For weeks now, there has been a lot of debate on how the Covid-19 pandemic will change the entertainment business. One of the major changes we had braced ourselves for was the direct OTT release of many films that were scheduled for a release over the coming months. Even as names of Bollywood films being released on streaming platforms were being tossed around, producer Karan Johar recently tweeted to the media requesting more responsible reportage. “These are challenging times for the business and false news only makes the situation worse! Please wait for official news on any account,” he wrote.
But now we have our first official announcement – Shoojit Sircar’s Gulabo Sitabo, starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Amitabh Bachchan, will release on Amazon Prime Video on June 12, 2020. In a press release, Sircar was quoted as saying, “This is the dawn of a new era for Indian entertainment. I am happy that a global audience will be able to watch our gritty dramedy, and enjoy what the film has in store for them. Gulabo Sitabo is a quirky, light-hearted movie that the audience can enjoy with their families.” The film has been written by Juhi Chaturvedi, Sircar’s frequent collaborator on films like Piku and Vicky Donor.
With the future of movie theatres and shoots being uncertain, Gulabo Sitabo is going to be the first of many films with an A-list cast to go the digital route, throwing up questions on the fate of movies that aren’t big event films. Khuranna is possibly one the most profitable Bollywood actors at the box office right now. Some industry experts believe digital platforms may prove to be a better home for mid-sized movies as opposed to theatres, even in a post- Covid world.