1 min read.Updated: 23 Mar 2021, 11:06 AM ISTLata Jha
Paucity of new content following a gradual resumption in production of web originals along with availability of movies with a recognisable name has sparked interest in these titles
NEW DELHI: Amazon Prime Video has picked up critically acclaimed festival favourite The Illegal, building on the trend of streaming services expanding content libraries by turning to films that have long been shunned by cinemas in India or found limited screenings.
Written and directed by Danish Renzu, the film, starring Suraj Sharma and Shweta Tripathi, had premiered at various film festivals like the Mumbai International Film Festival, Vancouver South Asian Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, among others.
Netflix had showcased Eeb Allay Ooo, a Hindi film that premiered at the 2019 Pingyao International Film Festival and was selected for the Berlin International Film Festival last year. Last year, SonyLIV had acquired Manoj Bajpayee’s Bhonsle and Rajat Kapoor’s dark comedy Kadakh while ZEE5 got Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer Ghoomketu and Prakash Jha’s Pareeksha-The Final Test.
While Bhonsle, co-produced by Bajpayee, had toured the festival circuit in 2018 including Busan, Dharamshala, Rotterdam, and Singapore, Kadakh was part of the south Asian International Film Festival in 2019. Neither found a theatrical release in India.
A paucity of new content following a gradual resumption in production of web originals along with availability of movies with a recognisable name has sparked interest in these titles. Also, compared to the Rs25-30 crore price tag for acquisition of new films, these titles may come for as little as Rs10 crore, media experts said.
India’s limited screen count is the primary reason for several films not finding releases in theatres. The Hindi film industry makes around 2,000 films a year, but there’s space for only 200-300 to release in the 9,527 theatres across the country. Around 30-40% of the films made in the past five years have not been released. The theatrical business is entirely star-driven and while there are small-scale films that grab eyeballs, they have to come with exceptional concepts and word-of-mouth publicity, in addition to promotional budgets of at least Rs. 8-10 crore.