Hindi-language dramatic comedy “Gulabo Sitabo,” starring veteran Amitabh Bachchan (“Piku”) and hot Bollywood A-lister Ayushmann Khurrana (“Andhadhun”), will release directly on Amazon Prime Video worldwide on June 12. The film’s theatrical release in April was scuppered by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“At Amazon we’re listening to our customers, and working backwards from there.” said Vijay Subramaniam, director and head, content, Amazon Prime Video, India. “’Gulabo Sitabo’ is one of the most anticipated films of the year. It is the first step in our endeavour to bring superior cinematic experiences to our customer’s doorstep.”
The film’s director Shoojit Sircar described the decision to premiere directly on Amazon as “the dawn of a new era for Indian entertainment.”
The move to OTT is the new normal for India as cinemas remain shuttered and the future remains uncertain. Revenues are poised to fall because of continuing social distancing regulations coupled with audience anxiety about returning to enclosed public spaces. “Laxmmi Bomb,” starring Bollywood’s prolific Akshay Kumar is likely to premiere directly on the Disney Plus Hotstar service in June, in an acquisition reportedly worth $13 million. Disney did not respond to questions about the deal.
Similarly, Netflix has reportedly acquired “Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl,” starring Janhvi Kapoor (“Dhadak”), and “Khaali Peeli,” starring Ishaan Khattar (“Beyond the Clouds”), and taken over the production of an untitled superhero film starring Katrina Kaif (“Bharat”). When contacted, Netflix declined to comment.
Another big ticket Bollywood acquisition expected to release directly on Amazon is Vidya Balan-starrer “Shakuntala Devi.”
“This family entertainer has the power to cut across geographic boundaries and we are pleased to bring ‘Gulabo Sitabo’ to audiences across the globe,” said Bachchan. He also called it “a must watch for families at home.”