He reckons that there will soon be a time when only 30-40 pan-India big-ticket releases will sustain theatres in a year. The Kannada actor-filmmaker was speaking on the side lines of the event to announce his film 777 Charlie’s Kannada OTT release on Voot Select.
Last Updated: 05.48 AM, Jul 31, 2022
Kannada actor-filmmaker Rakshit Shetty is extremely practical about the business of cinema and does not operate based on some inflated ideas of stardom. He is clear about what works in cinema today and what doesn’t and has bifurcated his business accordingly. Not all of his productions are meant for the big screen. Speaking on the side lines of the 50-day celebrations of 777 Charlie and the film’s arrival on OTT, albeit in Kannada only on Voot Select, to an online news portal, Masth Cinema, Rakshit was asked about the changing patterns of content consumption of audiences, with only select films finding takers in theatres.
Rakshit believes that audiences today have fixed ideas about the films they want to watch, where and how. If they have to watch a film in theatres, it has to be worth that effort, like, for instance, for an Avengers movie, RRR or even KGF, for that matter, he reckons. But if they are given a content-oriented film with a message, they might prefer to watch it on a laptop.
The actor-filmmaker, who is currently winding up work on his next, Sapta Sagaradaache Ello with director Hemanth M Rao, is set to direct a big-ticket film for Hombale Films then, called Richard Anthony. The changing consumption of content, he says, will impact the kind of films that are made going forward. It is going to be difficult for any industry to make films for theatrical release only. Today, when a big Kannada film is made, it is dubbed and released in at least five languages overall. In time, you may get only five from Tamil, five from Telugu five from Kannada and so on and so forth that you’d want to watch in theatres. When you dub these films in all the other languages, overall, you get 30-40 big-scale films in a year, and that, he says, is the future of cinema.
However, Rakshit adds that even smaller films will have to be dubbed and kept ready for OTT purposes, because everyone prefers to watch films in their own languages, although there are some who will watch it in the original language with subtitles. Currently though, even small films with no box office market are being pushed to theatres, even if it is only for two days, so that they then get picked by OTT platforms. Rakshit feels that this will continue only till such time that all major streaming platforms start picking up Kannada content. Most major streaming platforms do not have a Kannada bouquet of content at the moment.
Rakshit explains that there are 7-8 major OTT channels, which, at some point, will get into Kannada content too. Each of them will need one major title from Kannada per month. In a year, that will amount to at least 96 titles from Kannada, bare minimum. So, even if 100 films are made in Kannada, it will be just enough for OTTs at that rate. If this increases to, say, 4 titles per month per channel, they will need 400 items. In such a scenario, there will be demand for good content. Today, there may not be a market, because all the platforms don’t have a Kannada presence. But there is a bright future ahead, he reckons. “The future is such that stars will not be born in theatres; instead, they will be born on OTTs. Once they are stars on OTTs, they will transition to the big screen, be it directors or actors. They will then be given the budgets to make those big films for theatres,” he signs off.