It was recently announced that Shoojit Sircar's new film, Gulabo Sitabo would be releasing on OTT platform, considering that cinema halls have been shut due to the lockdown. A few other filmmakers may also be considering this option as it cannot be said as to when things will get back to normalcy and cinemas will open again.
However, one of the biggest names in the cinema business in India, INOX theatres has released a statement, in which they have expressed disappointment in films choosing OTT platforms over theatres. The statement also speaks of taking 'retributive measures' against the producers of Gulabo Sitabo, and urges other filmmakers to not break the longstanding partnerships with theatres.
The statement started off, "INOX would like to express extreme displeasure and disappointment on an announcement made by a production house today, to release their movie directly on an OTT platform by skipping theatrical window run. The decision of the production house to deviate from the globally prevalent content windowing practice is alarming and disconcerting."
It continued, "Cinemas and content creators have always been into mutually beneficial partnerships, where one's action provided fillip to another's revenues. INOX has been investing profoundly towards adding world class quality screens, across the country, only to provide more eyeballs to the great content being produced. This partnership has endured for decades, and has provided succour to each other. In these troubled times, it is disturbing to see one of the partners not interested in continuing the mutually beneficial relationship, especially when the need of the hour is to stand shoulder to shoulder with each other, and bring the film industry back to its vibrant best."
Talking about how they plan to deal with the broken partnership, it said, "Such acts, though isolated, vitiate the atmosphere of mutual partnership and paint these content producers as fair-weather friends rather than all-weather life-long partners. Needless to say, INOX will be constrained to examine its options, and reserve all rights, including taking retributive measures, in dealing with fair-weather friends."
"INOX would like to reiterate that as the backbone of the cinematic value chain, this windowing pattern has done wonders in terms of revenues for the content creators and all other stakeholders, as if offers them the opportunity to extract the best from all available mediums, which include cinemas, OTT platforms as well as satellite," it concluded, adding, "INOX would like to urge all content creators not to skip the theatrical run, and stay with the age old and established windowing pattern, which is in the best interests of all stakeholders in the value chain."
Gulabo Sitabo stars Ayushmann Khurrana and Amitabh Bachchan in the lead. The film was scheduled for release on April 17, but could not because of the COVID-19 lockdown in India. Producers of the film have now chosen to go ahead with a digital release, and so, the film will be releasing on Prime Video, on June 12, 2020.