To Shilpa Jamakandigar
Mumbai, Nov. 5 (Reuters) – Bollywood stars have returned to the big screens in India for more than a year, hoping that the drop in Govt-19 cases and the festival season will take audiences back to the theaters.
“Suryavanshi” (Descendants of the Sun), a police drama, the first film starring four famous Bollywood actors to hit theaters since March 2020, was forced to close all theaters due to severe locking.
Since many producers want to release their movies on streaming sites like Amazon’s Prime Video, Netflix and Disney, no Bollywood movies have been released in theaters since then.
“It was hard to wait for the theatrical release, but we continue to hope that audiences will return to the theaters,” Shibashish Sarkar, CEO of Reliance Entertainment Group, told Reuters during the filming of the movie. “There are some movies you can’t watch at home”
The action drama “Suryavanshi” in the Bollywood tradition is traditionally a big day at the box office on Friday, the day after the Hindu festival of Deepavali, with dazzling dance scenes and strings blocking the villains.
Originally scheduled for March 2020, India was hit three times by waves of corona virus cases and authorities closed theaters in various parts of the country.
Maharashtra, India’s richest state, accounts for more than 30% of box office revenue, opening theaters with restrictions two weeks ago, dropping cases and increasing the number of vaccines.
Rajendra Singh Jayala, programming head of INOX, the country’s second-largest multiplex cinema chain, told Reuters that he expects demand to return to the pre-Kovit level.
However, the company has been consistently recording net losses since March 2020, and another wave of corona virus infections and any new shutdown could severely affect the industry already struggling, Jiala said.
“Producers have made money selling their films to Amazon and Netflix, but the real victims are the theater owners,” said Shylesh Kapoor of Armax Media, which monitors movies before and after release.
(Reporting by Shilpa Jamkandigar in Mumbai; Edited in Spanish by Ricardo Figueroa)
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