COVID-19’s Impact on Bollywood

Is launching a film on OTT platforms a smarter option than waiting for reopening theatres? We talk to Anand Pandit, Rahul Bose, and other industry experts.


With the arrival of five notable films – Sooryavanshi, Laxmi Blast, Radhe: The Most Wanted Bhai, Coolie No. 1, and ’83, Bollywood was hoping to see a grand performance by Box Office in the first half of the year. Nevertheless, the preparations were put to rest when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, and a national shutdown ensued. During the release dates of these films and other productions that are caught in post-production phases, confusion still exists. By speaking to some well-known filmmakers, our sources tried to get a viewpoint on the changes this pandemic has brought to the film industry, especially in Bollywood.


Impact of COVID-19 on Bollywood 

Siddharth Anand Kumar and Anand Pandit, the producers, along with actor-director Rahul Bose, offer a peek into the Bollywood world where shoots are still paused, and launches are halted. Siddharth, vice president, films, and television, the safety of the people is paramount. The virus may always be around even after the lockdown is eased said by Saregama. He states, “There needs to be a new update to the film production rules, as it would decide how one-shots movies forward.


OTT vs. Theatres

There is that whole discourse about whether to release movies on digital platforms or not. Is it safe to plan to unleash biggies such as the Laxmi Bomb on streaming channels instead of reopening theatres? Rahul Bose, Poorna’s (2017) director, and writer say it’s all up to the writer ‘s judgment, as these are just personal business decisions that influence everyone involved with the film. “It’s an essentially tactical judgment. The decision would be ‘can I hold on for a year and then release it because I’m going to get so much more money’ or ‘no, financially I can’t hold on for a year.’ Nothing can change the joy of watching a film on the big screen for Siddharth, though. He says, “I believe in both formats – a massive fan of theatre releases because that’s the actual theatrical experience after all. By comparison, the OTT platform, like Putlocker and Movierulz2is an excellent choice now and in the future.


When will theatres reopen in India?

Anand Pandit says there is no business consensus on the matter, but most filmmakers work out their tactics with their teams to remedy the problem. “We are also in the process of formulating a comprehensive list of steps separately and jointly expected to be taken. While we still do not have an industry standing by various guilds that operate efficiently, we are all unified in working for the common good, “he says. The producer and distributor of films such as Absolute Dhamaal (2019) and Sarkar 3 (2017) reported that owners of the theater would have to restore public confidence, which would be challenging. He states, “The operators of cinema halls would have to follow stringent guidelines of sanitization for cine-goers to feel calm when entering a theatre.

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