OTT – Will big screen’s fate go the Kodak and Nokia way?

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The other day Aamir Khan had offered a comment that the big screen magic viewing should return and expressed concern about release of films on OTT! It may or may not have been a good PR exercise on his part but it seems that OTT has started making its presence felt and is rattling the established canons of filmmaking as it has evolved! Would it sound the death knell of watching movies in the cinema halls?

A perspective! The other day Sony Liv announced a project on India’s arguably two of the greatest scientists, Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai. These two gentlemen were responsible for giving a sense of respect at the world level for Indian science. However, did the mainstream cinema ever give a thought on making a film on them? Not at all! One could argue that a film was made on MANGALYAN highlighting the mission of Mars by India. Well, it is a parch in the sands of cinematic expanse, a tiny parch, which when dropped on the sand evaporates. Was it followed by other such cinematic interventions underlining and emphasizing scientific temper and demeanour?

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World over cinema has moved along with the contemporariness of the times. Hindi cinema however continues to dish out the inane entertainment stuff, though there is a sense of gratification that regional cinema has become quite contemporary and does not think twice before plunging into the unknown. Take for example the Malayalam film FORENSIC which was such a contemporary subject. Now it is being made into a Hindi film and would star Vikrant Massey and Radhika Apte by the same name.

The moot point is, OTT has indeed started making the argument stand on its head. The luxury of being able to watch a movie from the comfort of the bedroom and being able to watch it repeatedly is what is appearing as a game changer world over.

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Advent of OTT is also breaking the stranglehold of major content creators on the nature of content. Now filmmaking is democratized and every content has a viewership. The constraint of viewing what was offered through silver screen has been consigned to the dustbin by the advent of OTT, strengthening its outreach piggybacking on COVID.

OTT has opened the world of regional cinema in a big way and is providing comparative contrast about the nature of filmmaking that the viewer was offered through the screen-based viewing and the eclectic choice that OTT has presented.

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In the final analysis, would the OTT platforms become the new Studios or the new power centres of film-making? The platforms have already started taking determined steps in this direction with conviction. The matter of analysis would become more crystalized if the cost of film-making through an OTT platform is provided. So far, it seems to be subsidized by the OTT platforms. OTT also has the potential to cut down the massive fees that the film stars charge for the films to be released on the silver screen. Whenever it happens, it would emerge as the major game changer as for a producer the costs of film-making would suddenly come down. These indeed are exciting times for cinema!

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