Why the fuss over the release of Amitabh Bachchan’s film Gulabo Sitabo?
Indian cinemas are closed due to lockdown because of corona virus. For the past two months, cinema owners have not been able to earn any money and now they are facing a new challenge.
In fact, Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana‘s new film ‘Gulabo Sitabo‘ was ready for release when the lockdown was announced. The director of the film, Shoojit Sircar, had recently said that he was going to release the film on the OTT platform, Amazon Prime, instead of the cinemas.
Cinema owners are worried that if the movies are released on OTT platforms, the theater may close.
Apart from Gulabo Sitabo, actress Vidya Balan‘s film ‘Shakuntala Devi‘ is also going to be released on Amazon Prime. Cinema owners and film exhibitors are outraged by the filmmakers’ decision.
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Nitin Datar, president of the Exhibitors Association and Cinema Owners, tells that: “We definitely don’t want the films to be released directly on OTT platforms. If they had to take such a step, they should have negotiated with us first. The decision should not have been made without telling.”
“Just as filmmakers have invested in films, exhibitors have also invested heavily in cinemas,” he says. “Better a poor horse than no horse at all. They should have first negotiations and then make a decision.”
“Exhibitors and the film industry should talk to the government,” says Nitin Datar. “In low-budget films, we pay the producer 50% of the revenue. We have supported them so much. Now that the time has come, they should support us now, doing so will greatly harm us.”
“After waiting for two months, couldn’t we wait two more months?” He asked. “Such a decision would leave millions unemployed because the Chinese system operates in the theater. For example, people working in food canteens, parking and cleaning workers, security workers and many others belong to cinemas. If this continues, unemployment will rise.”
Nitin Datar says, “Secondly, like the web series, uncensored films will come on OTT platforms. We can work with the government to find a solution. If it is possible after Diwali, then we may have to wait even after Diwali. These points could have been discussed with the government but it did not happen.”