Disney+ Hotstar Multiplex to premiere 7 Bollywood movies from July 24

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on June 30, 2020

Sushant Singh Rajput’s Dil Bechara will be the first movie to premiere on Disney+ Hotstar   -  THE HINDU

Over-the-top (OTT) platform Disney+ Hotstar said that it is set to premiere seven Bollywood movies — which were originally slated for theatrical releases — from July 24 onwards, in a move that could intensify the battle between theatre owners and video streaming applications over movie releases.

These movies include Dil Bechara (starring late Sushant Singh Rajput), Laxmmi Bomb (Akshay Kumar and Kiara Advani), Bhuj: The Pride of India (Ajay Devgn, Sonakshi Sinha and Sanjay Dutt), Sadak 2 (Alia Bhatt, Aditya Roy Kapur and Pooja Bhatt), The Big Bull (Abhishek Bachchan), Khuda Haafiz (Vidyut Jammwal) and Lootcase (Kunal Kemmu and Rasika Dugal).

Dil Bechara will be the first movie to premiere on Disney+ Hotstar, and in a bid to “commemorate his invaluable contribution to Hindi cinema,” this movie will be available to non-subscribers of Disney+ Hotstar as well, the company said. The movie also features Sanjana Sanghi and Saif Ali Khan.

“Today as we launch Disney+ Hotstar Multiplex, we find ourselves yet again at the cusp of making a revolutionary change by bringing the biggest Bollywood movies directly to millions across the country...Theatres are a special experience. So, they will always exist and thrive. But the potential of the industry can’t be capped by the number of release windows and theatres available. Our initiative will dramatically increase the number of films that can be made, giving film-lovers more films to enjoy and the creative community more films to make. We firmly believe that this will generate a massive momentum for more and different kinds of films to be made in India. It’s a win-win for all,” said Uday Shankar, President, The Walt Disney Company APAC, and Chairman, Star & Disney India.

“In the future, theatres and OTT will move in parallel. Both options offer their own strengths,” said Ajay Devgn, who will be seen in Bhuj: The Pride of India.

Amazon Prime’s move

Disney+ Hotstar’s announcement comes close on the heels of Amazon Prime Video, which had also announced in May that it will premiere seven new movies. This includes Shoojit Sircar’s Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana starrer Gulabo Sitabo. This move had drawn flak from movie exhibitors, who have been reeling amid the social distancing measures necessitated by the pandemic, which led to the closure of theatres from mid-March.

“The cinema offers a larger-than-life experience. That cannot be replicated easily by television or OTT platforms. Films can be seen by several means. However, going to the cinema hall adds an important dimension — it becomes a social occasion and a collective experience. The OTT platforms will clearly not match up with that,” veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal had told BusinessLine in May. OTT platforms cannot possibly replace theatrical releases, he added.

While Netflix has commissioned big films for OTT release worldwide — with some of them having budgets at par with big Hollywood films — in India, this would have taken at least another 2-3 years, if not more, if there was no pandemic, Shailesh Kapoor, Founder & CEO, Ormax Media, a media consulting firm, told BusinessLine in May.

Published on June 30, 2020

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