Netflix starts streaming A.R. Rahman’s musical romance ‘99 Songs’ – Mint

NEW DELHI :
99 Songs, the Hindi-language musical romance film co-written and produced by A.R. Rahman has started streaming on Netflix and Jio Cinema this weekend. The film had released its Hindi, Tamil and Telugu versions in cinemas mid-April, but box office collections were hit by the second wave of the pandemic.

The film, co-produced by Ideal Entertainment and distributed by Jio Studios, stars debutants Ehan Bhat and Edilsy Vargas in lead roles, alongside Aditya Seal, Lisa Ray and Manisha Koirala, who portray supporting characters.

Reiterating that the pandemic has brought radical changes to the window between theatrical and digital premiere, recently released films are fast making their way to streaming platforms. Horror comedy Roohi was available on Netflix less than a month since its release while Telugu comedy drama Jathi Ratnalu was picked up by Amazon Prime Video. Beating all of them, Kannada action drama Yuvarathnaa debuted on Amazon eight days after theatrical release.

To be sure, it has been known for a while that Bollywood is not likely to continue with the eight-week window between theatrical and digital premieres even when things are back to normal. Instead, it may opt for a window of three-four weeks for online streaming.

The pros and cons of a possible shift are being fiercely debated by stakeholders in India and abroad, with streaming platforms seeking early digital releases and cinema chains resisting the move.

Trade experts say while it may be okay for a film featuring a big star to expect an extended run in cinemas and debut on streaming platforms later, there is no logic in holding small producers back—more so, as the longer they wait, the movie’s value diminishes more. Add to this the fact that most small, non-star vehicles don’t even get proper shows and timings but may find an audience online.

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