Like with every other industry, the novel coronavirus has put a wrench in every plan to release movies in theatres when it comes to the Hindi film industry. Films have been laying in cans for two years now as the COVID-19 virus spreads and mutates, drowning the country in a devastating second wave. There are a few films down South that have been released like Dhanush’s Karnan and Pawan Kalyan’s Vakeel Saab. Both these films performed exceedingly well at the Box Office, considering the current scenario. As for Bollywood, post the decision to allow screenings of films in theatres, a few films like Roohi, Sania and Indoo Ki Jawani released in theatres. While these films faced almost zero competition from other movies, they didn’t perform well at the Box Office for the sheer reason that people are too afraid to step out of their homes, much less go to theatres.
Keeping this situation in mind, a lot of films opted for a direct-to-OTT release. Akshay Kumar’s Laxmii, Vidya Balan’s Shakuntala Devi and Ludo premiered on OTT platforms. There were talks that Salman Khan’s upcoming film, Radhe had been bought by a streaming platform for an unheard sum which led to theatre organisations sending a letter to “Bhai”, asking him to release the film in theatres. Salman took cognisance of their worry and as of today, the film is set to have a multi-format release.
Here is a list of upcoming Bollywood movies that will release in theatres or on OTT platforms, depending on the situation.
Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai
Salman Khan has announced the multi-format release of Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai on Eid 2021. With this, the highly anticipated entertainer will release on ZEE5 with ZEE’s pay per view service ZEEPlex and on all leading DTH operators, as well as in operational theatres in India and major overseas markets.
As mentioned above, Khan has chosen to release the film in theatre as well in an effort to lift the film industry out of its slump and also revive the exhibition and distribution chain.
A trade source told Filmfare: “Salman Khan kept his promise to theatre owners and exhibitors who requested a theatrical release of Radhe. In return, he keeps reminding audiences and his fans to watch it with safety and precaution in centres where theatres are open. This decision is nothing short of courageous, because it risks personal profits while providing employment for thousands.”
Considering that most theatres chains in India continue to remain shut, the makers of Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai decided to simultaneously release the film on the OTT and DTH platform.
The Kangana Ranaut-starrer has been in the news for quite some time now and was supposed to release in theatres on April 23. The makers of the film had even released the trailer of the film and the video of a song. Ranaut has constantly stated that Thalaivi would have a theatrical release and had even mocked certain filmmakers for postponing the release of their movies.
“They did everything to throw me out of the industry, ganged up, harassed me today Bollywood ke thekedars Karan Johar and Aadiya Chopra are hiding, all big heroes are hiding but Kangana Ranaut with her team coming with 100cr budget film to save Bollywood,” Kangana had tweeted on March 31.
“History might just write in golden letters the woman who was the outsider step child, was destined to be their saviour, you never know life has many ways of amusing us, if this happens, remember Bullywood chillar party never ever gang up on your Mother again,” she had added.
However, keeping in mind the rise in COVID-19 cases, the makers released a statement mere days later that the release of the film would be pushed back. “We are extremely grateful for the tremendous response and unconditional love you’ve shown for Thalaivi trailer. As a team, we have sacrificed a lot in making this film and thank every member of the cast and crew who supported us in this challenging but remarkable journey,” they said, in a statement.
“Since the film has been made in multiple languages, we would like to release it in all languages on the same day. But with an alarming rise on Covid-19 cases, subsequent precautions and lockdowns, even though our film is ready for release on 23rd April, we want to extend all the support towards the government rules and regulations and have decided to postpone release of Thalaivi. Though we are deferring the release date, we are confident that we will receive as much love from you all then as well. Stay safe and looking forward to everyone’s support,” the statement went on to say.
This Sanjay Leela Bhansali film is one of the most awaited films of 2021. Ever since it was announced, Gangubai Kathiawadi has enjoyed immense media coverage. According to media reports, Bhansali was set to cast Priyanka Chopra in the lead role but the role eventually went to actor Alia Bhatt. Bhatt will essay the role of Gangubai who was Kamathipura’s most feared and respected madam. She is said to have commanded immense respect and was not to be played around with. The film is scheduled to release in Hindi and Telugu on the 30th of July this year. However, both Bhansali and Bhatt had tested positive for COVID-19 though they have now recovered. Hence, it is uncertain whether the original release date still holds. The latest news about Gangubai Kathiawadi is that Bhansali is considering an OTT release if all other avenues shut down due to the virus and its effects.
Satyameva Jayate 2
As of today, the makers of the film have released a statement saying that the film has been postponed keeping in mind the second wave of the novel coronavirus. Satyameva Jayate 2, which is the second instalment in the Satyameva Jayate franchise, was supposed to release on the 13th of May this year. “In these unprecedented times, nothing matters more than the safety and health of our countrymen and patrons. Our film Satyameva Jayate 2 will now release on a later date. Till then let’s keep our masks on and do our best to keep our loved ones and ourselves out of harm’s way. Jai Hind. – Team SMJ2,” director Milap Zaveri announced on Instagram. Before the postponement, Satyameva Jayate 2 was going to clash with Salman Khan’s Radhe but this clash has now been averted. “This EID it’s JOHN vs JOHN as #SatyamevaJayate2 releases on 13th May 2021! LADENGE iss SAAL, dono BHARAT MAA KE LAAL!” Zaveri had announced in March this year. Satyameva Jayate 2 features John Abraham and Divya Khosla Kumar in the lead roles. Abraham plays a double role in the film.
After starring in 2019’s The Sky Is Pink, actor Farhan Akhtar is set to appear in Toofan. While the film was initially slated for a theatrical release, Toofan will now release on Amazon Prime Video starting on the 21st of May this year. “After working with Farhan in Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, I was certain he would be the perfect protagonist for Toofan. The best thing about him is that he does not act the part, but lives it completely,” Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra had earlier told ANI. “Toofan is a story that will motivate and inspire all of us to get out of comfort zones and fight towards achieving our dreams. We cannot wait to present our film to viewers across the globe,” he added. “At Excel Entertainment, we always try to tell stories that touch the heart and soul of the audience. We consistently strive to develop new concepts which can entertain and enlighten the viewers. With Toofan, we are presenting an inspirational sports drama that presents the story of a goon from the streets of Dongri set against the backdrop of boxing, his fall and triumphant comeback against all odds in life.”