Over the past couple of months we have seen an increasing number of producers and directors opting for an OTT release of the projects, rather than a conventional theatrical release due to the continuing Covid-19 pandemic. However, filmmaker Vashu Bhagnani whose venture Coolie No. 1, starring Varun Dhawan and Sara Ali Khan, despite being completed a while back was only recently announced to be premiering on the video streaming platform Amazon Prime. Interestingly, unlike most filmmakers, Bhagnani was apparently keen on releasing the film on the big screens and was prepared to wait, however he was forced to opt for an OTT release instead.
Revealing the real reason why Vashu Bhagnani finally opted for an OTT release of the film a trade source informs us, “Vashu Bhagnani was very keen that the remake of his production Coolie No. 1 release on the big screen. In fact, he was prepared to wait till theatres resumed business as normal and even organized a video conference with theatres/ multiplex owners to display his interest in a theatrical release.” Continuing further the source reveals the details of this conference saying, “This video conference was not only to inform theatre owners of his plan for a theatrical release, but was also to settle release details, like show timings, number of shows and other such exhibition parameters.”
Apparently, the theatre owners were more than happy to provide Bhagnani the sole right to plan the exhibition of his venture Coolie No. 1, but they drew the line when the filmmaker requested a change in the parameters of OTT release. “Pre Covid-19 theatre owners would decide the number of shows and timing for any release, and filmmakers had little choice in this. Though filmmakers would request the exhibition to be done in a certain way, the final call was that of the theatre owners. Now for Bhagnani the theatre owners were ready to relent on this, but it was the Bhagnani’s next request that did not go down well with the theatre owners”, says the source. “Conventionally a film releases on OTT or satellite networks 60 days after its theatrical release. But given the current scenario Bhagnani requested the theatre owners that this rule be dropped. Instead, Bhagnani requested that if footfalls in theatres did not pick up over a four week period, he be granted the liberty to opt for an OTT release earlier”.
As per our source, the disapproval of the theatre owners on Bhagnani’s last two demands forced him to opt for an OTT release of the Varun Dhawan – Sara Ali Khan starrer Coolie No 1.
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