The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the film industry. Ever since the last year, a lot of films shoots have been canned and theatrical releases have been pushed. This led a lot of big production houses opting to release their films online on OTT platforms. Abhishek Bachchan-starrer ‘Big Bull’ was one such film.
Big Bull was one of the many big-budget films that released on Disney+ Hotstar, and it managed to garner some mixed responses from the audiences. But for producer Anand Pandit, it’s been a great experience with his first ever direct-to-OTT release. I got a chance to chat with Mr Pandit about this and more.
Given the theatres started out again in the beginning of the year, not many big films were lined up for release at the time Big Bull was dropping, hence in industry terms, making it a solo release at the time, giving them the added advantage. The film went on to have the highest ever opening on an OTT platform.
You think you won’t feel the vibrations and energy of the box office with OTT, but the amount of messages you receive from everywhere gives you an unparalleled encouragement.
Mr Pandit also had the theatrical release of the Amitabh Bachchan & Emraan Hashmi starrer ‘Chehre’ ahead of him, on April 9th, but the second wave of COVID-19 in the country has halted that.
We made Chehre in a larger-than-life fashion, with a large budget. It’s also a genre that is suited for viewing in the theatre, and that is where we wanted people to experience Chehre. So, our decision was that upto whatever extent we can hold the release of the film, we should. The movie is ready since last year and fortunately, we don’t have any financial burden also which has made it possible for us to hold its release. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed about the theatrical release.
Speaking about the pandemic and how it has impacted the industry and his work, Mr. Pandit says that he feels the pandemic has taught him valuable lessons. He points out that it fast-tracked the boom of OTT platforms, which would have otherwise taken a few more years.
I feel we are at a cross-roads now, where before making a film, we need to decide if we are making it for the theatres or for OTT. Similarly, even the cinema-goers are going to be pre-deciding if they are willing to spend money on movie tickets or waiting 4-6 weeks for the film to release on OTT. There would be a very clear-cut line between the two platforms, but both will be helping each other.
Well, you can’t help but agree to this, and I sure cannot wait to see all that Mr. Pandit has in store for us — both on OTT and in the theatres!