The ongoing Covid-19 crisis has again led to theatres in Maharashtra being shut and even in Delhi,they are allowed to run with 30% capacity. Filmmakers have also begun to delay their releases hence, and the Akshay Kumar-starrer Sooryavanshi is the biggest example. It was first delayed in March 2020, and history has repeated itself, much to actor Gulshan Grover’s disappointment.
The actor plays an integral role in the film, which has been pushed indefinitely.
“The very first thought in my mind post the decision, was the safety of the viewers. We are also one of them, and would have to go to theatres to promote the film. It was a very good decision therefore. But for the film to get postponed exactly a year after last March, is very heartbreaking,” he says, adding, “Looking at this situation, it seems theatres will not open soon. Even if they do, the public will not come back so soon.”
The 65-year-old adds that theatre owners themselves won’t be so keen in this uncertainty.
“They will have to refurbish, reinvest with this uncertainty that they may be shut down again in two weeks. It is a large investment. One more dimension in my opinion is the uncertainty of how many days will theatres remain open for, and how willing theatre owners and exhibitors would be to start investing money, time and effort in something, This is a very difficult time for the entertainment industry,” says Grover, whose film Mumbai Saga managed a theatrical release in March.
The West has increasingly been experimenting with different ways to release films amid the pandemic. And the latest example has been adopted by Godzilla vs Kong. The film released both in theatres and the distributors’ streaming platform.
Grover tells us how his son, Sanjay was connected to this. “He had been chosen by Mary Parent, former Chairperson of Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s Worldwide Motion Picture Group and groomed by her. They had exchanged mails a few days before the release Godzilla vs Kong. She thanked Sanjay for his wishes and said, ‘This has really intrigued me, hybrid release of my film, a combination of theatres and OTTs at the same time. It has got great results.’ This hybrid release is going to stay in the entertainment business. It will also add another dimension to OTT. It may not necessarily remain a third party, but some larger investors may want to invest as well. It could be partial control or a profit or loss situation,” concludes the actor.