It was waiting to happen. And it has happened. The non-national multiplexes and single-screen cinemas have broken free from the “dictates of the national multiplex chains” and released Khaali Peeli. While cinemas in Delhi-U.P. released the Zee Studios production venture today (24th November), it had released in other circuits on Friday, 20th November.
Khaali Peeli, for those who came in late, was premiered by the producers on ZeePlex on 2nd October. After cinemas reopened, Zee Studios offered the film to cinemas but the Multiplex Association of India (MAI) declined the offer as it declined all other films premiered on OTT platforms during the pandemic lockdown. The MAI’s position was clear: its members were not going to screen any film which had bypassed the cinema platform and gone the OTT route. Therefore, multiplexes made it clear that they would not release Gulabo Sitabo, Dil Bechara, Shakunatala Devi, Sadak 2, Khuda Haafiz, Lootcase, Yaara, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, Ginny Weds Sunny, Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare, Mee Raqsam, My Client’s Wife, Raat Akeli Hai and Khaali Peeli as they had all been streamed on OTT platforms. The same rule would apply, the MAI said, to those films which had been committed for premieres on streaming platforms but had yet to release, and these included the since-released Laxmii, Ludo and Chhalaang, besides the ones to release, like Bhuj: The Pride Of India, The Big Bull and some others.
The MAI’s position was clear: its members were not going to screen any film which had bypassed the cinema platform and gone the OTT route.
However, tension was brewing among the non-national multiplexes and single-screen cinemas, which were more than ready to screen the streamed films. For such cinemas, it was a question of survival as they don’t have as deep pockets as the national multiplex chains. After reopening, non-national multiplexes and single-screen cinemas have been facing a shortage of playing programmes and, therefore, footfalls — just as national multiplex chains have been. It has been amply proved in the last month-and-a-half that the public is not willing to visit cinemas for repeat-run films. The only new films which have opened in cinemas after their reopening are Sir, Trolls World Tour (English and Hindi dubbed) and Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari.
Tension was brewing among the non-national multiplexes and single-screen cinemas, which were more than ready to screen the streamed films.
The non-national multiplexes and single-screen cinemas have been resentful of the fact that producers have been negotiating and holding discussions with only the MAI when the views of the MAI are reflective of just the national multiplex chains. At first, there were murmurs of resentment but then non-national multiplexes, many of who are members of the MAI, as well as single-screen cinemas started to send feelers to producers that they were ready to screen films which were streaming on OTT platforms. Rather than shut down again because of lack of footfalls, such cinemas thought it more constructive to aim for more public by releasing films which had been premiered on OTT platforms during the lockdown as they would be fresh content for the cinema-going public. Laxmii was pirated by exhibitors of small centres but the cinemas which don’t encourage piracy in any form, decided to officially negotiate with Zee Studios for Khaali Peeli. The release of the Ishaan Khatter and Ananya Pandey starrer in cinemas now is a result of all those negotiations.
LAXMII was pirated by exhibitors of small centres
but the cinemas which don’t encourage piracy in any form, decided to officially negotiate with Zee Studios for KHAALI PEELI.
Information has been warning in its write-ups and videos (on Komal Nahta Official YouTube channel) that a split in the exhibition sector was inevitable. And that’s exactly what has happened with the release of Khaali Peeli in non-national multiplexes and single-screen cinemas. The exhibition sector is now divided into two: the national multiplex chains which are not screening the OTT-premiered films, and the non-national multiplexes and singles-screen cinemas which are screening those films.
INFORMATION has been warning in its write-ups and videos (on KOMAL NAHTA OFFICIAL YouTube channel) that a split in the exhibition sector was inevitable.