Who remembers the good old days of booking movie tickets online, reaching early to grab a large tub of popcorn and fountain coke, and rushing to the loo during the interval? It almost feels like it's been decades since we've been to an actual theatre. And since the coronavirus outbreak is yet to peak in India, it will probably be a long time before we can step into those dark, pop corn-smelling halls again.
So what happens to the movies that were slated for release? Well, several production houses are now looking at digital releases of their films, including Alia Bhatt-starrer Sadak 2. The much-awaited film, which also stars Aditya Roy Kapur, Sanjay Dutt and Pooja Bhatt, was originally scheduled to hit the silver screens on July 10.
However, with the rising number of coronavirus cases in India, there is no certainty about the re-opening of cinema halls, which has pushed the makers to consider a digital release. “It (number of COVID-19 cases) is increasing day-by-day instead of subsiding. In this situation do you think the theatres will open? And even if they do and Sadak 2 is released, will people go to watch it? People have to protect their families. Today, life is more important,” Mukesh Bhatt told the Press Trust of India.
Sadak 2 is a much-anticipated film, and is a sequel to the 1991 movie starring Pooja Bhatt and Sanjay Dutt. According to the makers, the movie was an ambitious, big-budget project, but they are opting for a digital release in order to 'survive'. “I am compelled to come (on digital platform) because I don’t see any light in the near future. This is the best I can do to survive. There are certain things that you do, not out of choice but out of compulsion. This is the only option left. It is a no-brainer,” said Mahesh Bhatt.
Sadak 2 isn't the only film taking the OTT route during the pandemic. Shoojit Sircar’s Gulabo Sitabo, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana, was the first big Hindi movie to opt for a digital platform release. Vidya Balan's Shakuntala Devi, Janhvi Kapoor’s Gunjan Saxena - The Kargil Girl, and late actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s last film Dil Bechara are all headed for direct-to-digital release.
However, if you are disappointed that you won't be able to watch your much-awaited flicks on the silver screen then don't worry--Mahesh Bhatt says that this trend is only 'temporary'. “Now that films are releasing on OTT, it doesn’t mean theatres will shut down. People need outing, big-screen entertainment is fun. It is a temporary phase. We need to understand it rationally and not blast or put each other down. We should lift each other up," he said.
"I have got no option, so I will definitely consider OTT. We have not made this film to put it in lock and key. We want to bring it to people so that they enjoy the film," he added.
What's your take--would you prefer to wait till your favourite release hit the big screens, or would you rather watch them in your jammies at home?