Amazon on Friday announced that six Indian films across multiple Indian languages would make its global premiere on Amazon Prime Video in the next three months. The e-commerce giant on Thursday announced that Gulabo Sitabo featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana would make its global premiere on June 12 on Prime Video. In a separate release on Friday, Amazon announced that six Indian movies across five languages would premiere directly on its streaming service. The movies include Shakuntala Devi, a biographical drama on the life of Shakuntala Devi who is known to be a pioneer in the field of mathematics and is called a “human computer.” Shakuntala Devi features Vidya Balan and the movie is directed by Anu Menon. Amazon said that the seven movies would be available in 200 countries across the world including India. However, the announcement has evoked mixed response with the multiplex owners including Inox conveying “extreme displeasure and disappointment.” Meanwhile, the Producers Guild of India without naming Inox said that it was disappointed “to see abrasive and unconstructive messaging from some of our colleagues in the exhibition sector.”
Ponmagal Vandhal, Penguin and French Biryani Among Seven Titles to Stream on Amazon Prime Video
Ponmagal Vandhal, a Tamil film starring Jyothika, Parthiban and Bhagyaraj will be the first film to make its global premiere on May 29. The movie is produced by Jyothika’s husband Suriya who made his Hindi debut in Rakht Charitra 2. Ponmagal Vandhal was earlier set to release on Amazon Prime in early May, however, Tamil Nadu Theatre And Multiplex Owners Association strongly objected to the decision. Panneer Selvam, general secretary of Tamil Nadu Theatre And Multiplex Owners Association said that the association decided to not release movies involving Suriya or his home banner 2D Entertainment.
“At Prime Video we believe in listening to what our consumers want and working backwards from there. This belief is the genesis of our latest offering,” Vijay Subramaniam, director and head of Content at Amazon Prime Video, said in the release.
Gulabo Sitabo will be the second movie to make its global premiere on Amazon Prime Video on June 12, followed by Tamil-Telugu movie Penguin on June 19. Penguin features Keerthy Suresh and is directed by Eshavar Karthic.
“Over the last 2 years, Prime Video has become the destination of choice for our customers to watch new releases, across the languages, within weeks of their theatrical release,” Subramaniam said. “Now we’re taking this one step further, with seven of India’s most-anticipated films premiering exclusively on Prime Video, bringing the cinematic experience to their doorstep.”
Law, a Kannada movie featuring Ragini Chandran, Siri Prahlad and Mukhyamantri Chandru will premiere on June 26. Another Kannada film, French Biryani featuring Danish Sait, Sal Yusuf and Pitobash will debut on July 24.
“Indian audiences have been eagerly awaiting the release of these 7 highly anticipated films and we are delighted that Amazon Prime Video will now be premiering these movies for our customers - who can enjoy watching these from the safety & comfort of their homes and on a screen of their choice,” Gaurav Gandhi, director and country general manager of Amazon Prime Video India, said in the release.
Further, Sufiyum Sujatayum, a Malayalam film featuring Aditi Rao Hydari and Jayasuruya along with Shakuntala Devi are expected to release in August.
“Prime Video with its deep penetration in India, with viewership across over 4000 Towns and Cities, and its world-wide reach in more than 200 countries and territories, will give a large global release footprint to these films,” Gandhi said.
Multiplex Owners and Producers Guild of India Exchange Words on OTT Release
Following Amazon’s initial announcement of Gulabo Sitabo heading to its streaming service, INOX on Thursday warned of “retributive measures.” Without naming Gulabo Sitabo, Inox said that the move from the production house was “alarming and disconcerting.”
"The move by a production house to release their movie directly on OTT platform by skipping the theatrical window run and deviating from the globally prevalent content windowing practice is alarming and disconcerting," Inox said in a statement. “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."
Similarly, PVR on Friday said that it was disappointed with some of the producers opting to go straight for streaming platforms.
“We are disappointed wid some of our Producers deciding to go straight to streaming platforms [sic],” Kamal Gianchandani, CEO of PVR, said in a release. “We were hoping that the Producers would accede to our request to hold back their film’s release till cinemas reopen.”
Meanwhile, the Producers Guild of India in a statement on Friday said that the production sector is already suffering huge losses due to shutdown of its elaborate sets coupled with mounting interest costs.
“Given this combination of factors, it is only natural that producers who have already invested heavily in their films with theatrical revenue assumptions that are no longer feasible, will seek out all avenues available to recover their investment and to stay in business,” Producers Guild of India, said in the statement.