It is not surprising to see the Rs 180 billion Indian film industry going through the worst phase of the decade. Halting of various TV serials and web series, big movie releases of favorite actors and actresses postponed, theatres filled with empty seats and deserted, and most importantly, daily wage cinema workers like technicians, background dancers all struggling for payments.
Well, coronavirus has come and wreaked huge havoc. The COVID pandemic’s impact is still being evaluated, but one still doubts whether the Indian film industry will be able to cope with it. Various cinema news updates clearly state that it is a slim chance for the Indian film industry to recover within months. Most probably, it might take even a year or two to get back on track.
COVID-19 Impact On Big Releases
The coronavirus’s first impact came when Reliance Entertainment decided to postpone the release of its much waiting blockbuster movie “Sooryavanshi.” Planned to release the movie on March 12th, the film starring Katrina Kaif and Akshay Kumar is still in doubt when it can be telecasted or shown to the general public.
Not only “Sooryavanshi,” but other blockbuster movies like “Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar,” “Sir,” “Haathi Mere Sathi,” and “83” are also postponed too. Unluckily those films that released just before the COVID-19 pandemic like “Baaghi 3” saw very few takers, and even Irrfan Khan’s last movie “Angrezi Medium” had to be pulled out of the theaters.
Certain movies and the ones that have been shown in the theaters released on the OTT platforms like Disney+Hotstar. In the same way, various big releases in other regional languages are also getting delayed.
Halting Of Cinema & Movie Making Work
No doubt, the rippling effect of the coronavirus was felt when film bodies like FWICE (Federation of Western Indian Cine Employees) and IFTDA (Indian Film & Television Director’s Association) halted the shooting of the current TV shows, movies, and web series.
Even major production houses like Yash Raj Films, Dharma Productions, and Balaji Motion Pictures have called off their production activity for the time being. Besides this, many state governments have strictly prohibited the screening of movies and issued notices to close down cinema halls. Sadly, the announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24th for a month-long national lockdown sealed the fate of the Indian film fraternity.
Shares Plunged & Down Ridden
As per various cinema news updates, the shares of Indian’s largest multiplex operators INOX Leisure and PVR, have dropped down drastically to about 40 percent. This is an all-time low for both of these multiplexes, and somewhat it is forecasted that the decline would lead to an increase in the reduction of 50 percent of visitors coming to watch movies, advertising revenue, ticket sales, food, and beverages sales, etc.
Besides, there is a huge amount of fear among theater owners that in the future, they would have to take drastic steps like recording the names and addresses of the customers, check their temperature, and make sure that proper sanitization is followed and usage of face masks. The latest cinema news updates even clearly state that the necessity of social distancing would downgrade audiences’ experience and lead to increasing the cost.
It won’t hit top-grossing directors and actors as they can tap down to their savings to get out of this downturn. However, it would be a great blow for the ten thousand common workers who won’t get paid for their projects. Movie extras like stagehands, backup dancers, technicians, associate directors, etc., would end up in the unemployed or unpaid bracket.
According to the news provided in the cinema news updates online, many producers have openly accepted that the situation is really troublesome and bad. It hits not only the currently stalled films but also future projects, too, for which dates and budgets have been planned. It is like being in a statue mode where everything is idle.
Veterans of the film industry feel that this is just the beginning, and the steepest slum is right around the corner for this year. This will be affecting all the cinema industry of north, south, west, etc. One can only calculate the extent of losses after the epidemic is reduced or completely over. But it is still late to say when the normalcy will return.
Digital Platform To The Rescue
Currently, as per the latest cinema news update, a digital platform can only be the perfect way for the film industry to recover from its losses. Of course, the entire losses can’t be overturned; a pretty large margin can still be compensated through online platform releases. But one would have to wait for the release of the blockbuster movies.
However, only time will tell how each of the blockbuster movies’ production houses will share their screen space. It might be tough, but they might come up with some internal agreement to provide sufficient screen space and movie date releases as per their choices.