The fate of two of the biggest films of 2021 is in equilibrium, both starting with the word “no”.

If you haven’t lived under a rock, you would know audiences around the world were eagerly awaiting the new James Bond adventure “No Time to Die” when the coronavirus pandemic broke out. Fans were thrilled to see Daniel Craig in this iconic role one last time before moving on. However, it appears that Fate had other plans overall. Without warning, the December 2019 Covid-19 pandemic hit the world in ways never seen before.

No Means No, the upcoming thriller directed by Vikash Verma, should also be released in 2020. The first Indo-Polish co-production, No Means No, aimed to deepen bilateral ties between India and Poland, just as Raj Kapoor’s 1970 film Mera Naam Joker rekindled the bond between India and Soviet Russia. The plot revolves around Raj (played by Dhruv Verma), who comes to Poland for a ski competition but falls in love. Fate seemed to have other plans as Raj is forced to do everything in his power to save the girl he loves so much.

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Coronavirus hit the world in unprecedented ways – it closed borders, created social distance, and sadly resulted in millions of premature deaths. Since all sectors of the world economy are affected by this pandemic, the film industry has not been spared either. Throughout local regulations, cinemas must be closed to prevent the transmission of viruses once the primary opportunities for people to meet and enjoy movies together are. This has caused both film production and theatrical releases to come to a complete standstill, creating significant problems for both production houses and theater owners.

Originally planned for April 2020, this globetrotting adventure starring James Bond has been pushed back time and again, as have many similar films (Black Widow and Wonder Woman 1984). Some of these films went to OTT platforms when investors ran to save what they’d spent. Others, like No Time To Die, decided that audiences needed to see such films on the big screen. Therefore, No Time to Die moved to the fall and finally decided on a release date in September 2021.

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An action adventure set in the picturesque Polish wilderness, No Means No marks a turning point for Indian cinema as it successfully blends a big budget action film with a leading slogan of the women’s rights movement to make a statement about the current cultural zeitgeist . With an expansive cast that includes Gulshan Grover, the film was for sure one of the most anticipated Indian films of 2020.

However, this groundbreaking film has also fallen victim to this pandemic. As the coronavirus pandemic spread, the team behind No Means No raced to end post-production of the film, but a string of global theater industry closures proved devastating to their plans. With a good pre-release hype, viewers around the world were waiting for this action thriller to be released, but the Covid-19 pandemic put a clear end to all of these plans.

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It’s not all doom and gloom, and luckily the situation is ready to recover soon. The first release of the film has not been delayed until early 2021 at the earliest, depending on when the cinemas will open their doors again.

These two films are not alone. Several Bollywood and other films around the world have taken a similar approach, with Akshay Kumars Sooryavanshi and the 83 directed by Kabir Khan being postponed to at least March 2021. Most filmmakers target mid-2021 as that is the majority of the world’s population would have been vaccinated and thus herd immunity would be achieved. Theater and other paths to success could then be opened without any restrictions.

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However, this ideal scenario is only a few months away at the earliest. Despite the disappointment this will bring many cinema fans, this is a price we must all pay in order to slow the spread of the virus and protect the people around us. While for many of us cinema is both our bread and butter, this long shutdown is a small price to pay to put an end to this devastating pandemic.

Fortunately, there will be a day when the theaters will reopen and the cinema as such can return to our lives. When that day comes, with a bit of luck, No Means No will hit theaters and be generally available to the public.

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