On Monday, Disney+ Hotstar announced the premiere of seven Bollywood biggies on its streamer. The list included Akshay Kumar starrer Laxmmi Bomb in which the actor plays the role of a trans woman. While audiences and Akshay fans, in particular, had mixed feelings towards the news, several others wondered if the actor had decided to opt for a direct digital release for all of his upcoming films.
Read: Disney+ Hotstar Announces The Direct Premiere Of Seven Films Over The Next Three Months
On Tuesday morning, Reliance Entertainment confirmed that their upcoming projects – Sooryavanshi and 83 will hit theatres first and will only then be available on digital platforms. While the former will hit screens for Diwali on November 13, the latter will hit the screens for Christmas on December 25.
BIGGG DEVELOPMENT… #Sooryavanshi and #83TheFilm to release in *theatres* first… Plans to release #Sooryavanshi in #Diwali and #83TheFilm in #Christmas *IN CINEMAS*. pic.twitter.com/RwqavCdRQj
— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) June 30, 2020
Sooryavanshi is helmed by Rohit Shetty and stars Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif in the lead roles. It is the fourth installment of Shetty’s ‘Police Universe’.
Reliance Entertainment and Rohit Shetty Picturez, in association with Dharma Productions and Cape of Good Films, is producing the film. While Gulshan Grover, Jackie Shroff, Abhimanyu Singh, and several others have landed prominent roles, Ajay Devgn and Ranveer Singh have made special appearances in the movie.
The action entertainer is about how Akshay’s character, DCP Veer Sooryavanshi, the chief of the Mumbai Anti-Terrorism Squad, saves Mumbai from an expected terrorist attack.
Earlier planned for a release on March 27, Sooryavanshi will now hit screens on November 13.
Ranveer Singh starrer 83, helmed by Kabir Khan has completed filming and most of its post-production activities.
The film about India’s first cricket World Cup victory also stars Deepika Padukone, Jiiva, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Saqib Saleem, Harrdy Sandhu, Ammy Virk, Pankaj Tripathi, Boman Irani, Nishant Dahiya, Sahil Khattar, and several others. Jointly produced by Kabir Khan, Vishnu Vardhan Induri, Madhu Mantena’s Phantom Films, Deepika Padukone, Sajid Nadiadwala, Reliance Entertainment and 83 Film Ltd, the movie was to release on April 10.
The makers have already denied rumours about the film’s release on OTT and said that it was meant to be witnessed on the big screen. They have confirmed the same again now.
83 will release in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu on December 25.
Speaking about the announcements, Reliance Entertainment CEO Shibasish Sarkar says, “We are releasing Sooryavanshi on November 13 and 83 on December 25 as festival specials. Our idea is to release the movies only after the situation returns to normalcy and audiences start coming to theatres. It’s our hope that the situation will be favourable by Diwali and Christmas. These are the first films to finalise their release dates after lockdown.”
Meanwhile, trade analyst Komal Nahta said that the announcement has been made by the production house under pressure from the exhibition sector owing to the direct to OTT announcements that happened yesterday. “The exhibition sector must’ve got the jitters and in a bid to show its strength, it must have sought the support of the producers of the two big films, who so far have maintained that the films are big-screen entertainment and that they would wait for normalcy to return rather than premiering them on any OTT platform,” he said.
He also added that the announcement about the release dates of two of the most awaited films coming before the finalisation of reopening dates of cinemas seemed out of place.