The film’s digital rights had been picked up by Amazon Prime Video
Last Updated: 01.36 PM, May 04, 2023
Telugu filmmaker Gunashekar’s ambitious retelling of the epic love story between Shakuntala and King Dushyanta for the big screen, Shaakuntalam, which had Samantha and Dev Mohan playing the two main characters, came to theatres on April 14. But despite having star of the calibre of Samantha in the lead, Gunashekar’s film found few takers, presumably because this tale has found cinematic and theatre adaptations way too many times in different languages. It’s a story that’s too familiar to begin with.
Shakuntala, the daughter born to sage Viswamitra and the apsara Menaka, falls in love with King Dushyanth, during one of his hunting trips in the forest. Before leaving her to return to his kingdom, with a promise to return for her, he presents her with his ring as a sign of their love. When she then fails to pay respects to sage Durvasa, he curses her that the person she was thinking of would forget her and that the curse could be broken only if there was a sign of their love. To her bad luck, Shakuntala loses the ring Dushyanth had given her and he fails to recognise her when they meet again. Can he find his way back to her?
Amazon Prime Video had snapped up the post-theatrical digital rights way before the release and while no streaming date has been officially announced, the streamer has been bringing films that have not had a great box-office run to its platform well before the 30-day mark. Given Shaakuntalam’s poor box office showing, it was speculated that it could drop on the platform in early May, but the latest buzz is that the streamer will stick to the 28-day deal and bring it to audiences on May 12. The film will be available in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi.
The film’s producer Dil Raju has been trying to get OTT releases streamlined with a 5-8 week window, but that’s not come into force. In the meantime, Amazon Prime Video has been releasing most of its content bucket under 28-day from release deals, which, according to filmmakers is often in a revenue-sharing model with higher pay-outs per minute of streaming, the earlier it drops on the platform.
Shaakuntalam, which also stars Sachin Khedekar, Mohan Babu, Prakash Raj, Madhoo, Jisshu Sengupta, Kabir Bedi, Kabir Duhan Singh, Ananya Nagalla, Allu Arha, Gautami, Aditi Balan, among many others, has music by Mani Sharma and cinematography by Shekar V Joseph.