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Bollywoods release schedule goes for a draw, again




2021 looked like the year of Bollywood’s resurgence. The announcements of new films were made one after the other, the shootings also started and ended. But the Covid pandemic refuses to slow down and, as a result, theaters in Maharashtra have been closed until April 30. This led the filmmakers to rethink their releases.

Rohit Shetty again postponed the already delayed Sooryavanshi. What happens to the rest of the greats – Thalaivi in ​​April, Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai and Satayameva Jayate 2 in May, and so on? Does the entire year seem ripe for a reshuffle?

Experts and manufacturers believe it. Producer Anand Pandit, who has delayed the theatrical release of his actor Amitabh Bachchan Chehre, says: Unfortunately, we only have 52 Fridays a year, and there are usually 300 to 400 films. Whole months of April and May will go by, I’m sure the movies won’t start releasing until after June. It will disrupt the whole schedule.

Rajender Jyala, director of programming at INOX Leisure, said that while the southern releases are on track so far, Hindi films will change their dates. Sooryavanshi will have to find a new release date now. We don’t know when the cinemas will reopen. Once that clarity is brought in, the new planning will happen across the gamut, he says.


Jyala adds that these are indeed tough times for theaters. There is no income. We hope this time we will open very soon. The government has stepped up the vaccination campaign. Directors are very unlikely to choose to release big movies in other states except Maharashtra. Smaller films, yes, maybe. Maharashtra contributes 30-35% of all Indian box office. Even earlier, when Maharashtra’s theaters reopened at 50% capacity, other cinemas across the country were open and movies were coming out. Films will be released, but not those on a larger scale. For this, the theaters of Maharashtra must reopen, he explains.

Exhibitors agree and say that no filmmaker would want to release his film without the income from Maharashtra. Akshaye Rathi tells us that films coming out in April or early May will obviously reconsider their plans. Given that Maharashtra is in the process of shutting down, it is probably the biggest market in terms of box office revenue for Hindi films. With that out of the equation, no producer would want to come out in other belts. Most Hindi and Hollywood movies this month are planning to change the date. Maharashtra’s impact is also on other parts of the country. It is extremely damaging, after almost a year of closure.


Filmmakers who can no longer wait for theaters to reopen, will they opt for OTT releases instead? The rising costs of delaying a publication could constrain some. But Pandit, whose movie The Big Bull will premiere on a streaming platform, says there is no general rule of thumb. Small films can go there. I don’t think an OTT player can match the numbers from big movies like Sooryavanshi. It is very unlikely that they will go to OTTs. There was no economic reason behind me to publish TBT on OTT. We are a debt free society so we don’t have this pressure building on us. We thought it would be a good bet for OTT, as there was a demand for good content there. Chehre would be a great experience for moviegoers, which is why we cling to it for a theater.

Trade expert Atul Mohan also says the situation is uncertain as to when Maharashtra’s theaters will be operational again. There is no guarantee that the cinemas will reopen on May 1. Whether it is an extension or not, there is no clarity. Hindi films will therefore not be released elsewhere, because they cannot afford to lose such a large market, he says.

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