The extended quarantine to curb the spread of the novel Coronavirus has had India in a state of lockdown for almost two months now. During this time, public places including malls, shopping centers, and movie theatres have remained shut down. That means movies aren’t getting theatrical releases, and now, Prime Video has reportedly secured the rights to premiere 7 Indian movies on its platform, completely skipping a theatrical release of any kind.
The movies that Prime Video will be premiering include the following:
- Gulabo Sitabo
- Shakuntala Devi
- Ponmagal Vandhal
- French Biryani
- Sufiyum Sujatayum
As this news came out, two of India’s largest movie theatre chains put out releases expressing their extreme displeasure at the decision taken by production houses. In a statement, INOX said, “Such acts, though isolated, vitiate the atmosphere of mutual partnership and paint these content producers as fair-weather friends rather than all-weather life-long partners. Needless to say, INOX will be constrained to examine its options, and reserves all rights, including taking retributive measures, in dealing with such fair-weather friends.”
It’s unclear what INOX and PVR are planning to do, but it’s possible that the theater chains take steps similar to those taken by AMC theaters in the US, which refused to release any movies from Universal Studios because they released Trolls World Tour directly on streaming services.
On the other side of things, Ronnie Lahiri, co-producer of Gulabo Sitabo said “We’re facing a once-in-a-lifetime phenomena, not seen since World War 2. These are the times when things change. Initially, people have apprehensions but one has to adapt. That’s how human civilisations have prospered. The minute we stop adapting, we’re done. Instead of waiting for the situation to get better, you tackle it with other alternatives.”
The movies in question will begin to stream on Prime Video starting this month and the premieres will be spread out over the next three months.