It is the first major new Bollywood to opt for a direct-to-streaming service release, amidst the lockdown.
Shoojit Sircar’s Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana starrer Gulabo Sitabo would become the first major new Bollywood film in the COVID-19 afflicted world to opt for a direct to streaming service release.
Amazon Prime Video announced on Thursday that the film will premiere globally across 200 countries on their platform on June 12, 2020. It was earlier scheduled for a theatrical release on April 17. Homi Adjania’s Irrfan Khan-starrer Angrezi Medium was the last Hindi film to find a theatrical release before the countrywide lockdown.
“This is the dawn of a new era for Indian entertainment,” said Sircar, while expressing happiness that a global audience would be able to watch their “gritty dramedy and enjoy what the film has in store for them”. A Rising Sun Films production, it is written by Juhi Chaturvedi and produced by Ronnie Lahiri and Sheel Kumar.
Describing Gulabo Sitabo as one of the most anticipated films of the year, Vijay Subramaniam, Director and Head, Content, Amazon Prime Video, India, said that they were happy to exclusively premiere it on Prime Video. “At Amazon we’re listening to our customers, and working backwards from there,” he said, adding, “It is the first step in our endeavour to bring superior cinematic experiences to our customer’s doorstep.”
“The global release of Gulabo Sitabo on Prime Video, in over 200 countries and territories, will ensure maximum reach and visibility for the film not just in India but around the world,” said Gaurav Gandhi, Director and Country General Manager, Amazon Prime Video India.
Sircar described it as a quirky, light-hearted movie that the audience can enjoy with their families. “Gulabo Sitabo is a slice of life, dramedy that is a must watch for families at home,” said actor Amitabh Bachchan, adding, “The family entertainer has the power to cut across geographic boundaries and we are pleased to bring Gulabo Sitabo to audiences across the globe.”
“What I love about the film is its sheer simplicity… The fleeting moments of simple humour in the banter between a landlord and tenant make this film really special,” said actor Ayushmann Khurrana.
The Amazon Prime Video announcement on Gulabo Sitabo comes within a week of the news of Pushpendra Nath Mishra’s long delayed Nawazuddin Siddiqui-Anurag Kashyap starrer Ghoomketu landing on Zee 5 India. Initially supposed to have had a theatrical release in November 2018, the film will now drop on the streaming platform on May 22.
Till now there had been an eight-week window between the theatrical and digital release for Bollywood films. Raghava Lawrence’s Akshay Kumar-starrer Laxmmi Bomb, that was scheduled to release in theatres on May 22, has been among the earliest of the bigger films to look for a digital premiere with Disney+ Hotstar touted as the possible home. However, the big ticket, tentpole films like Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi and Kabir Khan’s ’83, are unlikely to become part of the emerging OTT game for now. They are being seen as the ones that would help pull the audiences back to the theatres as and when the lockdown lifts.
Meanwhile, J. J. Fredrick’s Jyotika-starrer Ponmagal Vandhal (Tamil) and Anu Menon’s Shakuntala Devi: Human Computer (Hindi), with Vidya Balan in the lead, are speculated to be among the forthcoming new films on Amazon Prime Video’s slate.
Gulabo Sitabo will be available at no extra cost for Amazon Prime members. They will be able to watch it, like other titles, anywhere and anytime on the Prime Video app for various devices.