'OTT is here to stay and it will coexist with films'
Padma Shri & National Award-winning filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar spoke to Kailashnath Adhikari, MD Governance Now during the webcast of the Visionary Talk series
With technology evolving every day it provides filmmaker ideas to get more creative and provide an edge to tell more stories. India currently has about 40 OTT platforms and increasing by the day. With cinema halls shut during pandemic-induced lockdown people turned to OTT platforms in a big way to watch some of the the most outstanding cinema which may not have seen a theatrical release otherwise or garnered audience.
Has OTT stolen the thunder from the cinema? According to Madhur Bhandarkar, Padma Shri and four-time National Award-winning film maker even before lockdown, OTT was popular platform for watching choice content among cinema lovers and co-existing with films. OTT is here to stay. It will coexist with films.
With OTT coming in unlike earlier when a film was unable to get a theatrical release now, it offers them a platform for release. Good content films and those with mid-size budgets that were earlier denied their due and could not get a release in theatres are now being recognized on the OTT platform. Producers now are given get the good budget to make films. OTT has a wider reach with a good audience and this has been a huge benefit. It is a good source of revenue.
“OTT platform is here to stay. Those who are creating original content qualitatively it can be compared to films. The scale, budget, and opulence of Hindi films as also of foreign films on OTT is huge. There is no doubt that OTT and films will coexist in their own space” Bhandarkar said while speaking to Kailashnath Adhikari, MD Governance Now during the webcast of Visionary Talk series held by public policy and governance analysis platform.
The acclaimed filmmaker said during lockdown over the last one and half years with people watching a lot of Indian cinema as well as foreign films on OTT it has made them cinema literate. Yet despite that, the experience of going to the cinema hall and having popcorn, coke, and snacks will not go away either and they will always want to come back to cinema halls. This he said may take some time till 1-2 films become box office hits. Till then people may not feel confident to watch movies in cinema halls.
He added when a larger proportion of people get vaccinated and life comes back to normal, the euphoria and excitement of watching a film in the theatre will be back. “The charm of watching cinema in movie theatre will not go away and depend on how fast vaccination happens and how many people are vaccinated.”
Bhandarkar, who is now making a film on pandemic induced lockdown with stories around lives of migrant workers, sex workers, an air hostess and a middle-class father who meets his daughter amidst difficulties in lockdown said the film industry is now revamping every five years. “With new content and new filmmakers coming in and easy access to the best of foreign films the enveloped in consistently being pushed,” he said.
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