Back to the movies as locals embrace new India releases

Kangana Renaut in Thalaivi.

Kangana Renaut in Thalaivi.

Published Sep 8, 2021


LOCAL audiences have been responding positively to Bollywood films that have begun making their way to the big screen again.

This, coupled with an increased vaccine roll-out in South Africa, seems to be boding well for cinema audience numbers, said AB Moosa, the CEO of the Avalon Group.

In an interview with the POST, Moosa said the response by audiences to the release of Bollywood films was becoming more positive each week as people are becoming aware of content being released theatrically.

“This coupled with the vaccine roll-out has certainly proved beneficial for the return of audiences to cinema. We remain optimistic that as the weeks and months unfold - with a better understanding of how to manage Covid and the concurrent vaccine roll-out and big blockbuster releases - audiences will continue to grow to enjoy the big screen cinema experience,” said Moosa.

Earlier in the year, a few Indian production houses opted for over-the-top (OTT) releases in the wake of Covid-19 spike in India and globally, and the related theatre closures. But Moosa said the industry had now figured out how to work in the midst of the pandemic.

“The production houses have resumed production for some time now in India, having worked out efficiently how to shoot content while still managing around Covid protocols, so there are established principles around this new norm. What we are seeing is that there is a level of Covid and streaming fatigue in terms of individuals wanting to get out of confined home spaces, and the desire to socially interact and enjoy shared entertainment experiences and that includes coming back to cinema.

“Our cinemas have been able to successfully implement, for a long time now, many protocols. These include alternate blocked seats, staggered seating, and online bookings through an app and website for both tickets and refreshments, making it a far more contactless experience, while still having the benefit of a socially shared experience with protocols of wearing a mask and the like.

“Younger audiences, in particular, want the shared big screen experience with its concomitant surround sound, special effects and all the aspects that make the big screen cinema going experience unique.”

Moosa said with the aggressive vaccine rollout nationally and internationally, many production houses were reverting to the windows of theatrical release first, followed by the other platforms.

“For many films, particularly big blockbuster films, the ability for the producers to recover their budgets on production, is to have a global cinema release, which, in a successful opening weekend can recover a significant amount, if not all, of the production costs that other platforms are not easily able to do, if at all.”

Moosa tipped off audiences about some of the Indian movies that South Africans can look forward to watching on the big screen over the next few months:

* September:

Kangana Renaut in Thalaivi.

- Thalaivi: Thalaivi is an upcoming Indian multilingual biographical film about the life of J Jayalalithaa, an actress and politician, who served six times as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. Kangana Ranaut will play the role of Jayalalithaa.

- Intezaar: Koi Aane Ko Hai: Their future is illusive, present is deceptive and their past shall haunts them to death. A couple (Nil and Alia), who believes that marriages are made in heaven, discover the bitter truth as soon as their married life hits a rough patch. It stars Man Singh and Priyanka Singh.

* October:

- Dhaakad: A fierce and tough international spy embarks on an action-filled adventure with guns blazing. The cast includes Kangana Ranaut, Arjun Rampal and Divya Dutta.

- Raavan Leela (Bhavai): Directed by Hardik Gajja, the movie will feature Pratik Gandhi, Aindrita Ray, Flora Saini and Abhimanyu Singh as the lead characters. While the other details around the film are under wraps, this love story drama is promised to be a treat for viewers.

Ajay Devgn in Maidaan.

- Maidaan: A biographical sports film based on the golden era of Indian football. It stars Ajay Devgn as football coach Syed Abdul Rahim, and is directed by Amit Sharma.

- Looop Lapeta: It is directed by Aakash Bhatia. The film features Taapsee Pannu and Tahir Raj Bhasin in the lead roles. The film is the official Hindi remake of the German film Run Lola Run.

* November:

- Prithviraj: A historical action drama directed by Chandraprakash Dwivedi and produced by Yash Raj Films. The film is based on life of Prithviraj Chauhan, a king from the Chahamana (Chauhan) dynasty.

- Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2: Is a comedy horror directed by Anees Bazmee. It is a standalone sequel to Priyadarshan's 2007 iconic horror comedy Bhool Bhulaiyaa. Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 stars Kartik Aaryan, Tabu and Kiara Advani in leading roles.

* December:

- Tadap: A romantic action drama directed by Milan Luthria and produced by Sajid Nadiadwala. It is a remake of the Telugu film RX 100, and stars debutant Ahan Shetty and Tara Sutaria.

- Heropanti 2: Tiger Shroff made his Bollywood debut with the 2014 film Heropanti and now the actor will release its sequel.

- Laal Singh Chaddha: A comedy-drama directed by Advait Chandan. The film is an adaptation of the 1994 American film Forrest Gump, which was based on Winston Groom's 1986 novel of the same name. The film stars Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Naga Chaitanya (in his Hindi film debut).

Allu Arjun in Pushpa: The Rise – Part 1

- Pushpa: The Rise – Part 1: It is aTelugu-language action thriller written and directed by Sukumar. The film stars Allu Arjun, Fahadh Faasil and Rashmika Mandanna. The first of two cinematic parts, the plot is based on the red sanders smuggling logs in the Seshachalam Hills of the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh.

- Cirkus: A comedy directed by Rohit Shetty, the film features Ranveer Singh playing a double role for the first time in his career, with Jacqueline Fernandez, and Pooja Hegde as the female leads. It is the official adaptation of the 1982 movie , which was based on William Shakespeare's play The Comedy of Errors.

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