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Exhibitors angered as Gulabo Sitabo goes for a digital release

The multiplex chain Inox put out a strong statement against the decision of some filmmakers to move their projects to OTT platforms in the lockdown.

Our Correspondent

Inox Leisure Limited put out a strong statement yesterday against filmmakers choosing to release their projects directly on OTT (over-the-top) platforms during the lockdown.

The multiplex chain released its statement on social media after the decision of the makers of Gulabo Sitabo (2020) to release the film directly on Amazon Prime Video. Gulabo Sitabo stars Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana.

The statement by Inox Leisure read: "Inox would like to express extreme displeasure and disappointment on an announcement made by a production house today to release their movie directly on an OTT platform by skipping the theatrical window run. The decision of the production house to deviate from the globally prevalent content windowing practice is alarming and disconcerting."

The statement also warned that the theatre chain might consider 'retributive action' against such decisions. It said, "Such acts, though isolated, vitiate the atmosphere of mutual partnership and paint these content producers as fair-weather friends rather than all-weather life-long partners. Needless to say, Inox will be constrained to examine its options, and reserves all rights, including taking retributive measures, in dealing with such fair-weather friends."

It further warned other content creators not to follow the same route. "Inox would like to reiterate that as the backbone of the cinematic value chain, this windowing pattern has done wonders in terms of revenue for the content creators and all other stakeholders, as it offers them the opportunity to extract the best from all available mediums, which include cinemas, OTT platforms as well as satellite,” the statement said.

Separately, Kamal Gianchandani, head of PVR Cinemas, told the Indian Express newspaper: "We are disappointed with Gulabo Sitabo’s decision to go straight to a streaming platform. We were hoping that the producers would accede to our request to hold back their film’s release till cinemas reopened."

After Gulabo Sitabo, the Vidya Balan-starrer Shakuntala Devi (2020), produced by Sony Pictures Network and Abundantia Entertainment, has also moved to Amazon Prime Video.

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