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Ranveer Singh’s action comedy Simmba became the first Hindi film to re-release in Australia after the lockdown
Ranveer Singh’s action comedy Simmba became the first Hindi film to re-release in Australia after the lockdown

Bollywood to reopen with mix of old and new films

  • Not just Bollywood, non-Hindi local language films are also testing waters across territories
  • In India, producers like Yash Raj Films, Reliance Entertainment and others are contemplating re-releasing hits like Sultan, War, and Tiger Zinda Hai, among others

NEW DELHI: Bollywood is prepping for theatrical reopening in India and abroad with a mix of old hits and brand new releases. While some producers are looking at re-releasing blockbusters to lure audiences back to theatres, other stakeholders feel only fresh, unreleased content will compel people to step out of home and overcome the fear psychosis brought about by the pandemic.

Earlier this month, Ranveer Singh’s action comedy Simmba became the first Hindi film to re-release in Australia after the lockdown. It had already hit screens in Fiji before that. The film, directed by Rohit Shetty, had made 239.84 crore upon its release in India in 2018. Shetty’s other film, Golmaal Again also became the first Hindi film to release in New Zealand that claims to have flattened the coronavirus curve and has reopened cinemas.

Zee Studios has already brought its two money-spinners, comedy drama Good Newwz and Ayushmann Khurrana’s Dream Girl to theatres in the UAE, a little before which Tiger Shroff’s Baaghi 3 had made around $2000 from 15 screens there within one week.

Not just Bollywood, non-Hindi local language films are also testing waters across territories. Punjabi film Ardaas Karaan starring Gippy Grewal hit screens in New Zealand while comedy drama Chal Mera Putt 2 and Tamil film Kannum Kannum Kollaiyadithaal also re-released in the UAE.

In India too, producers like Yash Raj Films, Reliance Entertainment and others are contemplating re-releasing hits like Sultan, War, and Tiger Zinda Hai, among others though there is no clarity or direction from the government on when theatres will reopen.

“The realisation is that a big-sized film will, at best, hit screens only after four to six weeks of reopening so some kind of testing can be done with older hits," films trade and exhibition expert Girish Johar pointed out.

All stakeholders in the ecosystem, are aware and admit that audiences will take time to trickle back to cinemas. Further, given the long spell away from work, it will take some time to plan and schedule new releases and have promotional campaigns in place to create buzz for them.

As of now, only two new big-ticket movies, Akshay Kumar’s Sooryavanshi and sports drama ’83, have announced theatrical releases for Diwali and Christmas respectively. According to a survey conducted by online ticketing site BookMyShow, 54% of Indian entertainment lovers would be willing to get back to cinemas within 15-90 days after the lockdown is lifted while the rest would prefer to step out after 90 days.

On the other hand, several producers are cognizant of the need to put out fresh content as people have already stayed home for months on end. PVR Pictures, the distribution arm of PVR Ltd, for example, has lined up new Hollywood titles including My Spy, The Last Full Measure, Ordinary Love, Countdown, The Farewell, The Wild Goose Chase, The Personal History of David Copperfield, The True History of Kelly Gang and Mr. Jones for release in theatres.

“Though it will be a slow burn (to get back to normalcy), our endeavour is to get these films ready and set ourselves up as people will definitely want new content once things reopen," Sanjeev Kumar Bijli, joint managing director, PVR Ltd said.

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