Lockdown impact: Big films likely to skip theatres and go digital

Amitabh Bachchan Gulabo Sitabo Film Release | Bollywood Movies on Digital Platforms | coronavirus

Big releases including Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘Gulabo Sitabo’ may skip theatres and premiere directly on the digital platforms, being seen as a potential saviour for the Indian film industry in a year marred by the coronavirus pandemic. The cinema halls across the nation have been closed in an order to contain the spread of coronavirus. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement on Lockdown 4 starting from May 18, it seems no opening of cinema halls for another period of time.

Meanwhile, many filmmakers and production houses are giving a thought to the option of heading to streaming platforms, sources said. As per the report, Shoojit Sircar’s Amitabh Bachchan-Ayushman Khurrana starrer ‘Gulabo Sitabo’, Anu Menon’s eponymous biopic on math genius Shakuntala Devi, with Vidya Balan in the lead role, as well as ‘Chehre’, another Amitabh Bachchan starrer, are among those films to be released soon on a streaming platform.

Likewise, a report suggested that the deal of releasing ‘Gulabo Sitabo’ and ‘Shakuntala Devi’ on Amazon Prime Video has been locked. However, the official announcement for both films is yet to be made. A source close to the streamer told PTI that the announcement is likely to be made this week. Ronnie Lahiri, a producer on ‘Gulabo Sitabo’, hasn’t confirmed nor denied the reports when PTI reached out to him but asked the journalists to wait for an official statement.

‘Chehre’ producer Anand Pandit said that a digital release was under the consideration. India has been under the lockdown since March 25 to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. The one official announcement was the release of Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s film ‘Ghoomketu’ last week which will start streaming on ZEE5 on May 22.

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Reportedly, ‘Laxmmi Bomb’, featuring Akshay Kuma, backed by Fox Star Studios, has been picked up by the recently launched service Disney+Hotstar. However, the Hotstar representatives has given a “no comment” as did the producer Tusshar Kapoor. The other releases include Varun Dhawan starrer ‘Coolie No 1’, ‘Jhund’ with Bachchan and Jahnvi Kapoor’s ‘Gunjan Saxena’ are also likely to surface on different OTT platforms.

-PTC News