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Covid-19 Lockdown : List of Indian films skipping theatre release to go the OTT way

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced Film producers to rethink new ways of showcasing their films. Facing uncertainty, many are choosing to release their films on popular OTT platforms. Amazon Prime has benefitted the most because of this pandemic as a slew of Indian films have chosen it as the platform to reach audiences in this difficult time.

Following Shoojit Sircar directed “Gulabo Sitabo” starring Amitabh Bacchan and Ayushmann Khurrana, six more Indian films have announced their arrival on Prime video. Among these films, is Vidya Balan’s much awaited biographical drama on “Shakuntala Devi”.

Apart from the above mentioned two Bollywood films, five South Indian films are releasing on the platform too. These are “Ponmagal Vandhal” a legal drama in Tamil starring Jyotika, Keerthy Suresh’s “Penguin”(Tamil and Telugu versions), Aditi Rao Hydari’s Malayalam film “Sufiyum Sujathayum”, Ragini Chandran and Sri Prahlad’s drama “Law” in Kannada and “French Biryani”, another Kannada film starring Danish Sait.

The OTT platform will be releasing these films for streaming in the next three months across 200 countries and territories in the world.

JJ Fredrick directed “Ponmagal Vandhal” will release first on May 29. The film which is being backed up by Tamil Superstar Suriya got into a predicament after the Tamil Nadu Theatre and Multiplex Owners Association imperiled the release of films starring Suriya or produced by him. The association did this after the star’s decision to release “Ponmagal Vandhal on Prime video.

Amitabh Bacchan starrer “Gulabo Sitabo” will follow “Ponmagal Vandhal” and will release on June 12. Director and writer Eshavar Karthic’s “Penguin” will release on June 19,  “Law” and “French Biryani” will release on June 26 and July 24 respectively. Only “Shakuntala Devi and “Sufiyum Sujathayum” are the films without any release date as of yet. Their makes will announce the dates soon.

Many distributors and exhibitors are dissatisfied because of these developments, with multiplex giant INOX stating their displeasure on Thursday by releasing a long statement in the press, stating: The decision of production house to deviate from the globally prevalent content windowing practice is alarming and disconcerting. Cinemas and content creators have always been into mutually beneficial partnerships, where one`s action provided a fillip to another`s revenues.”

Not surprisingly they didn’t name any film or production house’s in particular while stating their displeasure.

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