Bangalore: The Global pandemic has brought the world to a standstill. Cinema is one of the many industries which has been affected by the pandemic. According to reports, Indian film industry will take at least 2 years to recuperate from the crisis. Few Indian films are all set to directly premiere on OTT platforms, with Cinema halls shut and social distancing becoming the norm, what is the future of Indian Cinema, this was the topic of the 5th instalment in the webinar series hosted by The Adclub Bangalore. The panelists for the discussion included, Vijay Babu, Producer, Actor & Founder- Friday Films, PR Satheesh, COO-MMTV, Ajay Mehta, Founder-Interactive Television. Harsh Rohtagi, CEO-Qube Cinema. The panel discussion was moderated by Kishan Kumar MS, VP, Wavemaker. The discussion delved into the future of theatrical cinema viewing experience, changing dynamics of content acquisition and digital viewing experience.
The discussion began with OTT release of the movies. Malayalam movie Sufiyum Sujathayum produced by Friday Film House is set to release next month on the streaming platform.
Speaking on the situations that led him to bypass the theatrical release, Vijay Babu said, “Indian Cinema has faced several issues since its birth, this is for the first-time film industry has been locked down for such a long period. The losses faced by the industry are not yet evaluated. In my case, the shooting of Sufiyum Sujathayum was completed by January and I was planning to release the movie during Vishu or Ramzan season. The biggest problem we will be facing is to bring the audiences back to the movie theaters. The biggest stars and their movies are the ones which are going to bring back the people into theatres. Now the question is, will these movies be released soon after the lock down is over? the answer is NO. The government must create awareness on the hygiene aspects and people need to be convinced on the hygiene issues. It is going to take a lot of time and every movie has a shelf life. Theatre owners and the content providers should join hands rather than fighting.”
According to Harsh Rohtagi, theatrical experiences are important for the Cinema business to thrive.
He added, “There are small and big budget movie producers who would have taken money from financiers to produce movies. If the producers cannot survive for more than 6 months, then it is not a unfair decision to release movies on OTT platforms. Last year, India released 1800-1900 movies, which means 400-500 movies per quarter. When theatres reopen there is going to be a rise in terms of number of films to be released. There will be limited number of inventories available in the movie theatres depending on the social distancing norms by the government.”
Ajay Mehta said, “My take on this is very simple, humans by nature are social animals. In a country like India where out of home entertainment options are very limited, Cinema is very prominent. We are living in the age of social distancing and we need to curtail our socializing. We need to take some measures for the people to come back to theaters. The theatres which will be adapting corrective measures than others and the ones which are trusted well will witness a sharper spike in audience. You need larger than life films to enjoy the cinematic experience. The OTT platforms can substitute some of the content but larger than life experience is limited.
Speaking on content production, PR Satheesh said, “As far as content is concerned, we are going to do original contents. We have already done one for our OTT platform Manorama Max, which would have cost as much as a medium budget Malayalam film if a bigger star and crew is hired.”
In her welcome note, Radhika Ramani said, “The existential questions on the Future of Cinema is nothing new to this industry, from the launch of VCR to the rise of streaming services the relevance of Cinema theatres is a much-debated topic. The Cinema theatres adapted the changes, they survived and flourished. But, the Corona Virus pandemic has amplified these anxieties, as the industry faces new reality.”
Summing up the discussions, the Moderator Kishan Kumar said, “It was an extremely insightful discussion touching upon various aspects of the future of this medium that all of us love. True to the statement that in adversity lies opportunities,this new normal will bring new formats of cinematic experience. New content territories will emerge. Online and offline will co-exist. Brands will demand accountability. Innovation will be key in every aspect. However, equivocally, everyone felt that cinema will emerge stronger”
Arvind Kumar, Executive Director of Ad Club said “we are Grateful to medianews4u.com, our online Media Partners. Do stay tuned in to The Advertising Club Bangalore as we have a host of exciting programs lined up for you. We are the only Adclub in the country active during the last two months of lockdown and Picture abhi baki hai “.
The Video of the Webinar is available on Adclub facebook page: