaming ‘big screen’ loud and clear, one just hopes that John Abraham too sticks around and audiences actually get to see him first in theaters, however the wait there may be.”