Gulabo Sitabo made the first bold stop to see an OTT premiere on this day. It drew a lot of attention from the exhibition and distribution circles, as it does with most people who get in on the ground floor of something new. An OTT premiere became the routine soon after the release of the Amitabh Bachchan-Ayushmann Khurrana starrer. At least in the case of mid-budget films. Shakuntala Devi, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, Dil Becahara, Ludo, Chhalang followed by biggies Laxmmi, Sadak 2 and Coolie No. 1 – It was a long list.
However, a year later, the scene has changed. Although 2020 was already busy, with over 20 films bypassing theatres in favour of streaming, 2021 has been much more cautious in this regard. The only major OTT premiere to date has been The Big Bull, which was also announced in 2020. Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai is out this week, followed by Sardar Ka Grandson.
This has only made matters worse for those who want to watch their Bollywood movies on a regular basis. Yes, there are a slew of new web series on the way, which is good news because it means there will be plenty to watch. Bollywood, on the other hand, has its own allure, and while one would expect theatrical business to resume by now, the second wave has yet to arrive.
There were hopes though that the release of Toofan would perk up things but then the makers have decided to push the film for a later day. From their point of view, it is understandable since they can’t be expected to promote and market the film with the kind of fervor that a biggie like this deserves. That was not the case with Radhe since the digital release (in addition to select theatrical arrival) was announced when the situation wasn’t as bad as currently. However, for newer arrivals, it may well be to wait and watch before an official announcement.
In the middle of it all, the Indian Premier League (IPL) offered some hope of evening entertainment. At the very least, it allowed the mind to be redirected and some toxins to be released from the body. That is, in fact, the need of the hour, since, in addition to physical health, one must also consider emotional and mental health.