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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Small budget Tollywood movies making most of OTT during COVID crisis

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While the Covid-19 outbreak and the resultant lockdown plunged Telugu film industry into a crisis, it also opened opportunities for small budget movies.

With theatres shut for four months and big banner movies stuck, small budget movies caught the attention of the viewers with ‘online’ release.

The crisis has come an opportunity for movies which otherwise scramble to find space in the cluttered medium of movie theatres and multiplexes.

While big budget movies starring top stars are waiting for re-opening of theatres, the makers of small budget films are releasing them on Over The Top (OTT) platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Aha.

The Indian movie industry, across Hindi and regional languages, is estimated to have suffered losses of over Rs 5,000 crore till June and this is likely to mount further in the coming days.

Many big budget movies starring popular actors are stuck causing losses to the producers. In Tollywood the big banner movies stuck due to lockdown S.S. Rajamouli’s ‘RRR’ starring Ram Charan and Jr. NTR and superstar Chiranjeevi’s ‘Acharya’.

Producers of small budget movies too are under stress with their movies to be released. In these testing times, the OTT platform has come to their rescue. With growing number of audiences moving to OTT platforms, films across languages are finding OTT a great opportunity to not just showcase their works, but also rake in a grand moolah.

“The shooting part of our movie Asalem Jarigindi was completed last year but lockdown came our way before we could complete the post-production and censor works, forcing us to rethink our approach to the release of the film. We are now in talks with certain OTT platforms which are eagerly looking for original and quality content to be released for their audience,” said King Johnson, Producer of Asalem Jarigindi movie.

He believes that a good movie will always find its audience whether through a mainstream release or via the online route.

“When it comes to watching movies, audience look for convenience, and what more can be convenient than watching a movie on the first day from the comfort of one’s home. The pleasure of experiencing new content along with family and friends is drawing more and more audience towards these platforms. Commenting on release on films on these OTT platforms,” said Tekmal Sreekar Reddy, executive producer and an industry expert.

Many believe that release via OTT platforms is the right solution to address the piracy menace which had an adverse impact even on prominent personalities in the industry.

They feel that online platforms also offer a level playing field to quality content irrespective of genre, and indiscriminate spending on star cast or marketing can now be put under check with these avenues

“Looking at the opportunities provided by OTT platforms, I have been working on one hour web movie assignments,” said Sreenag, a Tollywood director. He directed the first Telugu digital film ‘Key’ starring Jagapati Babu.

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