Director Sanjay Gupta’s crime thriller Mumbai Saga is now streaming on Amazon Prime, around five weeks after its theatrical release in March. The John Abraham and Emraan Hashmi-starrer had hit screens a few days before the second wave of covid infections gained ground and had earned Rs12.82 crore in box office collections.
The film also features Suniel Shetty, Kajal Aggarwal, Rohit Roy, Anjana Sukhani, Mahesh Manjrekar, and Prateik Babbar in lead roles.
The covid-19 pandemic has brought radical changes to the window between theatrical and digital premiere and recently released films are fast making their way to streaming platforms. Horror comedy Roohi was available on Netflix less than a month after its release.
It has been known for a while that Bollywood is not likely to continue with the eight-week window between theatrical and digital premieres even when things are back to normal. Instead, it may opt for a three-four week gap for online streaming.
The pros and cons of a possible shift are being fiercely debated by stakeholders in India and abroad, with streaming platforms seeking early digital releases and cinema chains resisting the move. In fact, Salman Khan’s latest film Radhe will be available on ZeePlex and ZEE5 the same day as its theatrical release this May.
Trade experts say while it may be okay for a film featuring a big star to expect an extended run in cinemas and debut on streaming platforms later, there is no logic in holding small producers back—more so, the longer they wait, the movie’s value diminishes more. Add to this the fact that most small, non-star vehicles don’t even get proper shows and timings.
Altering the release window will not be good news for exhibitors, as consumers may be in two minds about going to cinemas if the movie is slated for streaming within a couple of weeks
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