Goldie Behl supports fellow filmmaker Shoojit Sircar and says that every producer has the right to decide how they want to release their film and recover investment. Sircar's upcoming release "Gulabo Sitabo", along with six other films including Vidya Balan's "Shakuntala Devi", will release directly on OTT bypassing theatrical release, and the decision has naturally left the exhibition sector fuming. A day after Sircar officially confirmed his decision to release his Amitabh Bachchan-Ayushmann Khurrana starrer directly on Amazon Prime Video, the multiplex chain INOX issued a statement, the gist part of which is: "The decision of production house to deviate from the globally prevalent content windowing practice is alarming and disconcerting. Cinemas and content creators have always been into mutually beneficial partnerships, where one's action provided a fillip to another's revenues." Sufiyum Sujatayum to Release on Amazon Prime Video, Kerala Film Exhibitors Federation Threatens to Ban All Movies of Jayasurya and Vijay Babu?
Referring to the INOX statement, Behl told IANS: "I think they are not in a position to tell a producer what to do with their content. At the end of the day it is a business, and producers have the liberty to choose the medium to release their film. It should be the call from the producers on how they want to recover their investment. I support Shoojit. He knows what is best for his film. Yes, INOX released a letter and a criticism happened but the film is made for the audience. The audience will decide its fate." Vidya Balan’s Shakuntala Devi Becomes Second Bollywood Release to Premiere on Amazon Prime Amid the Lockdown.
As a reaction to the INOX statement, the Producers Guild released a statement of its own that said: "Shoot schedules have had to be abruptly cancelled due to the lockdown, with huge cancellation charges being borne completely by the producer - again with no support from insurers. Interest costs are mounting on amounts raised to fund films, with producers having to bear this additional burden with no date in sight for cinemas to re-open; in fact with the knowledge that cinemas may be one of the last sectors of the service sector likely to be given permission to re-open."
Behl asserted: "Will INOX pay the extra expenditure that producers have to bear, considering the fact that we do not know if and when the theatre will opens and we will get regular footfalls? Are they going to reduce the share that they take, so that producers can recover the financial losses? The revenue share structure between theatre chains and distributor/producer is quite unfair. Your theatre screen is just a medium where I am showing my film, like the way OTT is another medium. But, that is a different topic of discussion."
He added: "Look, on the other hand, Rohit (Shetty)'s film ('Sooryavanshi') was ready to release in March. He is holding onto it. He has the confidence to bring people into theatre when normalcy comes back. That is again his personal decision. We should respect that also." Goldie Behl has directed the web series "REJCTX" that features Sumeet Vyas, Anisha Victor, Ahmed Masi Wali, Ridhi Khakhar, Pooja Shetty, Saadhika Syal, Ayush Khurrana among others. The show is streaming on the OTT platform ZEE5.