The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Saturday, December 4, 2021


The battle for Bollywood: virus, streaming apps spark fears for cinemas
In this picture taken on June 18, 2020, a security guard walks past empty poster display cases at a closed movie theatre complex due to a COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown in Mumbai. With cinemas shut for months due to a coronavirus lockdown, and little prospect they will open soon, frustrated Bollywood producers have turned to the likes of Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar to release films online. INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / AFP.

by Udita Jhunjhunwala / Vishal Manve



MUMBAI (AFP).- A Bollywood actor's face tattooed on his arm, Sandeep Bacche's devotion shocks few in India where stars enjoy semi-divine status. But even here the hallowed silver screen may be losing its shine to streaming services and pandemic fears.

"Whenever things get better and theatres begin operations, I will watch three movies a day for sure just as a way to celebrate," said the Mumbai rickshaw driver, who is recovering from the virus himself.

But others may not join the party.

With cinemas shut for months due to a coronavirus lockdown, and little prospect they will reopen soon, frustrated Bollywood producers have turned to the likes of Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ Hotstar to release films online.

"Gulabo Sitabo", starring Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan, premiered on Amazon Prime last month. Other Hindi movies have followed a similar route, as have the huge Telugu-, Tamil- and Malayalam-language film industries.

This has sparked fury from cinema operators.

INOX Leisure Ltd, India's second-largest multiplex operator, warned producers of possible "retributive measures".

"Movie stars are not made on the small screen but on the silver screen," Siddharth Jain, INOX executive director, told AFP.

But, noting the financial might of the competition, he said: "No business model in the world can compete with free money and Netflix is nothing but free money."

Shoojit Sircar, who directed "Gulabo Sitabo", told AFP that "a digital release was a tough decision" but financial constraints pushed him to do it.

"A lot of technicians are dependent on me," Sircar said.

"Cinema magic cannot be replaced by TV, iPad or laptop experience. But I needed to move on."

- Affordable entertainment -

India has the world's most prolific film industry, churning out nearly 1,800 releases in 2018. Stars are worshipped like gods, with fans building temples and making pilgrimages to their homes.

Going to the cinema also remains a hugely popular and affordable pursuit, with 75 rupees ($1) buying three hours of entertainment in an air-conditioned movie theatre.

Some of the higher-end multiplex cinemas have menus that include biryani being delivered to your recliner, and blankets to snuggle under if the air conditioning is too cold.

But with more than half of India's population under 30, and many of them consuming entertainment on mobile phones, the likes of Netflix were starting to make inroads even before the coronavirus.




Hotstar, the market leader now owned by Disney, boasted 300 million active monthly users in 2018 -- offering some content for free and other shows only to subscribers.

The shutdown has only accelerated the shift.

For years Mumbai-based teacher Nigel D'Souza, 27, was one of the holdouts, preferring to watch films in cinemas.

But when India went into lockdown in late March, he bit the bullet and subscribed to both Amazon Prime -- aggressively priced in India at just 129 rupees per month -- and Netflix.

He is now hooked.

"It was very cheap... as we don't spend money on expensive popcorn or travel", he said.

Furthermore, he found he "could binge-watch any number of movies... without worrying about the virus".

- Virus measures -

Vijay Subramaniam, Amazon Prime's director of content for India, insisted the company was not looking to put cinemas out of business.

"Theatres play an important role in film distribution and we aren't looking to change that," he told AFP.

But he added: "As technology continues to change that landscape, customers' preferences of what to watch and where will continue to evolve."

Cinemas meanwhile are getting ready for the end of lockdown, which will come with strict rules that will further eat away at their profit margins.

Some seats will have to be left empty and cinema halls will have to be thoroughly disinfected after every show. The lavish menus and blankets will probably have to go.

But it is not all doom and gloom.

"The cinema experience is ingrained in our blood... (it) will never go out of fashion," Mumbai-based film trade analyst Girish Johar told AFP.

For diehard fans like Bacche, the heady pleasures of the silver screen are simply too irresistible.

Even in the coronavirus treatment facility, the 41-year-old still needed his daily fix of Bollywood, he said.

He found it on the YouTube app on his phone, which he still uses -- a sign that the pandemic's impact on viewing habits may linger for a while longer.

© Agence France-Presse










Today's News

July 4, 2020

Guggenheim opens investigation into Basquiat show after racism complaints

For the first (and maybe the last) time, all the Walking Men are gathered in the same exhibition

Turner Prize was canceled, but organizers still gave out the cash

National Gallery's Room 32 reopens to the public after a 21-month refurbishment

Saroj Khan, choreographer of over 2,000 Bollywood songs, dies at 71

Outstanding Roman figures of Celtic Hounds at risk of export

Can a new arts center revitalize Provincetown?

Christie's to offer Nicolas de Staël's Place à Agrigente

Seeing paradise from behind a dashboard

Denmark's Little Mermaid vandalised

Meem Gallery's summer exhibition looks at the last century of Egyptian sculpture

Sir John Soane's Museum to reopen in Autumn 2020

The battle for Bollywood: virus, streaming apps spark fears for cinemas

The Momentary announces new visual arts projects and updates for 2020 exhibitions

Michael Lapthorn announced as new Chief of Design at National Gallery of Art

Thomas Del Mar to offer important arms & armour from prestigious collections

Turkey's Erdogan rejects criticism over Hagia Sophia landmark

The NYUAD Art Gallery announces next exhibition archive event, Permanent Temporariness

Rental Gallery opens "Friend of Ours"

Heritage Auctions sells J.C. Leyendecker's New Year's Baby Hitching to War for $275,000

SmithDavidson Gallery in Amsterdam exhibits with Zhuang Hong Yi

The music industry is wrestling with race. Here's what it has promised.

Marianne Boesky Gallery exhibits Donald Moffett's 'Aluminum / White House Unmoored, 2004'

Grayson Perry, Aida Muluneh and Russell Tovey invite artists to join WaterAid's Covid-19 campaign

TOP 6 REASONS WHY YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS SEO

Is It Worth Buying Presets

Impact of ransomware on Bitcoin Business

The arrival of Bitcoin Bankruptcy Virtual Currency Tax Book Present Campaign

Bitcoin Bankruptcy - Business book Unused New economy

SOME OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE TOILET IN THE WORLD




Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 



Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful