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New Delhi: Filmmakers Shoojit Sarkar and Ronnie Lahiri whose company Rising Sun Films’ production Sardar Udham starts streaming on Amazon Prime Video this weekend, said the direct-to-digital release of their last film, Gulabo Sitabo has been a great learning in how far Hindi movies can go beyond the theatrical medium.

The firm is known for hits such as Piku, Vicky Donor, Madras Café and October.

“The past one-and-a-half years have reset the way things were and we realised our films could reach 200 plus countries in one go (through an OTT release), including several places that our previous titles could not reach," Lahiri said. Given the uncertainty around cinema halls, and the experience with Gulabo Sitabo, it only made sense to take Sardar Udham, which Lahiri referred to as ‘a global film’ across countries.

Sardar Udham is based on the life of the revolutionary freedom fighter known for assassinating Michael O'Dwyer in London to take revenge for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar and stars Vicky Kaushal in the lead role.

Director Sarkar said the medium of release, whether theatrical or OTT, doesn’t matter and the cinematic approach remains the same given that the audience will accept or reject the film on merit. “I’m not a chest-thumping nationalist so my films are about straight human emotions and issues," Sarkar said in reference to the allegation that many Bollywood biopics deal with, of being jingoistic and over-the-top.

Known to make easy profits on tightly budgeted films, many of which have featured stars like Deepika Padukone, Varun Dhawan and John Abraham, Lahiri said one of the reasons for their company casting mainstream actors is making sure their films, often very different in style and dealing with nuanced subjects, reach maximum audiences.

“We’re definitely trying to balance commerce with craft. Any film requires the basic cost of production to be recovered though you can’t just bank entirely on actors for the same," Sarkar said referring to the need for popular faces to be complemented with a compelling overall product.

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