As Film and television industry are divided between Theatrical release and OTT release, Yash Raj Films are playing the waiting game and might not release their films straight to digital. With the announcement of two films on the OTT platform – Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurana’s Gulabo Sitabo and Vidya Balan’s Shakuntala Devi, exhibitors and producers are upset that filmmakers are choosing to opt for the digital release as it will affect their revenues.Also Read - Theatre vs OTT: Filmmakers in a Battle With Exhibitors Over The Release Of Their Films on Digital Platform
A source close to YRF production house spoke to Bollywood Hungama and said that the banner has been approached by various digital platforms to buy rights of their upcoming film but they did not feel it is fair and also feels that the upcoming films are made for a big-screen experience. The source was quoted as saying, “Like other banners, YRF too has been approached by various digital platforms to buy the rights of their upcoming films. However, they don’t feel it is fair for their films, made for big-screen experience, to be consumed by viewers on their cell phones or laptops. Also, they care for the exhibition sector which has suffered arguably the maximum due to the lockdown. YRF team, including Aditya Chopra, don’t want to add to their woes.” Also Read - After Gulabo Sitabo, Vidya Balan's Shakuntala Devi Biopic Goes to Amazon Prime Video
Also Read - Shoojit Sircar's Gulabo Sitabo Becomes First Bollywood Film to Release Digitally, Amazon Prime Video to Stream it in Over 200 Countries
YRF has several big films under their banner – Ranveer Singh’s Jayeshbhai Jordaar, Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, Ranbir Kapoor’s Shamshera and Akshay Kumar’s Prithviraj. However, if reports are to be believed due to the lockdown, Arjun Kapoor and Parineeti Chopra’s Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar might go for straight to digital release.
Several cinema chains such as INOX and PVR expressed their displeasure of producers not waiting for theatrical release. CEO of PVR Pictures, Mr Kamal Guanchandani, expressed his disappointment and told PTI, “We are confident, once we get to the other side of this crisis, there will be enough and more pent up demand from cine-goers who have been cooped up at homes for the last many weeks. We are likely to see demand by force on a sustained basis, once we reopen. Needless to say, we are disappointed with some of our producers deciding to go straight to streaming platforms. We were hoping that the Producers would accede to our request to hold back their film’s release till cinemas reopen.”
Siddharth Jain of INOX Group told Times of India, “Today, as a cinema chain, I am forced to ask my producer friends, that when the cinemas ultimately open, what are they expecting me to show the audience there? Will anyone pay to watch an old film? What did hurt us as a part of this fraternity was the fact that the producers did not even speak to us about this before making a decision. The Multiplex Association of India had requested for this, but decisions were made unilaterally. It’s a 100-year-old relationship between production and exhibition. The last time when it experienced a jolt in 2008, it came out of it with flying colours. I am still hopeful for the same this time, too.”