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Lockdown Locha: Salman, Akshay’s Eid Releases On Hold As Filmmakers Take The OTT Route
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Lockdown Locha: Salman, Akshay’s Eid Releases On Hold As Filmmakers Take The OTT Route

The week around Eid ul-Fitr is a carnival for multiplexes teeming with movie buffs united by their shared love for Salman Khan. Undeterred by an overnight hike in ticket prices, they wait for their turn to see their beloved Bhai—as the 54-year-old star is known among his die-hard admirers—unleash magic yet again on the big screen.

But as fate would have it, there is no activity at all now, let alone celebrations, at multiplexes, just a deathly silence. Reeling under the impact of extended lockdowns, theatres across the country have been wearing a desolate look shorn of glitz for more than two-and-a-half months. Worse still, there are no signs of things looking up anytime soon.

This unexpected twist was not there in the original B-town script until March this year when everything looked hunky-dory on the business front. With Akshay Kumar setting up a clash of titans by opting for an Eid release of his eagerly-awaited Laxmmi Bomb on May 22 alongside Salman’s Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai, multiplex owners seemed to be in for a double delight.

Almost all of Salman’s Eid releases were mega blockbusters, creating a record enviable enough to deter the biggest of his competitors. However, buoyed by his recent successes, Akshay dared to grab a slice of Salman’s box-office pie on Eid. It was, of course, a win-win situation for multiplex owners, who looked forward to the imminent showdown between two of the biggest superstars with bated breath, little realising what was in store for them in the weeks ahead.

Forced by the prolonged closure of cinema halls, with little chance of them reopening soon, filmmakers are now turning to the over-the-top (OTT) platforms for direct digital releases of their movies. On May 22, a Friday when the industry expected a Salman-versus-Akshay duel, it will be Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s chance to hog the limelight by default as his long-in-the-making Ghoomketu is bypassing the traditional route of a theatrical release to stream on Zee5 for OTT audiences. And this may be just the tip of the iceberg for the multi-billion-rupee industry.

Reeling

While Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai’s (top left) release has been postponed, Gulabo Sitabo (top right) and Shakuntala Devi (bottom) are releasing on OTT platforms.

There are other movies with digital premieres in the pipeline, most notably Shoojit Sircar’s Gulabo Sitabo and Vidya Balan’s Shakuntala Devi, a biopic of the legendary ‘human computer’. Sircar’s Amitabh Bachchan-Ayushmann Khurrana starrer will be released directly on Amazon Prime Video on June 12. Five big movies from the south—Ponmagal Vandhal (Tamil), Penguin (Tamil/Telugu), Law (Kannada), Sufiyum Sujatayum (Malayalam) and French Biryani (Kannada) will also stream on digital platforms within the next three months in the face of growing uncertainty over reopening of theatres.

“At Prime Video, we believe in listening to what our consumers want and working backwards from there,” says Vijay Subramaniam, director and head, content, of the Indian arm of the global OTT platform. “Over the past two years, Prime Video has become the destination of choice for our customers to watch new releases across languages within weeks of their theatrical releases. We are taking this one step further, with seven of India’s most anticipated films premiering exclusively on it, bringing the cinematic experience to their doorsteps.” Adds Gaurav Gandhi, director and country general manager, Amazon Prime Video India, “We feel truly excited about this initiative and also confident of delighting our members with this offering.”

Will They?

Coolie No. 1.

But what may delight the growing tribe of the OTT audience has come as a shocker to multiplex owners, who are crying foul over these developments. Until now, most movies would reach Amazon Prime Video, Netflix etc only after a few weeks of their theatrical releases. Therefore, filmmakers’ decision to opt for direct digital streaming sent alarm bells ringing for theatre owners. Fearing a loss in revenues in the long run, INOX, a leading theatre chain, reacted angrily, calling it a disconcerting move. “INOX would like to express extreme displeasure and disappointment on an announcement by a production house to release their movie directly on an OTT platform by skipping the theatrical window run. The decision of the production house to deviate from the globally prevalent content windowing practice is alarming and disconcerting,” it announced a day after filmmaker Shoojit Sircar revealed plans to take Gulabo Sitabo directly to Amazon Prime Video.

Reminding filmmakers of the ‘mutually beneficial partnerships’ they have shared over the years, INOX stressed the need for standing shoulder to shoulder. “Such acts, though isolated, vitiate the atmosphere of mutual partnership and paint these content producers as fair-weather friends rather than all-weather, lifelong partners,” it said, adding that it would now be “constrained to examine” its options while reserving all rights, including taking retributive measures in “dealing with such fair-weather friends”.

INOX’s strongly worded statement evoked a sharp response from the Producers Guild of India. “Statements that call for ‘retributive measures’ against producers who decide to take their movies directly to OTT platforms—especially at a time when cinemas are unfortunately closed for the foreseeable future—do not lend themselves to a constructive or collaborative dialogue on the way forward for the industry,” it said in a two-page statement. “The production sector (just like the exhibition sector) is suffering hundreds of crores of losses daily as elaborate and expensive sets erected for under-production films have had to be taken down. Huge cancellation charges are being borne by producers even as interest costs are mounting on amounts raised to fund films.”

Gunjan Saxena.

But INOX is not alone. Another multiplex major, PVR Pictures, which operates a cinema circuit comprising 841 screens at 176 properties in 71 cities in India and Sri Lanka, also expressed its disappointment with producers deciding to go straight to streaming platforms. “We believe that theatrical release is the best way for audiences to experience the labour and creative genius of our filmmakers. This has been so for decades and not just in India but globally,” says Kamal Gianchandani, CEO, PVR Pictures. “The COVID-19 crisis has caused an unfortunate shutdown of cinemas. We are confident that once we get to the other side of this crisis, there would be enough and more pent-up demand from cine-goers who have been cooped up at homes for the past many weeks. We are likely to see demand on a sustained basis once we reopen.”

There is no guarantee that viewers will flock to theatres when shows resume.

Gianchandani hopes that producers will accede to their request to hold back the release of their films till cinemas reopen. But as Amitabh Bachchan says on his official blog, it’s a situation that cannot be altered now. “.. finances and other contractual obligations need consideration .. not just my films there are other artists too .. they also need to space out their films .. recovery of investment .. cannot take forever .. if the digital price is amicable then they go for it .. it is the future .. the option to release in theatres later always open .. that contained in the terms .. so yes in time there could be theatre release as well .. others wait for the results of digital release to make decisions on their films .. (sic)” he wrote on May 14.

Thankfully for multiplexes, none of the big-ticket extravaganzas starring reigning Bollywood superstars, their biggest revenue generators, have fallen for the OTT bait yet. Rohit Shetty’s multi-starrer Sooryavanshi featuring Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh along with Katrina Kaif, which was supposed to release on March 24, and Kabir Khan’s Ranveer Singh-starrer ’83, which was slated for April 10, have been put on hold indefinitely. Similarly, Salman Khan’s big-budget Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai, said to be based on Korean action-thriller The Outlaws, will not be released soon.

Showstoppers

Laal Singh Chaddha.

Meanwhile, speculation is rife that all these movies might be released directly on OTT platforms. There are also rumours about digital platforms offering astronomical sums to the makers of these films. The Radhe team, however, has denied that it was negotiating a deal worth Rs 250 crore with an OTT platform for the release of Salman’s next movie. ’83 director Kabir Khan too makes it clear that since his films are meant for a big-screen experience, he, along with other stakeholders, has decided to wait for the reopening of theatres. Filmmaker Karan Johar, whose Gunjan Saxena starring Janhvi Kapoor was slated for release on April 24, has cautioned the media against conjecturing about movies going directly to digital platforms. “My hugest request to my media friends not to reach any assumptions on our fraternity films … these are challenging times for the business and false news only makes the situation worse! Please wait for official news on any account!! This is a humble request (sic),” he tweeted.

Bollywood experts, however, believe that stars and filmmakers, howsoever big, cannot reverse the trend now. “The die is cast, but they remain in a denial mode. A few big studios with deep pockets may keep the release of their films on hold for a year or so, but what about small filmmakers who have borrowed money on steep interest rates? Can they afford to do that?” says a trade analyst on condition of anonymity.

Ajit Andhare, chief operating officer, Viacom18 Studios, says that the industry is in a crisis caused by an unprecedented situation. “Since it will take a while before normalcy and footfalls are restored, it is only reasonable for producers to unlock their investments through digital platforms,” he says. “This is more likely in the small-to-mid-film segments. Large films may or may not opt for these deals as their theatrical component is large and they can hold on for longer.”

Sooryavanshi.

Andhare claims that producers’ move to shift to OTT platforms should not be viewed as bypassing of theatres as they remain the most central component of the cinema value chain. “Normalcy will return. The only question is when,” he says.

It is this ‘when’ conundrum that is adding to filmmakers’ insecurities and driving them to OTT platforms. With the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases across the country—particularly in Mumbai, Hindi cinema’s biggest market—the prospects of theatres reopening soon look bleak. The lucrative overseas territory is also out of bounds, further aggravating filmmakers’ problems. Worse, there is no guarantee that the audience would flock to multiplexes immediately upon resumption of shows owing to fears of contagion and the need for social distancing.

All these factors have contributed to Bollywood’s gradual shift from theatres to OTT platforms. Already, there are talks about movies such as Varun Dhawan’s Coolie No. 1, Amitabh Bachchan’s Jhund, Janhvi Kapoor’s Gunjan Saxena and Rajkummar Rao’s Ludo going directly to OTT platforms in the weeks to come. Some say even Akshay Kumar’s Laxxmi Bomb might release soon on Disney-Hotstar. The pandemic has also cast a cloud on the timely release of many upcoming movies such as Aamir Khan’s Laal Singh Chaddha, Ranvir Kapoor’s Brahmastra and Alia Bhatt’s Gangubai Kathiawadi, which are all due later this year.

Interestingly, this is not a new phenomenon in Bollywood. Films like Rishi Kapoor’s Rajma Chawal (2018), Vicky Kaushal’s Love Per Square Foot (2018) and more recently, Sushant Singh Rajput’s Drive (2019) released directly on OTT platforms in the past without multiplexes batting an eyelid. Even in Hollywood, a movie as big as Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman (2019) followed the same digital route.

Industry watchers believe that all stakeholders in the Indian film industry—actors, filmmakers and exhibitors—will have to learn to live with the fact that the OTT platforms, a cheaper option than multiplexes, cannot simply be wished away. With penetration in about 4,000 towns in India and 200 other countries, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix etc are here to stay and might emerge as a game changer in the movie business. The film industry as a whole and multiplexes in particular should become attuned to this reality.


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UAE public sector holidays announced for Eid Al Adha 2020

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UAE public sector holidays announced for Eid Al Adha 2020

It’s an extra long weekend…

The public sector holiday dates have been announced for Eid Al Adha 2020. Employees in the public sector will enjoy an extra long weekend, starting from Thursday, July 30 to Sunday, August 2. Work will then resume on Monday, August 3.

According to Gulf News, The Federal Authority for Government Human Resources announced the Eid Al-Adha holidays for ministries and federal entities (the public sector) on July 22.

Update: On Thursday, July 23, it was announced that the private sector would also enjoy four days off for Eid Al Adha. These dates are also Thursday, July 30 to Sunday, August 2.

Eid Al Adha is expected to fall on July, 31, but it is dependent on sightings of the moon.

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What is Eid Al Adha?

According to tradition, Eid Al Adha is held to honour Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, after being instructed to do so by God. Prophet Ibrahim told his son of the dream, and the son then told his father to follow the order.

But God intervened, sending a sheep to take his sons place.

What are the remaining public holidays?

Eid Al Adha is the longest public holiday remaining in 2020, but there’s still a few more public holidays to come this year. The next one is Hijri, (Islamic New Year), which will be celebrated on Sunday August 23, which could mean an extra day off work.

Following that, the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday will be marked with a public holiday on Thursday October 29, 2020. December 1 marks Commemoration Day, formerly referred to as Martyr’s Day. It falls on a Tuesday in 2020, and combined with two days off for UAE National Day, will mean a five-day weekend.

UAE National Day, which in 2020, will mark the UAE’s 49th birthday. We’ll get two days off on Wednesday December 2 and Thursday December 3, so combined with Commemoration Day, will mean five days off for those that usually have Friday and Saturday as their weekend.

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ফেসবুক ও গুগলকে অর্থ দিতে হবে অস্ট্রেলিয়ার সংবাদের জন্য

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ফেসবুক ও গুগলকে অর্থ দিতে হবে অস্ট্রেলিয়ার সংবাদের জন্য

অস্ট্রেলিয়ার সংবাদ প্রকাশ করার জন্য দেশটির গণমাধ্যমকে অর্থ প্রদান করতে হতে পারে ফেসবুক ও গুগলকে। গণমাধ্যমের নিজস্বতা ও স্বাধীনতা রক্ষায় নতুন নীতি প্রণয়ন করতে চলেছে অস্ট্রেলিয়ার সরকার। এমনটা হলে যুক্তরাষ্ট্রের বাইরে ফেসবুক ও গুগলের রাজস্বের প্রথম ভাগীদার হতে চলেছে অস্ট্রেলিয়া। অস্ট্রেলীয় প্রতিযোগিতা এবং গ্রাহক কমিশনের (এসিসিসি) প্রকাশিত এক খসড়ায় আজ এ কথা বলা হয়। চলতি বছর নাগাদ এ নীতিমালা বাস্তবায়ি

 


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ফেসবুক ও গুগলকে অর্থ দিতে হবে অস্ট্রেলিয়ার সংবাদের জন্য

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A cashier-less store opens in Moscow

A cashier-less store opens in Moscow, allowing customers to shop using a virtual basket. Subscribe: http://smarturl.it/reuterssubscribe Reuters brings you the latest business, finance and breaking news video from around the globe. Our reputation for accuracy and impartiality is unparalleled. Get the latest news on: http://reuters.com/ Follow Reuters on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Reuters Follow Reuters on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Reuters Follow Reuters on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reuters/?hl=en


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সংবাদ পরিক্রমা । বুধবার, ১০ জুন ২০২০


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ফেসবুকে রাহুল আনন্দের ‘পাতাকাহিনি’

সামাজিক যোগাযোগমাধ্যম ফেসবুকে মিলেছে গানটি। অনেকেই শেয়ার করছেন। মায়াময় সুরের কিছু কলি, ‘একটা ডালে দুইটা পাতা/ মিল যে ছিলো বড়’। নতুন গান গাইলেন জলের গানের শিল্পী রাহুল আনন্দ। ‘পাতাকাহিনি’ নামের এ গানের সুরও তাঁরই করা। সম্প্রতি সামাজিক যোগাযোগমাধ্যম ফেসবুকে তাঁর আইডিতে তিনি নিজ কণ্ঠে গাওয়া এ গানের ভিডিও শেয়ার করেছেন। এ ছাড়া বেশ কয়েকটি লাইভ অনুষ্ঠানেও তিনি গানটি গেয়েছেন।… বিস্তারিত


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কুষ্টিয়ায় কোভিডে একজনের মৃত্যু, আক্রান্ত আরও ২৬ জন

কুষ্টিয়ায় আজ বুধবার ২৬ জনের শরীরে করোনাভাইরাসের সংক্রমণ শনাক্ত হয়েছে। এ নিয়ে জেলায় ১৭৯ জন করোনা রোগী শনাক্ত হলেন। এদিকে গতকাল মঙ্গলবার মারা যাওয়া এক বৃদ্ধের নমুনা পরীক্ষার পর জানা গেছে তিনি করোনাভাইরাসে সংক্রমিত ছিলেন। সিভিল সার্জন এইচ এম আনোয়ারুল ইসলাম বলেন, জেলায় পজিটিভ হয়ে এটাই প্রথম মৃত্যু। তাঁর পরিবারের অন্য সদস্যদের নমুনাও সংগ্রহ করা হবে। সিভিল সার্জন কার্যালয় সূত্রে জানা যায়, বুধবার… বিস্তারিত


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Tesla shares surge past $1,000 as Musk revs up the Semi

Tesla Inc’s stock jumped above $1,000 a share on Wednesday after Chief Executive Elon Musk told his staff it was time to bring the Tesla Semi commercial truck to “volume production.” Subscribe: http://smarturl.it/reuterssubscribe Reuters brings you the latest business, finance and breaking news video from around the globe. Our reputation for accuracy and impartiality is unparalleled. Get the latest news on: http://reuters.com/ Follow Reuters on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Reuters Follow Reuters on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Reuters Follow Reuters on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reuters/?hl=en


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করোনার পরীক্ষা করাতে এসে সংক্রমণের শঙ্কা


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বাজেটে গুরুত্ব পাবে স্বাস্থ্য ও যোগাযোগ খাত


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করোনা আপডেট | Corona Update @12am | 11 June 2020

Enjoy and stay connected with us: Subscribe to Jamuna Television on YouTube https://Youtube.com/jamunatvbd Like Jamuna Television on Facebook https://fb.com/JamunaTelevision Follow Jamuna Television on Twitter https://twitter.com/JamunaTV For More update visit https://www.jamuna.tv #JamunaTV #Jamuna_Television #Jamuna_News


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খুলনায় এক দিনে সর্বোচ্চ ৩১ জনের করোনা শনাক্ত

খুলনা জেলায় নতুন করে আরও ৩১ জনের শরীরে করোনাভাইরাসের সংক্রমণ শনাক্ত হয়েছে, যা এক দিনে সর্বোচ্চ শনাক্তের রেকর্ড। এ নিয়ে জেলায় কোভিড–১৯ রোগী শনাক্তের সংখ্যা দাঁড়িয়েছে ২৭২ জনে। স্বাস্থ্য বিভাগ সূত্রে জানা গেছে, প্রতিদিন খুলনায় করোনার সংক্রমণ বাড়ছে। ঈদের পর থেকে প্রতিদিনই ২০ জনের বেশি মানুষের করোনা শনাক্ত হচ্ছে। তবে আজ বুধবার শনাক্তের পরিমাণ সবচেয়ে বেশি। এদিন খুলনার পরীক্ষা করা নমুনার প্রায়… বিস্তারিত


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এবার ভিন্ন রূপে পর্দায় আসবেন রোশান || লাক্স ক্যাফে লাইভ


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