Cinemas are scheduled to open on October 15 in many states of India, but Bollywood has reacted to the news with caution. Almost all big films have been pushed to 2021, most mediocre and small films of the year have already been sold to OTT platforms, and the few films being touted for the festive weekends have not confirmed release yet. In all this, a new, makeshift trend has emerged: Exhibitors are banking on re-releasing old content, hoping what worked once will woo the audience again.
On Wednesday, trade analyst Taran Adarsh announced on his verified Twitter account the names of several old films that will be re-released once the theatres re-open this week. There include the late Sushant Singh Rajput-starrer “Kedarnath”, Ajay Devgn’s blockbuster “Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior”, the Hrithik Roshan-Tiger Shroff action blockbuster “War”, the Ayushmann Khurrana comedy “Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan”, “Thappad” starring Taapsee Pannu and Mohit Suri’s ensemble cast hit “Malang”. Several other films will also be doing the rounds all over again.
Raj Mehrotra, CEO Delite Cinemas, Delhi, told IANS: “We are opening from Friday, 16th October. We will begin with four shows of ‘Housefull 4’ and two shows each of ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan’ and ‘Street Dancer 3D’.”
Quizzed about what are they doing to pull the audience to a theatre running old films, he replied: “We have witnessed that people are feeling bored at home, sitting and watching television and OTT programmes. They want to come out. We have reduced our admission rate drastically so that couples and families can come and watch films together.”
However, the trade is not very optimistic. The situation certainly is not compatible to good ticket sales. With cinema halls opening only in select states as of now and that too at 50 per cent capacity, the industry does not see much scope for good bsiness.
Film trade analyst Amod Mehra finds the idea of re-releasing old films impractical. “This appears to be a big joke. Why would anyone risk their lives to go and watch old films in theatres? Because there is no film to be played, they are experimenting. It doesn’t make sense. The same thing was done in Dubai, but it didn’t work,” Mehra told IANS.
He points at another big problem. “Theatres are not opening in Maharashtra from where at least 33 per cent business is derived. It’s not practical. It’s a foolish attempt. Let’s wait and watch.”
It’s a wait and watch situation for theatre owners, too. They are reopening business after seven months, and hoping for the best under given situation.
The situation is no better in regional circuits. Debajib Sarkar, Administrative Officer at Kolkata’s Jaya Cinema, said: “We are opening the theatre from October 16 with 50 per cent seating capacity as per the government’s SOP. We begin with one show each of ‘Kedarnath’ and ‘Chhichhore’ because no Bengali films are available before October 21. We will screen new Bengali films once they release.” –ians, AHANA BHATTACHARYA