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Shoojit Sircar says he is open to a digital-only release of Gulabo Sitabo

The filmmaker's statement came after reports of an impending online-only release for the Akshay Kumar-starrer, Laxmmi Bomb.

Our Correspondent

The coronavirus pandemic and the resultant lockdown in many parts of the globe has resulted in a collapse of theatrical revenues. This might be further affected with producers and directors now willing to consider exclusively online releases for their projects instead of delayed theatrical ones. Director Shoojit Sircar recently spoke about 'being open' to an online-only release of his upcoming project, Gulabo Sitabo. 

Speaking to the Mumbai Mirror newspaper, Sircar said, "As a filmmaker, I would want to see my film open in theatres, but the situation today is unlike anything anyone had ever experienced. So, I'm open to a digital release if need be, but we will take a decision after 3 May."

Gulabo Sitabo, featuring Ayushmann Khurrana and Amitabh Bachchan, was set to be released on 17 April, but has had to be indefinitely delayed owing to the countrywide lockdown. The film marks Sircar's reunion with Khurrana eight years after Vicky Donor (2012), the actor's debut film.

The lockdown has also affected the post-production work on Sircar's next film, Sardar Udham Singh. That film, featuring Vicky Kaushal, has been moved to 2021 following the delays caused by the pandemic.

The disruption of schedules by the lockdown has led to several filmmakers considering a direct release on OTT platforms. The most recent example is the Tamil film, Pon Magal Vandhal, starring Jyotika, which is set to be released on Amazon Prime Video. 

Similarly, reports suggest the Akshay Kumar-starrer, Laxmmi Bomb, is heading for a direct release on the Disney+Hotstar OTT platform. Featuring Akshay Kumar and Kiara Advani, the film is a remake of the Tamil thriller, Muni 2: Kanchana (2011). Directed by Raghava Lawrence, the film was due to be released in theatres on 5 June.

However, with some major blockbusters moving their release dates, the makers are contemplating a direct release on an OTT platform. Earlier this week, the tabloid MId-Day quoted a source suggesting that talks with digital entertainment platforms have been initiated, with Hotstar+Disney ahead in terms of procuring rights for the release.

The report said, "Akshay Kumar wants to make sure none of the invested parties makes losses and that the movie reaches a wide audience. While Disney+Hotstar ensures a worldwide reach, making the film available across small towns in India will be a concern for them."

The nationwide lockdown is currently in place till 3 May.

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