In 2020, the Indian film industry raised many soul-seeking questions. Given the pandemic that is changing the way people consume content in their homes all year round, there is a growing trend that OTT platforms are the future and that it will be difficult for theaters to pull people into hoarding like they used to . There’s also a conversation going on about how only big-budget shows bring people to theaters and leave a big question mark on whether concept films will go the digital route. We met with filmmaker and YRF’s local producer Maneesh Sharma to weigh this debate.
Says Maneesh, “I think people will return to theaters once the pandemic has subsided. At the end of the tunnel there seems to be a glimmer of hope. A month ago things looked a little endless, but now we can still set an approximate time frame in which things will be okay. Things should be pretty much under control. So people will come back to the theaters and want this immersive experience. “
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Maneesh’s stance is fully in line with the position Yash Raj Films took during the pandemic. India’s largest production house, headed by Aditya Chopra, has decided not to release its films digitally and has managed to stick to that decision even though big films like Bunty Aur Babli 2, Shamshera and Jayeshbhai Jordaar are up for release.
Says Maneesh, “I think any good film will find audiences in theaters. I don’t think we can define if it’s a big budget movie that people will come and if it’s a small movie people won’t. If it’s a comedy, people will come and if it’s a drama, they won’t. I don’t think people will choose to come to the theater because of the genre. You will decide what experience the film offers. So the films have to be good and the people will come. “
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Maneesh is celebrating his birthday today with his family in Delhi. He will soon be returning to Mumbai to work on his silence again next. The filmmaker who has made films like Band Baaja Baarat, Shudh Desi Romance and Fan believes that going to the movies with friends, family and loved ones is an integral part of our culture for Indians.
“People go to the cinemas during festivals, during major holidays. The cinema and partying are somehow connected in our country and I think that every good film brings that feeling back to life for all of us. We have an extremely social culture and going to the cinema plays a very important role. I think if a movie is attractive to them, people will show up in the theaters. I have no doubt about that, ”says Maneesh.