Sunday, March 26

1st Bengali film to go for online premiere during lockdown

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Bengal is catching up on Bollywood’s latest trend of OTT-first releases. The latest big development in the OTT-versus-theatre release debate is the announcement that Debesh Chatterjee is releasing online his forthcoming Bengali movie meant for theatre release. This is the first Bengali movie to opt for OTT release during lockdown with Chatterjee agreeing to a profit-sharing model.
Joining the league of Shoojit Sircar’s Amitabh Bachchan- and Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer ‘Gulabo Sitabo’ and Vidya Balan-, Jisshu Sengupta-starrer ‘Shakuntala Devi’ that are going for OTT-first release is Chatterjee’s ‘Iye: The Other’. Chatterjee’s film is about a man, a woman and a vagabond. While the man scrutinises Kolkata in search of a number, the woman stifled by the monotony of her life searches for change. The vagabond explores new countries in known lanes of this city. ‘Iye’ is about the meeting of these three strangers with three tales of hope. “Made in 2018, the film stars Debshankar Halder, Nitya Ganguly and Arpita Ghosh and was screened at the Berlin Film Market. This was Arpita’s film debut too. The film was shown at various festivals thereafter,” said Chatterjee said. Last year, it was certified for a theatre release.

Chatterjee had decided to release the movie in theatres this month. “My film doesn’t fall under the so-called commercial bracket. Releasing it online now would guarantee a viewership among niche audience. It will be released this week on a new Bengali OTT platform called MyCinemaHall. It is a pay per view option where 70% stakes are mine,” Chatterjee added.

Yaatric Chakrabratory, who helms the app, said: “We are in talks with other independent directors as well to release their unreleased movies on OTT during lockdown,” Chakraborty said.

Meanwhile, Mahendra Soni, the co-founder director of Bengali OTT platform Hoichoi, said, “Decision will be taken depending on the evolving situation and financial impact. We are not going to release straight on OTT just because it’s a trend. If we see that we have a good business case, then why not?”

Rajiv Mehra, who helms another Bengali OTT platform called Addatimes, has already had a word with two independent film directors in Bengal. “We will make an announcement shortly,” said Mehra, adding that he is facing severe opposition in Bengal from distributors for attempting to popularize the OTT-first trend in Tollywood. “However, I think this is a great option for medium budget movies that fail to recover their investment from theatrical release. Sale of satellite rights of feature films is uncertain these days. We are offering a price that will recover 50% of a film’s production budget. In addition, we are also allowing producers to sell the same movie again in other digital platforms after a year,” Mehra said.


Source: Times of India

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