2018 witnessed the release of a record-breaking, over 200 Kannada movies. Despite stiff competition from other language movies releasing in the state, the regional film industry has managed to survive pretty well. However, the lack of theatres, with single screens drastically reducing to single digits across the state, have driven film producers to exploring novel ways to compensate for their losses. They are now turning to television and online streaming.
So if you’re wondering about the latest movie that’d soon premiere on television or your favourite over-the-top (OTT) service provider, Bengaluru Chronicle has some answers.
Releasing on the small screen
“There were certain self-imposed rules by both television and the film industry when it came to broadcasting movies. Producers earning through satellite rights were considered one of the major factors, but they came with their own conditions, such as restricting telecast until the movies ran for a certain period in the theatres,” says producer Rockline Venkatesh.
Recent blockbuster movies including Natasaarvabhowma, Bell Bottom and Ambi Ninge Vayassaytho had hit small screens while they were still being screened in theatres. The Ganesh-starrer 99 was also already available on an OTT even before its theatrical release. The latest to join the list is Yogaraj Bhat’s Panchatantra. Released in April, Panchatantra is now set for its television premiere on Zee Kannada on 23 June at 3 pm.
Director Praveen has an explanation. “Lack of theatres has hurt the film industry. Apart from big-budget and star-hero films, there are no guaranteed assurances from theatre owners to keep films running despite them doing well, with positive responses from both critics and film-goers. Finally, it’s all about economics, and hence, the producers strike a deal, allowing for release on alternative platforms including television,” he says.
Recently, senior actor Navarasa Nayaka Jaggesh, who’s furious with the present conditions of single screen theatres, had announced that he won’t take on more ‘experimental’ ventures. “There’re no proper facilities in such theatres. Why will the audience pay for tickets to watch a favourite actor when there are no proper seats, toilet and other basic facilities in the theatres? Also, there is no positive gain from such setups. What’s worse, they charge rents from producers,” says Jaggesh.
The industry men sum up, saying that unless the quality of movie-making and facilities at the theatres screening it improve, releasing movies as done until now will no longer make business sense....