The Indian entertainment industry celebrates National Cinema Day today, and to mark the occasion ticket prices across most parts of the country in the multiplexes have been cut down to just Rs 75. The intention is not only to celebrate the film industry which undoubtedly is one of the biggest in the world, but also to woo back the audience to the theaters.
The onset of COVID 19 broke the spine of the film industry
When the Corona pandemic hit the world, many big movies like Sooryavanshi, 83, and more were on the verge of release. Producers had invested a large amount of money in such films. Those who could afford to hold on to the release waited for almost two years for their theatrical release.
However, many other films like Salman Khan’s Radhe and Antim: The Final Truth or Abhishek Bachchan’s Bob Biswas had to be released on OTT platforms.
Work had stopped completely as a result of which the working class of the film industry suffered badly. From technicians, and background dancers to spot boys, hair stylists, makeup men, and all those who work on daily wages suffered from the financial crisis.
Big stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Rohit Shetty, Salman Khan, and many others offered help but that was not enough. The impact was so huge that many producers simply shelved their ventures while there were hundreds who turned their back on the film industry and started working in an altogether different field.
The death of Sushant Singh Rajput worked like a stigma
SSR’s suspicious death, his alleged association with drugs, and reportedly Rhea Chakraborty’s involvement in drugs brought all the big investigative agencies together. For the first time, people got to know the names of NCB or ED apart from CBI.
The tragic death of the 'Kedarnath' actor instigated a huge hatred among common people for star kids and nepotism and they started boycotting movies led by these young kids of stars or those associated with established B-town families.
Names of Ananya Panday, Aryan Khan, Deepika Padukone, Sara Ali Khan, Shraddha Kapoor, and many others came forward during the investigation related to drug trafficking and it was quite a tough period for the Bollywood stars as well as for the entire film fraternity as a whole.
While movies like The Kashmir Files, and Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 did very well at the box office, the boycott trend affected the fate of some highly hyped films like Akshay’s Prithviraj, Ranbir Kapoor’s Shamshera, Ranveer Singh’s 83 and Jayesbhai Jordaar, and Shahid Kapoor’s Jersey.
OTT continues to keep the audience divided
While earlier movie buffs had to wait for months or even years together for a big hit to come on television now such films start streaming on leading OTT channels within a few months from their theatrical release. That is why people are happy to wait for the movie to start streaming on OTT as the annual subscriptions for these channels are much lesser than the ticket prices of the multiplexes.
Secondly, OTT offers a plethora of entertainment options and content so the audience now has a wide range of choices. Importantly, they are not forced to watch the content that is streaming on the screen because they can always change it and watch it as per their choice and time availability. That is not the case with watching movies in theaters.
So, as India celebrates it's National Cinema Day 2022, the need of the hour is to think of different ways of encouraging the audience back to the theaters keeping in mind that 'content is the king', and mere slashing of ticket prices is not going to be enough.