Viewers have started enjoying regional cinemas as they get value for money by the crisp content delivered by great actors and great scripts
By Akshay Bardapurkar
Until today regional cinemas have always been considered as an optional cinema, which means that regional cinema never got its due. Unless the cinema either won a national award or has made its sudden entry into the academy awards through nomination, even with the advent of OTT regional cinemas, barring a few never got its due, perhaps the mindsets were different then and to an extent, regional cinemas growth has been curbed due to the language barrier.
- Rajesh Iyer to lead charge of Colors Bangla, Colors Odia, Colors Tamil and Colors Gujarati
- Netflix, Amazon Prime top two platforms in terms of customer experience in media streaming category: Kantar report
- YouTube today is the #1 platform for accessing videos in Indian regional languages: Sanjay Gupta
However, with crisp subtitles and exquisite dubbing, regional cinema has now become more adaptable and more audience-friendly. How many Marathi films are released in Hyderabad? And how many Tamil films are released in West Bengal? There used to be a clear barrier of regions wherein we the audience use to designate the content with its way of wearing clothes, or by clearly attaching it with the food and food habits. Ideally, there is no connection between them, but the state of mind used to be more “mine” and “your” content. Hence when it came to the Hindi language, barring a few southern states, it was more or less acceptable to the mass or pan India as it was considered a more ” Go to” language for the viewers.
However, scenarios post-COVID 19 has changed the game to thenext level and the acceptability of regional languages is seen across the globe and this, according to me, is a beginning of the ‘new normal’ for regional movies. We all know most of the post-production work of Hollywood is done in by lanes of Mumbai and Nagpur respectively, without having the technicians travel to the United States, how does the technician understand the nuances of filmmaking? It is simply because now the procedure for filmmaking has become globalised and each of them similarly follows the standard operating procedures across the globe and in one line.
The regional space was differentiated not only in terms of the language but also in terms of content. Regional movies focused on hyperlocal settings or content, making the movies look charred and uninteresting. With the advent of similar technologies worldwide even the regional cinemas have climbed upon the world cinema pedestal and started giving globalised output. And now after the Covid-19 the situation of the regional cinemas instead of getting hampered has found themselves suited well. People have now started enjoying different cinemas like different cuisines, as they get value for money by the crisp content delivered by great actors and great scripts. OTT’s have been a bit step-motherly for many years towards regional and however even they couldn’t stop their hunger and competition towards buying different content to satisfy their needs of the consumer. Even satellites to home and platforms such as pay per view are doing brisk business as communities based out in foreign shores are crazy behind watching their favorite actors and actresses without going to the theatre and on just on a click of a button they get access to the same.
So these are some beautiful times which are the fallout of the COVID 19 outbreak and I must say that irrespective of what some people might say I am of a firm opinion that the next new normal for the world and especially a country with a population of 135 crore where regional cinemas are the next thing.
India with its demography, languages and ethos is in many ways a federal country where each state has its hunger of regional content; the only problem has been that it wasn’t reaching it to the mass. However post COVID many platforms are now utilizing this as an opportunity and making it available to the public at large in different continents, lessening the dependency of going and watching it in the theatres only. Although theatre owners and exhibitors aren’t really happy with this, for me this is a window which has opened up many filmmakers to try their hand in making some exemplary movies. The current time where we are now backed with the abundance of platforms getting an opportunity to take their cinema straight to their mobile phones and no one will be seen complaining about it anymore. Now we will soon see a Marathi or a Bengali cinema being watched in some part of Spain for sure and that is the new normal which we will soon witness in the times to come.
The author is founder of AB Film Company Pvt. Ltd and Planet Marathi.