Under attack for ‘Tuck Jagadish’ OTT release, Shiva Nirvana says team had no alternative

When director Shiva Nirvana started 'Tuck Jagadish', he had never imagined that the intense family drama he was making wouldn't hit big screen.

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When director Shiva Nirvana started shooting for ‘Tuck Jagadish’ with Nani and other actors in February last year, he had never imagined that the intense family drama he was making wouldn’t hit the big screen.

The director and screenwriter had grand plans of releasing the much-awaited movie in theatres, but then came two successive waves of Covid-19 and the blueprint had to be drawn up afresh.

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Today, as he prepares for the film’s release on the OTT platform, Amazon Prime Video, he says, especially in reply to Nani’s social media critics, the team was left with no alternative.

With seating restrictions in force in theatres even in states where they have been allowed to be opened, and the possibility of cinemas operating at 100 per cent capacity in the near future appearing remote, the producers of the film, which was originally scheduled for an April 6 release this year, were faced with two choices: losing serious money or taking the OTT route.

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They chose the second option, according to Shiva, also because an OTT platform offers a pan-Indian audience for films. ‘Tuck Jagadish’ will now be seen by Nani fans across the country at the same time. Of course, Nani won’t get the satisfaction of listening to the applause and cheers of a live audience.

Shiva recalled how Nani and he used to discuss which action sequence, power-packed dialogue or emotional scene would evoke the maximum applause from audiences in theatres. But now they know the film wouldn’t keep lying in hard disk drives.

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The ‘natural star’, as Nani is popularly called in Tollywood, empathised with those targeting him. “They are my elders. I have immense respect for them. There’s nothing wrong because I understand the situation they are in. I am one of their family. I empathise with them,” the actor said.

“Some are saying they will ban my movies. If the situation is good and still I don’t go for a theatrical release, others will be justified in banning me. In fact, I will ban myself,” Nani added, justifying the decision to go for an OTT release.

Shiva, whose debut movie ‘Ninnu Kori’ with Nani was a blockbuster, is pained over the attack on the actor. He recalled that whenever Nani went to theatres for premieres, he would stand at the door to watch the reaction of audiences.

In an interview to IANS, Shiva Nirvana said a theatrical release remains his first choice, but the situation compelled the production team to take a collective decision to go for an OTT release.

“From my childhood, I used to watch films in theatres. There was no OTT even when I got obsessed with filmmaking. ‘Tuck Jagadish’ has a big cast, complex emotions, a great musical score and beautiful visuals. I never imagined it will be released on the small screen, but when things happen differently, we need to change ourselves,” Shiva said.

“Nani and I used to discuss the kind of response the film would get from audiences in theatres. We felt very disappointed. If there is one disadvantage, there will be one advantage.

“The crowd cheering, claps and whistles won’t be there when you see the movie at home, but we will reach out to more people and that is the advantage. If you want to gain some advantage, you have to accept some disadvantages.”

The director pointed out that their target audience is the 25-60 age group. “Women will like this film, but in the present situation they can’t come to theatres. The impact of the second wave is still there,” Shiva said.

He added: “There is fear in their minds, there is uncertainty in Andhra Pradesh and overseas. Some theatres have not even opened. We must accept the fact. I want more people to watch the film. People who can’t come to theatres, can watch the film on Amazon.”

Shiva revealed that in the hope that the situation would eventually get better, they kept advising the producers to wait. “We said to the producers that this film should go to theatres, there is no alternative,” he recalled. “It was originally scheduled to be released on April 16. We kept postponing, but how long can they wait? We also had to see the problems of producers, the interest (on loans) was mounting and there was no end to uncertainty. In Andhra Pradesh there are no second shows and in other places theatres have not opened. At one point, we had to take a decision and we took the decision collectively,” Shiva pointed out.

Shiva and Nani have also assured the producers that in case of losses, they will not demand the remuneration that is due to them.

Shiva believes that making a film for OTT will be a little different from films made for release in theatres. “There is so much great stuff on OTT platforms. If I want to really make some great stuff for OTT, definitely I would like to do it, but doing a film for theatre and giving it for OTT does not feel right. If you wish to go for OTT, plan for it because it involves completely different elements of filmmaking, script writing, and so one.”

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