Categories
Films Lite Blogs

‘Highway’ to have direct OTT release

Talking about the film, director K V Guhan said, “Post the first wave of Covid, there was an unprecedented change in the film industry…reports Asian Lite News

Well-known cinematographer and director K V Guhan’s much-awaited psychological thriller, ‘Highway’, featuring Anand Deverakonda in the lead, will directly release on the OTT platform Aha on August 19.

The psychological thriller will also feature Sayami Kher and Manasa along with Abhishek Banerjee in a never-before-seen role.

Directed and written by K.V. Guhan and produced by Venkat Talari, the film is a psychological thriller about a photographer Vishnu (Anand Deverakonda) who falls in love with Tulasi (Manasa). When everything is going great, a serial killer kidnaps his lady love. What happens then is what ‘Highway’ is all about.

Talking about the film, director K V Guhan said, “Post the first wave of Covid, there was an unprecedented change in the film industry. At the same time, we were all connected to world content, irrespective of languages. There was a massive opening for concept films, new experiments, and novel thoughts. That’s when I narrated this idea to Anand and Abhishek, and being explorers themselves, they said ‘yes’.”

“The more you get into the story, the more it brings out the different shades of characters,” says Guhan, who adds that every twist and turn in this film will be new.

ALSO READ-Tamannah joins Bollywood dance competition at IFFM as judge

Categories
Bollywood Films Lite Blogs

OTT and future of Indian cinema industry

The music industry is expected to reach Rs. 23 billion (USD 330 million) by 2023, from Rs 15 billion (USD 210 million) in 2020 at a CAGR of 15 per cent between 2020 and 2023…reports Asian Lite News

India is home to one of the largest and most vibrant film industries in the world. The country is famous globally for its movies and songs. Citizens of several nations, irrespective of the relations between India and their country, recognise India for its films. Such is the prominence of tinsel town internationally!

Bollywood or the Hindi film industry occupies a pivotal position. However, some regional movies including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali and Punjabi films among others have also made it big abroad. India has 22 official languages and more than 19,500 dialects are spoken here as mother tongues. Hence, there are numerous varieties of films from different languages.

The Indian film industry generates nearly USD 2 billion a year. According to Britannica, Bollywood, Hindi-language sector of the Indian film industry began in Bombay (now Mumbai) in the 1930s and developed into an enormous film empire.

After early Indian experiments with silent films, in 1934, Bombay Talkies, launched by Himansu Rai, spearheaded the growth of Indian cinema. At the turn of the 21st Century, the Indian film industry – of which Bollywood remained the largest component – was producing as many as 1,000 feature films annually in all of India’s major languages and in a variety of cities. International audiences began to develop among south Asians in the United Kingdom and in the United States.

The Indian Media and Entertainment (M&E) industry is a sunrise sector for the economy and is making significant strides. Proving its resilience to the world, Indian M&E industry is on the cusp of a strong phase of growth, backed by rising consumer demand and improving advertising revenue. According to a FICCI-EY report, the advertising to GDP ratio is expected to reach 0.4 per cent by 2025 from 0.38 per cent in 2019.

According to a BCG report, India’s M&E industry is expected to grow between USD 55-70 billion by 2030. India’s digital advertising industry is expected to grow to Rs 23,673 crore (USD 3.09 billion) in 2022 from Rs 18,938 crore (USD 2.47 billion) in 2021.

Television would account for 40 per cent of the Indian media market in 2024, followed by print media (13 per cent), digital advertising (12 per cent), cinema (9 per cent), and the over-the-top (OTT) and gaming industries (8 per cent). The market is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17 per cent between 2020 and 2023.

According to India Brand Equity Foundation, within the M&E sector, animation, visual effects, gaming and comic (AVGC) sector is growing at a rate of 29 per cent, while the audio-visual sector and services is rising at the rate 25 per cent; is recognised as of one of the champion sectors by the Government of India. The AVGC sector is estimated to grow at 9 per cent to reach Rs. 3 lakh crore (USD 43.93 billion) by 2024, as stated by Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles.

The music industry is expected to reach Rs. 23 billion (USD 330 million) by 2023, from Rs 15 billion (USD 210 million) in 2020 at a CAGR of 15 per cent between 2020 and 2023.

Several Bollywood stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan are household names in various countries. Numerous Bollywood movies are also shot abroad, which has made the industry along with its stars popular globally.

Salman Khan Katrina Kaif-starrer spy-thriller ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ was shot in Istanbul and near the border with Syria and Iraq. Several more Bollywood movies were shot aboard and many in Middle East, including United Arab Emirates. Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif-starrer political thriller Phantom was shot in in Lebanon, including downtown Beirut, the nearby area of Khandaq Al Ghameeq and the mountain town of Kfardebian.

A spy-thriller ‘Baby’ starring Akshay Kumar was shot in multiple locations in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Turkey and the UAE. Akshay Kumar-starrer war thriller ‘Airlift’ was reportedly partially shot in Al-Hamra Palace Beach Resort in Ras Al Khaimah.

Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan-starrer Guru’s famous song ‘Mayya Mayya’ was picturised in Istanbul’s Nuruosmaniye Mosque.

A lot many Bengali and South Indian movies are shot in Thailand, Singapore and US among other destinations.

Indian movies are filmed across the world and several are shot in across European locations like the UK, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Spain, Greece and Amsterdam. Also, southeast Asian countries are another favourite destination for shooting. Some movies are also filmed in Australia.

Apart from Bollywood, at present, South Indian movies are topping the chart. In the recent 68th National Films Awards in the country, movies from south swept the award ceremony.

The jury had received around 305 movies from 30 languages. The films from the southern region of the country dominated the National Film Awards. As many as 19 top awards across various sections went to south Indian films. During last year’s ceremony, south Indian films won as many as 15 awards in various categories.

Some very famous south Indian movies of recent times which made it big in domestic market as well as abroad are ‘Bahubali’ and ‘RRR’.

Apart from the over-arching Bollywood all the other regional film industries also have a distinctive name. Bengali film industry in West Bengal and Telugu film industry in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are both called Tollywood. Similarly, Malayalam film industry in Kerala is known as Mollywood, film industry in Karnataka as Sandalwood, Assamese language film industry as Jollywood, Tamil film industry is called Kollywood and film industry in Odisha as Ollywood.

The future of Indian cinema will remain entwined with OTT platforms.

According to a Deloitte study, 83 per cent of India watches video content on their mobile phones. This still makes the cinema experience a unique one.

The story lines of Indian cinemas are undergoing a change. From love stories and family issue-based content, it is now moving towards other social issue-based stories and this trend is more perceptible in regional movies.

ALSO READ-Mani Ratnam makes two-part epic in 120 days

Categories
Films Lite Blogs

Rocketry OTT release on July 26

Talking about the movie’s OTT premiere, Madhavan said: “It’s an incredible honour for me to be able to bring this story to life….reports Asian Lite News

After having a splendid run in theatres, actor Madhavan’s ‘Rocketry: The Nambi Effect’ will premiere on the OTT platform Amazon Prime Video on July 26.

Produced by Tricolour Films and Varghese Moolan Pictures, the film stars Madhavan in the lead and also marks his directorial debut. It also features Simran, Ranjit Kapoor and includes a special cameo by Suriya. Prime members in India and across 240 countries and territories can stream the film starting July 26, 2022 in Tamil, along with Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada language dubs on the service.

Talking about the movie’s OTT premiere, Madhavan said: “It’s an incredible honour for me to be able to bring this story to life. I’m truly humbled by all the love that the movie has already received and am quite excited to see what new milestones hold next for our film with streaming.

“Essaying this role and helming this incredible story of Nambi sir was very crucial, and I’m glad that we will be able to reach many more households to inspire, enlighten and entertain through Amazon Prime Video.”

The biographical drama is based on the life of ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, who was framed for espionage and imprisoned in 1994. The film chronicles his achievements, his passion for the country’s space mission, his unmatched dedication and the accusation that eventually became the biggest personal and professional setback of his life. It is an emotionally charged human narrative with an outstanding performance by actor-director R Madhavan.

ALSO READ-‘Madhavan transformed Nambi Narayanan a great scientist on screen

Categories
Films Lite Blogs

Nagarjuna Akkineni’s ‘Ghost’ set for OTT release

‘Ghost’ stars Kajal Agarwal and Sonal Chauhan as the female leads. Apart from an official poster, and some BTS pictures from the movie, the makers have kept everything else under wraps for now…reports Asian Lite News

The forthcoming film ‘Ghost,’ starring Nagarjuna Akkineni, is expected to be released exclusively on the OTT platform. Directed by Praveen Sattaru, it is being sold to an OTT partner, and the producers intend to release it directly on the digital platform rather than go for a theatrical release.

It is also reported that the business for ‘Ghost’ has not been disclosed yet, as the makers are still looking to set a higher price to launch the movie on OTT. Lack of publicity, and hype around the movie are also considered the factors behind the maker’s decision to release the movie on OTT rather than in the theatres.

‘Ghost’ stars Kajal Agarwal and Sonal Chauhan as the female leads. Apart from an official poster, and some BTS pictures from the movie, the makers have kept everything else under wraps for now.

It’s an action-packed movie for which ‘Garuda Vega’ fame Praveen Sattaru has done the scripting as well as direction. The picture was scheduled to be released in theatres at the end of this year, but if it shifts to OTT, we might see it much sooner.

ALSO READ-Draupadi recalls her days with the Master

Categories
Films Lite Blogs

‘Vikram’ ready for world wide OTT premier

The movie had a blockbuster opening and the theatres soon became a place of carnival, with the scenario of house-full shows continuing, even three-four weeks after the release…reports Asian Lite News

Kamal Hassan-starrer ‘Vikram’, which is still going strong even after grossing Rs 400 crore in box office collections worldwide, will have its worldwide OTT premiere on Disney+ Hotstar on July 8.

‘Vikram’, which has been showered with praises from people, continues to hog the spotlight. The movie hasn’t just impressed Indian trade circles alone, but has left even International markets awestruck as well.

Written and directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, the Kamal Haasan-Vijay Sethupathi-Fahadh Faasil-Suriya starrer had its worldwide theatrical release on June 3, 2022.

The movie had a blockbuster opening and the theatres soon became a place of carnival, with the scenario of house-full shows continuing, even three-four weeks after the release.

‘Vikram’ has broken several box office records and has officially become the number one top grosser in Tamil Nadu. This is a fact that has been confirmed by the producers, distributors and exhibitors.

And now, the movie is to have its worldwide OTT premiere on Disney+ Hotstar, from July 8 onwards. The film will be available in Tamil, Telugu & Hindi from July 8.

Aamir discloses story of heart break during ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ song launch

Categories
Bollywood Films Lite Blogs

Pankaj gives all credits to OTT

Pankaj’s latest release is ‘Sherdil: The Pilibhit Saga’, which hit the big screen on June 24. He will next be seen in ‘Fukrey 3’…reports Asian Lite News

From playing Kaleen Bhaiya in ‘Mirzapur’ to the power hungry Godman Guruji in ‘Sacred Games’ and the cheeky lawyer Madhav Mishra in ‘Criminal Justice’, acclaimed actor Pankaj Tripathi credits his growth and popularity to the digital space.

What if there was no OTT?

In a conversation with Pankaj said: “If there was no OTT, then there would have been a fight still going on with me. I wouldn’t have got any reach. OTT only gave me space because there is importance of content and stories and not actors that much.”

He credits his popularity to the web space.

“Whatever I am, it is because of my stories and the characters that I have played. I am a very small person but my characters and stories are very big… The growth that I have had is all because of OTT,” he added.

Pankaj’s latest release is ‘Sherdil: The Pilibhit Saga’, which hit the big screen on June 24. He will next be seen in ‘Fukrey 3’.

ALSO READ-Healthy eating habits for a wonderful life journey

Categories
Bollywood Films Interview

‘No one knows what works at box office’

Karan Johar’s earlier film ‘Shershaah’ received immense love from the audience and critics after its direct OTT release, according to Varun, Karan has faith in ‘Jugjugg Jeeyo’ and the makers believe that the film deserves a theatrical release…reports Asian Lite News

In a career span of 10 years in the Hindi film industry, he is one of the few actors who delivered as many as 11 hit films.

But as the audience is evolving in the post-pandemic era, and Indian cinema is passing through a sea change, Bollywood superstar Varun Dhawan, who is ready to face the box office results of his film ‘Jugjugg Jeeyo’, says no formula can be fixed to predict the fate of a film.

Varun said: “Look, honestly speaking, no matter how much we guess, analyse and predict the fate of a film, at the end of the day, there is no formula and no one knows what works at the box office. And we have seen that in recent times. Post the pandemic, things have changed but the only unchanged factor is people still love going to the theatre and watch a film that is entertaining.

“Whether it is a ‘KGF’, ‘RRR’, or ‘Sooryavanshi’, people watched them. But that does not mean that all larger-than-life event film works… as I said, there is no formula. Our film is a pure family drama that has emotion, comedy, and everything that we have grown up watching in a Karan Johar film!”

While Karan Johar’s earlier film ‘Shershaah’ received immense love from the audience and critics after its direct OTT release, according to Varun, Karan has faith in ‘Jugjugg Jeeyo’ and the makers believe that the film deserves a theatrical release.

“You know, Karan is a big name in this industry and he has in-depth knowledge about the whole box office game. He watched and loved the film and decided to release it in theatres. We had offers from OTT platforms for its direct OTT release with good financial deals. But he is taking the risk of releasing it theatrically.

“Even I have a share in the film as a producer because we had to restructure the finance post the pandemic. This is as much as my film and the audience are looking forward to that… it’s a family entertainer coming from the house of Karan Johar. I know that our fans will love the film,” Varun signed off.

Directed by Raj Mehta, ‘Jugjugg Jeeyo’ also starring Anil Kapoor, Neetu Kapoor, Pajukta Kohli and Manish Paul releases on June 24.

ALSO READ-Varun Dhawan meets ‘real life hero’

Categories
Bollywood Films Lite Blogs

‘OTT boom has given people more options’

Optimistic that the book will now reach more people through its audiobook avatar launched on ‘Audible’, he feels that with the rapid pace of the digital revolution, ‘hearing’ a book has become a reality in the last few years…writes Sukant Deepak

Actor Tusshar Kapoor feels that while the OTT boom has given people more options, and provided more opportunities to actors, producers, technicians and directors, it would not eat into any other form of entertainment — cinema will remain cinema and television, that. “But yes, it has increased the size of the ‘entertainment pie’, and will definitely make things harder for a substandard product in another medium, as people have the OTT option to fall back on. We are living in a much more exciting phase,” he tells.

Currently working on multiple projects — a film that is ready and will be shown on an OTT platform soon, he is also producing a horror comedy film for the digital space. “Also, I am in talks for some very challenging out-of-the-box characters that probably will herald me into another zone — something completely away from what I have been associated with,” he shares.

For Kapoor, who has been seen in films including ‘Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai’, ‘Khakee’, Kyaa Kool Hai’, ‘Hum’, ‘Dhol’ and ‘Shootout at Wadala’, the most important part for him is the script or the story before he signs a project. “And of course, the people I am working with. It is about the general vibe that I get when I hear the story. So, it is a couple of things put together and the entire package that works for me.”

The actor, whose book ‘Bachelor Dad’ is about his journey into fatherhood as a single parent and was written over a period of time in 2019, says, “My experiences as a single parent have been unique and many of my friends exhorted me to write them in form of a book. I had the material and decided to take the plunge. The rest, of course, unfolded in the manner that was not predictable,” says the actor-writer who initially thought of roping in a co-author but decided it would be best to do it himself in order to do justice to a memory that is so personal.

Optimistic that the book will now reach more people through its audiobook avatar launched on ‘Audible’, he feels that with the rapid pace of the digital revolution, ‘hearing’ a book has become a reality in the last few years. “Many people have been waiting for the audio version of my book. Now that it is out on ‘Audible’, I am keeping my fingers crossed.”

For an introvert like him, the Pandemic-induced lockdowns were not really much of a problem. Besides writing the book, he released a film in the lockdown on an OTT platform. “Of course, this period affected the livelihoods of many people, which is something really sad. In my case, I had to accept that my first film as a producer will release on an OTT platform. I am still trying to release my second film (as a producer), and it is challenging,” he says.

ALSO READ-Real life OTT tales on refugee crisis

Categories
Arts & Culture Lite Blogs

‘My work and my life are the same’

Sarabhai, who shot to international fame when she played the character of ‘Draupadi’ in Peter Brook’s nine-hour theatre production ‘Mahabharata’, admits that it changed the very course of her life and she was no longer the same person after that…writes Sukant Deepak

 “Is it not tragic that it is mostly a series about gory crimes and criminals that gets all the attention on OTT platforms? However, I have complete faith that content revolving around the ‘good’ will have a sizable audience,” Dancer and actor Mallika Sarabhai, Artistic Director of ‘Darpana’, who is currently producing multiple pilots and will soon approach different digital platforms, tells IANS.

To be produced under the banner of Darpana, the content aims to arrest the narrative that only violence and crime get people to binge watch.

“It is such a cliche that audiences do not want to see stories revolving around the positive. We are hoping we crack that and show an alternative — one can always choose compassion. But if you do not give viewers that option, then how are they supposed to choose it? Why do the characters have to be horrible to do something cool,” asks this Padma Bhushan awardee.

Not only an actor and dancer, Sarabhai, known for social activism and raising her voice for democracy and standing by different peoples’ movements, stresses she sees little sense in slotting art and social activism for they intersect for her at all levels.

“My work and my life are the same. There is never a moment when I am doing something and my mind is not raving about what I can create from that moment,” she tells.

Sarabhai, who shot to international fame when she played the character of ‘Draupadi’ in Peter Brook’s nine-hour theatre production ‘Mahabharata’, admits that it changed the very course of her life and she was no longer the same person after that.

“It made me realise I have the power to make a difference. I got the confidence to become my

own modelling clay. It completely altered my trajectory and pushed me into becoming my own defendant. A deep journey to find my limits started. It’s not what Peter did to me. It’s what happened to Mallika,” recalls the artist, who was recently in Chandigarh on the invitation of Nagina Bains for the IWN (Indian Women Network) Chandigarh Tricity Chapter Annual Session supported by Testler.

While for most artists, the pandemic-induced lockdown ensured a lull in activities, but not Sarabhai.

“My artistic director, I, seven dogs and a peacock were on the campus throughout. The highway next to us was completely silent. We would fix the lights, had our own studio and spaces. So if you go to the YouTube channel of Darpana, you will see a lot of our new work from 2021. We also went online the day the lockdown started. Our students did not really miss a single day of work/study. We generated a lot of material. Also, realising how awful other dancers must be feeling, we did something called ‘Dance Unlocked’, where we got dancers from all over the country and trained them on how to hold the camera etc. through WhatsApp.”

On the condition of artists during the lockdown, she laments that India has never had a decent budget for the arts in the past 30 years.

“Whatever little is there, goes to the favourites. One wonders what the multiple akademis are doing? The situation is deplorable. Think of what happened to the weavers who used to make the sarees for costumes, the leather cleaners for the tablas. Or the metal worker who makes the

ghungroos. When we talk about what Covid did to art, you are only seeing us. Not the hundreds of people behind us.”

ALSO READ-Mallika: Live performances are soul of arts

Categories
Films Lite Blogs UK News

Indo UK film Varnapatala begins theatre screenings; OTT deal soon  

The film’s Heart wrenching story is well projected and acted by lead artist Jyothi Rai who has brought in wonderful expressions and emotions…reports Rahul Laud

UK based Dr Saraswathi Hosdurga joins hands with National Award winning director Chethan Mundadi and her entrepreneur friend Kavitha Santosh from Bangalore to produce a sensitive yet entertaining film related to autism and woman empowerment.  

UK hosted the premiere of Feature film “Varnapatala (The Prism)” at Scott Cinemas, Bristol. This film is an Indo-UK collaboration conceptualised and co-produced by UK based Dr Saraswathi Hosdurga, Consultant community paediatrician, and her school friend Mrs Kavitha Santhosh, a Bangalore based entrepreneur and directed by National Award winner Chethan Mundadi.

Talking to Asian Lite, Producers observed that “there is minimal support and awareness about autism in India compared to the UK.” A heavy topic like autism and women empowerment can be made interesting if this is projected in the form of a story, they shared. Saraswathi, Kavitha, Karthik Saragur, Pallavi Rao and Chethan Mundadi worked on the story and plots making the film as one of the very special film projects of India -UK collaboration.

The UK premiere was attended by all Indian communities, other nationalities from various backgrounds; doctors, nurses, therapists, engineers , mental health specialties, home makers , councillors and many parents. People attended from different parts of England”s South West region including Bristol, Bath, Swindon and Cheltenham.

The film’s Heart wrenching story is well projected and acted by lead artist Jyothi Rai who has brought in wonderful expressions and emotions. Each and every artist has done full justice to the roles. Suhasini Maniratnam does deliver a powerful message in her pivotal role and the Icing on the cake are the acts by child artistess Aanshika Shetty and Dhanika Hegde.

UK based Ganapathi Bhat from KUK talkies lead on Q and A sessions with Dr Saraswati Hosdurga. Chief Guest Prof Parag Singhal, Director of BAPIO Training Academy – British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin said, this movie has a lot to offer to the parents, society and education system specifically in India.  Mohan Mundasad, consultant ophthalmologist and Bristol based said,”Hats off to the team for such a well- made movie that lingers in the minds of the audience for many more years.”  Saraswathi said the film has the right balance of entertainment and key message about the day today life of a child with autism. She summarised the film as, “When a child is supported by a prism made with supportive family, society and education system, the child can liberate beautiful colours like Varnapatala (Spectrum).” “With dedication and perseverance of parents and teachers will help to identify strengths and inherent potential in children, she added.”

Saraswathi shared that the film Varnapatala has received similar feedback in Karnataka. Music director, Harsha Vardhan Raj and Cinematographer Ganesh Hegde have given treats to eyes and ears. Fascinating background music scores, songs, lyrics and photography bring out a right balance to the film.

Saraswathi explained that, “The ultimate aim of the movie was to create awareness about neuro-diversity, the much-needed message to the society.”

Producers are contemplating conducting theatrical shows at various locations in the UK and sell the film on OTT platform to reach out to a wider audience. 

ALSO READ-Ekta makes her birthday more ‘fashionable