Indian Industry Discusses the Effect of Streamers on Films Post-COVID Era

At a Panel discussion on the last day of Film Bazaar in Goa, leading figures from the Indian entertainment sector discussed streaming platforms’ impact in the post-COVID-19 period.

Participating in the discussion were Shobha Sant, head of content alliances for films at billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Jio Studios, Lada Guruden Singh, GM and head of Sony Pictures International Productions India, Akshay Bardapurkar, founder of streamer Planet Marathi, and Prithul Kumar, joint secretary, films, at India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Sant pointed out, post-COVID among many flops was some Hindi-language films, including “Sooryavanshi” And “Gangubai Kathiawadi” Some have succeeded, while others have failed. Sant observed, however, that for every success that cinemas from south India enjoyed in 2022 there were many others that did not. Panelists agreed that hyperlocal themes are the best way to go.

“What audiences are telling us is that we need to celebrate the country, we need to celebrate the idea of India and we need to go back to the characters who are flesh and blood,” Singh agreed. Singh stated that the success of hit movies is no longer driven by star power, but are content-driven.

Singh spoke out about the possibility of making an Indian-language film in another Indian language. “It can’t be a remake, it has to be an adaptation, you have to bring in a local flavor.” Hindi-language’s current huge success “Drishyam 2,” An adaptation of the hit 2021 Malayalam language song of the same title was used as an example.

Bardapurkar stated that the cost of going to the movies is prohibitive and theaters should make it an enjoyable experience. “It’s all about building experience. What kind of experience you’re giving, is going to determine the next few years of watching because people have become choosy,” Bardapurkar claimed.

Kumar said that at the moment, there is no plan for government intervention in this sector. “It is the people’s choice where they watch their content,” Kumar said.

Singh said that, in summary: “Cinema is not going anywhere. Audiences are telling us to smarten up, which we’re trying to. And, if we just go by the sheer numbers that I believe less than 10% of the population actually goes to cinemas, we looking at huge potential out there.”

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