Cinema, by its inherent nature, has been about being immersed in a whole new world which can either be far from the world you inhabit or close to reality. Until a year-and-a-half ago, the best way to experience cinema in its true glory used to be a big screen in an auditorium, preferably a packed audience to cheer the protagonist at the end, hum while songs are being played out, and whistle during fight sequences.
And then came along Covid-19, forcing us to stay home, under a sort of house arrest, binging movies and web series and bidding farewell to the big screen, at least till the spoilsport virus is lurking around. The mushrooming of OTT platforms brought down giants of stars and suddenly scripts became the stars.
We began to read the synopsis of a film or web series before streaming them online and didn’t care if they featured a big star or a newbie. The rise of Gujarati film actor, Pratik Gandhi is a testimonial to this phenomenon already brewing inside every living room with a smart television.
In such a scenario, film shoots came to a sudden halt and release dates are still a distant dream for the dream weavers of our Tinseltown. There are multiple films that have been shot and edited with all those bells and whistles of post-production but are waiting to be released at the multiplexes. “Release them on OTT, what’s the big deal?” one would wonder. Well, some films are meant for a big-screen experience. A family entertainer like Vickida No Varghodo from SP Cinecorp surely deserves theatrical release rather than OTT where one can get distracted by anything and everything, right from the mobile phone, knock on the door, kid crying, guests showing up at home.
The debate isn’t about OTT v/s Big Screen. Simply because both are completely different ways of consuming content. Any filmmaker worth his camera will swear to the fact that once things are back to normal, the audience will throng at the multiplexes. The only concern bothering us as a film production house is – How long is this wait going to be and at what cost?
A film isn’t just about one person but the entire cast and crew whose incomes depend upon a film’s release. Delaying a film’s release is denying income to hundreds, including that guy who opens the auditorium door for you, serves you popcorn and colas, cleans up the auditorium after you leave, and that security guy who helps you park the vehicle along with ensuring safety in the premise.
There’s not an iota of doubt that people will return to theatres. After all, we as audiences, have been wired to relish cinema in a dark auditorium that brightens up our moments. Watching a film isn’t just about watching a film in our country, but a family event, where kids get to indulge in their favourite snacks, parents get the much-needed break from routine to lose themselves in a world beyond their real life. Sadly, films are ready but theatres are not. What’s your take? Write to us and we’ll be happy to share your point of view on our social media platforms.