The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown situation has taken a big toll on the entertainment industry. Sandalwood director Indrajit Lankesh has opened up about how badly the ongoing crisis has affected the Kannada film industry. In a recent interview with TOI, the filmmaker shared that it will take a few years time to overcome the insurmountable losses that have piled up due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Indrajit said, "The film industry has taken a massive hit during the pandemic. Filming activity requires big crews and exhibition at theatres also means that people have to congregate in large numbers. In that sense, most stages of the movie business are against pandemic protocol and, hence, everything has been paused. While digital platforms have come to the fore like never before, they are not conducive for big-budget films.”
He went on to add, “A direct OTT release will not bring in the returns to cover the costs of such films. I do not deny the fact that cinema halls were a catalyst in increasing the spread of the pandemic. So, it will be a long time before cinema halls reopen for business again. There is no point in starting new films now, as at least 80 are ready and waiting to be released. By my estimation, it will take the film industry a couple of years to bounce back from this."
The Shakeela director also shed light on the rise of OTT platforms and the future of star-driven vehicles in the new streaming world. Lankesh is of the opinion that big stars of the Kannada film industry will need to do two to three films a year to ensure producers make up for the losses. He cited the example of Pogaru, Roberrt and Yuvarathnaa’s success and noted the fact that people went to see these films in cinema halls. Hence, he feels that big stars need to back the good films of the lower rung of stars and promote them to the digital platforms and create demand.