Hit hard by Covid-19 pandemic, film exhibitors worry over super stars opting for OTT release, Salman Khan had earlier put public safety over his film’s release.
By Mayur Lookhar
Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai
It’s been few months since film exhibitors were permitted to resume theatrical operations but with only 50 per cent capacity. However, despite the central and many state governments across the country issuing the order no marquee films have been released in cinema halls. Some big ticket Bollywood films have already been pushed to 2021, With no certainty around when they would release most producers have opted to take the safe route by premiering their films on Over-the-top networks. There’s been murmurs that super star Salman Khan’s upcoming release Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai (2021) might go the OTT route too. Various film exhibitors associations have now written to the actor requesting him to release the film in theatres on Eid in 2021.
In their letter, the various film exhibitors bodies have outlined the hardships faced by their ilk, especially the single screen theatres, loss of income, jobs across the sector. They’ve pointed out how adequate safety measures are in place in cinema halls, and as such no Covid-19 case has been traced to any cinema hall.
“Your film Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai – is among the few that are capable of resurrecting fortunes of independent/single screen cinemas across the country. A film like that if widely released, can give not just financial support and relief, but also a ray of hope to owners and employees of theatres in the context of their future. We request you to plan the film’s release at every cinema in the country on Eid 2021, as there cannot be a better Eidi than that for us film exhibitors and more importantly for millions of your fans, whom we cannot wait to welcome back at the theatres,” the statement read.
Noted film exhibitor Akshaye Rathi told Beyond Bollywood, “Films like Radhe are capable of giving a much needed boost to single screen cinemas across the country. The audience that comes to single screen cinemas enjoys mass entertainers and there are not more than a dozen odd that come by in these times. I truly hope the film releases as widely as possible to help cinema halls come out of their current state of crisis,”
While speaking to reporters recently outside his farmhouse in Panvel, Khan had downplayed his film’s release citing that people’s safety was important than anything now.
“Radhe will release when it is supposed too. [It will release] once the situation clears up. when there is a vaccine, and people return to theatres. [Also] people need to have enough money that they can afford entertainment,” Khan says, “We had committed to releasing it on Eid last year, now we are hoping [it releases] this year. We will see if it releases. But that is not important. What’s important is that if we release it in theatres, people are safe. We don’t want any tragedy. It’s important that we plan everything successfully.”
The actor has also begun shooting for Antim – The Final Truth where he shares the screenspace with his brother-in-law Aayush Sharma. Read the full statement signed by various film exhibitors bodies below.