While the coronavirus-imposed lockdown has been a threat to several industries and workers, it has proved beneficial to a section of the film industry. Filmmakers who were struggling to screen their films in theatres are now turning to OTT platforms for their exhibition, booking profits while also garnering worldwide reach. While streamers like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Zee5 have gone on to release several films from different industries, some of the other platforms are yet to take the plunge.
Disney+ Hotstar announced on Monday that it will be releasing seven Bollywood films directly on the streamer, through a live chat. The ‘Bollywood Ki Home Delivery’ as it was called, saw the likes of Abhishek Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Alia Bhatt, Ajay Devgn with Uday Shankar, President, The Walt Disney Co, and Chairman, Star and Disney India, moderated by Varun Dhawan. The stars launched the Disney+ Hotstar Multiplex by clapping their clapperboards.
The First Day First Show rush is back again with #DisneyPlusHotstarMultiplex! Subscribe to Disney+Hotstar VIP and enjoy the latest Bollywood blockbusters with your entire family, all you have to do is pick the best seat in the house! pic.twitter.com/PVOnk4VqI7
— Disney+HotstarVIP (@DisneyplusHSVIP) June 29, 2020
The stars also went on to reveal that Raghava Lawrence‘s Laxmmi Bomb, Abhishek Dudhaiya‘s Bhuj: The Pride of India, Kookie Gulati’s The Big Bull, Mukesh Chhabra‘s Dil Bechara, Mahesh Bhatt‘s Sadak 2, Rajesh Krishnan’s Lootcase, and Faruk Kabir’s Khuda Haafiz will be hitting the platform directly. It is noteworthy that most of the films on the list were among the bigger releases of the year.
Akshay Kumar’s Laxmmi Bomb, helmed by director Raghava Lawrence is currently in the post-production stage and will hit the platform directly. Though rumours were rife about the film directly hitting OTT in April itself, the official confirmation is out now.
Kiara Advani is paired opposite Akshay in Laxmmi Bomb, marking the second association of the duo after Good Newwz. Fox Star Studios is presenting the film with Cape of Good Films, Shabinaa Entertainment, and Tusshar Entertainment House bankrolling the film.
It is the Hindi remake of the 2011 Tamil horror Muni 2: Kanchana that was also helmed by Raghava Lawrence. The original starred the director along with Sarathkumar, Raai Laxmi, Kovai Sarala, Devadarshini, and Sriman. It was the story of a trans woman’s spirit that enters the character played by Raghava Lawrence’s body to seek revenge for being killed mercilessly over a land-grab issue.
Bhuj: The Pride of India
Ajay Devgn’s Bhuj: The Pride of India is directed by debutant Abhishek Dudhaiya and is about squadron leader Vijay Karnik, who was in charge of the Bhuj airbase in Gujarat during the Indo-Pak war of 1971. Karnik, along with 50 air force and 60 DSC personnel, survived bombing from Pakistan to keep the Bhuj airbase operational during the war.
The film will see Sanjay Dutt, Sonakshi Sinha, Nora Fatehi, Sharad Kelkar, Ammy Virk, and Pranitha Subhash in important roles too. Bankrolled by Gulshan Kumar, T Series, Select Media Holdings LLP, and Abhishek Dudhaiya himself, the film will stream on the platform soon.
The Big Bull: The Man Who Sold Dreams To India
Abhishek Bachchan starrer The Big Bull: The Man Who Sold Dreams To India deals with the real-life events that shook the country’s stock market between 1990 and 2000. The man behind the financial crime was Harshad Mehta, and the film focuses on his financial crimes.
The film helmed by Kookie Gulati also stars Ileana D’Cruz, Nikita Dutta, and Soham Shah in important roles. It is being produced by Ajay Devgn for Ajay Devgn Films and Anand Pandit for Anand Pandit Motion Pictures and co-produced by Kumar Mangat Pathak and Vikrant Sharma.
The Big Bull began filming in September 2019 and was scheduled to release on 23 October of the year. Now the film will be directly premiering on the OTT.
Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput‘s Dil Bechara will hit Disney+ Hotstar VIP on July 24 for both subscribers and non-subscribers in memory of the late actor. Sanjana Sanghi is paired opposite the actor in the romantic drama.
Helmed by renowned casting director Mukesh Chhabra, the film is the official remake of Hollywood romantic drama The Fault In Our Stars. Originally based on John Green’s novel of the same name, Shashank Khaitan and Suprotim Sengupta have adapted it for Indian audiences. Dil Bechara is being bankrolled by Fox Star Studios.
The film also stars Swastika Mukherjee, Sahil Vaid, Saswata Chatterjee, Saif Ali Khan, Milind Gunaji, and Javed Jaffrey in important roles. AR Rahman has composed for the film with Amitabh Bhattacharya on the lyrics. Satyajit Pande has cranked the camera and Deepa Bhatia is on the edit.
Earlier titled Kizie Aur Manny, the film was to hit the screens on 8 May 2020 after several postponements. Unfortunately, the release was further delayed because of the nationwide lockdown.
Sadak 2: The Road To Love
Alia Bhatt and Aditya Roy Kapur starrer Sadak 2: The Road To Love helmed by Mahesh Bhatt is the sequel to the director’s 1991 Sadak. The stars of the original film, Sanjay Dutt and Pooja Bhatt, will also be a part of the sequel which is being bankrolled by Mukesh Bhatt under their banner Vishesh Films and by Fox Star Studios. Sadak 2 also marks Mahesh Bhatt’s return as a director after 20 years.
The film reportedly revolves around love, loss, and redemption. Alia’s character will embark on a journey with Sanjay Dutt’s character to expose a fake godman in the film. Apart from the lead, Jisshu Sengupta, Gulshan Grover, and several others have landed a significant role in the film.
The film was earlier to hit screens in March and was then pushed to July due to the nationwide lockdown. The film will now directly premiere on the OTT.
Kunal Kemmu’s Lootcase helmed by Rajesh Krishnan revolves around a red suitcase. The comedy-drama has been bankrolled by Fox Star Studios along with Soda Films. It stars Rasika Dugal opposite Kunal with Vijay Raaz and Ranvir Shorey in supporting roles.
Lootcase will also see Sumit Nijhawan and Gajraj Rao in important roles in the film. The film was to hit screens in April but was postponed due to the lockdown.
Vidyut Jammwal starrer Khuda Haafiz helmed by Faruk Kabir is an action entertainer based on real events. Kumar Mangat Pathak and Abhishek Pathak are bankrolling the film under the Panorama Studios International banner with Sanjeev Joshi and Aditya Chowksey co-producing it.
The film also stars Shivaleeka Oberoi, Annu Kapoor, Shiv Panditt, and Aahana Kumara in important roles. The film that was supposed to hit screens in 2020 will now hit the OTTplatform directly.
According to a report in The Asian Age, the announcement was to be made on June 16 but was later postponed owing to the sudden demise of Sushant Singh Rajput. The streamer reportedly singled out the announcement of the direct premiere of the late actor’s Dil Bechara to honour the talent.
Owing to the ongoing debate aroud nepotism following Sushant’s demise, some sections of fans aren’t very welcoming of these films.
— Life Is Beautiful (@LifeIsB59662109) June 29, 2020
If Disney+Hotstar is going to release #AliaBhatt movies or any starkid movies, I will be uninstalling this app as well. I don’t care abt the premium services I paid for. Not interested to watch nepokids.#BoycottBollywoodNepotism #BoycottKaranJoharGang #DisneyPlusHotstarMultiplex
— Swairik Das (@swairikdas) June 29, 2020
They are already supporting lets #BoycottDisneyPlusHotstar #SushantSinghRajput we will miss you its been more than two weeks and we still feel the pain , pain which u would have gone throu. #boycottaliabhatt #boycottmaheshbhatt
— JusticeforSSR (@ssr_justicefor) June 29, 2020
Further, actors Kunal Kemmu, Vidyut Jammwal, and Shivaleeka Oberoi also expressed their displeasure at how they weren’t invited for the live video conference despite their films being on the list of releases.
Izzat aur pyaar maanga nahi kamaya jaata hai. Koi na de toh usse hum chhote nahi hote. Bas maidaan khelne ke liye barabar de do chhalaang hum bhi oonchi laga sakte hai 🙏
— kunal kemmu (@kunalkemmu) June 29, 2020
A BIG announcement for sure!!
7 films scheduled for release but only 5 are deemed worthy of representation. 2 films, receive no invitation or intimation. It’s a long road ahead. THE CYCLE CONTINUES https://t.co/rWfHBy2d77
— Vidyut Jammwal (@VidyutJammwal) June 29, 2020
These days, you get to know about your OWN film’s announcements on the internet! Which is going to be announced by other actors and not the film’s actors!
Nothing has changed and nothing will change!
— Shivaleeka Oberoi (@ShivaleekaO) June 29, 2020
Last month, Amazon Prime Video announced the direct premiere of seven films from various industries on the platform, skipping theatrical release.
Apart from Amazon Prime Video, makers of several films have also been releasing their films on Zee5 and Netflix directly. These include Pushpendra Nath Misra‘s Ghoomketu, Gayathri Raguram‘s Yaadhumaagi Nindraai, Megha Ramaswamy’s What Are The Odds? and, Ravikanth Perepu‘s Krishna and His Leela.