Adapting to changing times and dealing with the uncertainty in the Indian cinema industry due to the lockdown necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a handful of film producers have decided to release their films directly on online streaming platforms.
While Jyotikaâ€™s Ponmagal Vandhal dropped the news of direct OTT release last month, causing a controversy in the Tamil film industry, a total of seven films across five Indian languages will now be released on Amazon Prime Video streaming platform in the next three months.
Ponmagal Vandhal (Tamil) from May 29: Starring Jyotika, Parthiban, Bhagyaraj, Prathap Pothen and Pandiarajan, the film was the first in the Tamil industry to announce its direct OTT release. It will now begin streaming on Amazon Prime from May 29. Produced by Suriyaâ€™s 2D Entertainment and Rajsekar Karpoorasundarapandian, Ponmagal Vandhal is a legal drama marking the debut of director JJ Fredrick.
Penguin (Tamil and Telugu), from June 19: Starring Keerthy Suresh in the lead, Penguin has been written and directed by Eshavar Karthic and produced by Stone Bench Films and Karthik Subbaraj. The film, a thriller, is the actorâ€™s most anticipated film since Mahanati (Telugu), in which she played the lead role. It had been announced earlier that Keerthy will be playing a pregnant woman in this film.
Sufiyum Sujatayum (Malayalam), release date to be announced: Starring Aditi Rao Hydari and Jayasurya, Soofiyum Sujatayum has been written and directed by Naranipuzha Shanavas and produced by Vijay Babuâ€™s Friday Film House. The actors play a married couple in the film that is said to be an intense love story.
Law (Kannada), from June 26: Starring Ragini Chandran, Siri Prahlad and veteran actor Mukhyamantri Chandru, Law is written and directed by Raghu Samarth and produced by Ashwini and Puneeth Rajkumar. Ragini plays a law graduate in this film.
French Biryani (Kannada), July 24: The film features comedian and actor Danish Sait, Sal Yusuf and Pitobash as leads. The movie is written by Avinash Balekkala, directed by Pannaga Bharana and produced by Ashwini and Puneeth Rajkumar and Gurudutt A Talwar. While Danish will play an auto driver in this film, Sal will be playing a French man.
In Hindi, director Shoojit Sircarâ€™s quirky family comedy Gulabo Sitabo starring Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana in the lead and Vidya Balanâ€™s most anticipated Shakuntala Devi will release on Amazon Prime. While Gulabo Sitabo will begin streaming from June 12, Shakuntala Deviâ€™s release date is yet to be announced.
Meanwhile, exhibitors are not pleased with the unprecedented move of the producers.
As part of a long press statement issued on Thursday evening, and without naming any film or production house in particular, the multiplex chain INOX stated: "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 fillip to another's revenues.â€ť
(With inputs from IANS)