SIR, an official Indo-French co-production, directed by Rohena Gera, starring Tillotama Shome and Vivek Gomber is among one of the first films to get a theatrical release post the opening of the movie theatres in Mumbai. But what made the makers go for a big-screen release when OTT is the new normal, we wonder. “Since the film has already been released in over 25 countries we have recovered some portion of our investment. And Rohena was sure from the beginning that even if she had to wait we should release the film in theatres because that’s where she made the film for. Also we feel it’s a very special film, like Lunchbox, which will be liked by people from all strata of the society,” explains Shiladitya Bora, the founder of Platoon One Films, the company that is distributing the movie in India.
At a time like this with a pandemic raging and the numbers going up every day, it is a huge risk that many filmmakers and producers are still not willing to take. Recently, even the two big releases, ’83 and Sooryavanshi that were looking at a theatrical release this year, were postponed to next year. But Bora says, “There is always a risk, even before Covid if a film was released there was no guarantee how many people would come to watch it. Plus, for the past six months everyone has been holed up in their houses and they are craving to go out.”
He also points out that the theatres are a big source of employment and the only source of income for many. “This applies most to the junior staff that depends on their wages from month to month, and may not have a liquid emergency fund like some of us. Then the rentals of cinemas are also so huge, that unless they start functioning again, like other industries which have opened up, it shall be heard to sustain them. All multiplexes and theatres are following strict protocols with regards to sanitisation.”
The film, which had premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018 where it won the Gan Foundation award, is scheduled to open in the theatre on November 13. “It’s not like we are expecting the film to become a huge blockbuster at a time like this, but we are confident it is a feel good film and anyone who comes to see it shall have a good time. We also feel it shall run in the halls for a few weeks at least, and eventually ticket sales shall pick up through word of mouth,” he adds.
The Uddhav Thackeray-led state government has allowed cinema halls to reopen with 50 per cent seating capacity in areas outside containment zones from November 5.
(Shiladitya Bora will be a part of FPJ’s Bombay Debate on November 9, 5.30 pm. Tune in to watch live on FPJ's YouTube channel and ABP Live)