Remakes notwithstanding, these are indeed interesting times indeed for the Indian film industry. The week that just passed saw Indian cinema’s original angry young man Amitabh Bachchan turn his 80th bend on the Bollywood causeway, turning into the Grand Old Man of the Hindi film industry. In an ode to the actor’s oeuvre, a week’s retrospective was held across the country’s cinemas that re-played the big box-office hits of his career with screenings attracting huge crowds that cut across age barriers, going on to show that the public space of a cinema hall is not going away anywhere. The audience will come if you tell your original stories made for the big screen experience and with the massive overreach of the OTT space it is clear as daylight that production companies have to invest more in their all-important screenwriters and the creative team rather than slotting all their monies on stars alone. Again, a big rejig has to be done in the way the movie going experience is currently priced, especially in the north of the country. It is clear that currently the prohibitive costs of film tickets as well as food and beverages that often complement each other is a big dampener, especially in the multiplexes. Efforts in this direction may have begun, with the Multiplex Association of India having a ‘National Cinema Day’ on Sept. 23, wherein over 4,000 multiplex screens (PVR, INOX, Cinepolis, Carnival and Delite) showed films at an admission price of Rs 75 (excluding taxes) for all releases, including new ones. Initial reports suggest that the move may have spurred box office returns in a positive manner with huge footfalls in cinemas on that day. Moving on, there are plans afoot to reduce ticket rates on certain days especially on the day of a film’s release. But how these one-off initiatives will pay off has to seen in the short to medium term.
So, in this post pandemic, OTT rampant phase has the final nail then been hammered into the remake crypt of the Indian film industry? It definitely does not look like it, with a slew of remakes or themes inspired from an original arriving in the next couple of months, namely ‘Mili’, ‘Drishyam 2’, ‘Shehzadaa’ ‘Bholaa’ and ‘Cirkus’. With 2022 already being the only year in which five films from the Indian film industry having crossed the Rs 400 crore world gross, a re-think on remakes may still be a pipedream.