The eagerly-awaited trailer of the upcoming Hindi movie Durgamati, which was released on Wednesday (November 25), has created a fair deal of buzz among fans for a variety of reasons. The Bhumi Pednekar-starrer, a remake of the Tollywood blockbuster Bhaagamathie, was originally supposed to release in theatres but that did not happen due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The makers opted for a ‘direct to OTT’ premiere, skipping the theatrical route.
With the horror-thriller set to stream on Amazon Prime Video in a couple of weeks from now, here is a look at why a digital only release might work in the film’s favour.
Not the right time for a theatrical release: The quirky comedy Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari, the first major Hindi film to hit the screens after the Covid-19 lockdown, did not make a strong impact at the box office despite receiving decent reviews from critics.
The mediocre response to the Manoj Bajpayee-starrer indicates that movie buffs are not too comfortable visiting theatres amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Durgamati might not have been able to make live up to the expectations had it released under the current circumstances.
Safer option: Ace actor Anushka Shetty, the star of the original movie, is a bonafide ‘Lady Superstar’ and enjoys a strong fan following. Bhumi, on the other hand, is perceived to be a sincere performer rather than a ‘box office draw’. Director G Ashok, who had helmed Bhaagamathie, is a newcomer/debutant in the Bollywood context. This makes a digital-only release a safer bet for all concerned.
Wider reach: The film is likely to release in over 200 countries making it the biggest release of Bhumi’s career. This might not have happened had it released in theatres.
The time of OTT is now: The digital medium has emerged as an alternative to theatres amid the Covid-19 crisis. Films such as Laxmii, Dil Bechara and Suriya’s Soorarai Pottru opened to a good response across various streaming platforms and impressed the target audience. If Durgamati too opens well, it might help Bhumi add a new dimension to her career.