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What T-series, Reliance Entertainment's $135M Film Deal Means For Bollywood?

This deal is also aimed to revive the Indian film business and box office collections from COVID-19 as cinemas slowly reopen in India.

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Two of India’s biggest film studios- T-series and Reliance Entertainment have signed a silver-screen deal for about 10 billion rupees ($135 million), amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. 

Bhushan Kumar led Record label T-Series, along with businessman Anil Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment are going to make over 10 feature films, jointly, over the next 36 months. The films will be from different genres like romantic action thrillers, historic biopics, dramas, and comedies.  

Talking about this latest collaboration between T-series and Reliance, Atul Mohan, Film Trade Analyst said, "This is big news for the industry and any such collaborations are indeed a positive sign for the industry. Two of the successful brands and powerhouses coming together means entertainment will go to the next level."

This deal is also aimed to revive the Indian film business and box office collections from COVID-19 as cinemas slowly reopen in India.

Mohan, while talking about whether this step will work in favour of the Hindi film industry, said, "Definitely. This will infuse the much-needed positivity in the trade which has been crippling post-COVID-19. This news brings in the hope that nothing is lost and good days are on their way. The two giants have already worked on the music front in more than 100 films. The slate of 10 films includes a mix and match of big-budgeted movies and medium films also which are strong in content and also include south remakes and will be made in the period of the next 24-36 months."

The association between two big entertainment firms is one of the biggest financial developments that took place in the film world and is a striking bet when numerous makers in India are leaving cinema halls and releasing their films on OTT (over-the-top) platforms such as Amazon, Hotstar, Netflix, etc. 

Plus the OTT platforms have seen significant growth, especially after COVID-19 hit the entire world. Like in different nations, lockdowns, and controls to contain the spread of Coronavirus, have led to the use of OTT platforms more. 

Nowadays, regional content is also playing an important part in the OTT business which is another reason, many filmmakers are taking this route. According to the FICCI-EY report on Media and Entertainment (M&E) Industry, the share of regional language consumption on OTT platforms will cross 50 per cent by 2025

Rupesh Kashyap, Founder, and CCO, FNW Studio- Bharat Ka Writers Room, said, "I would say Bharat rather than saying regional is the driver for not only OTT growth but also e-commerce. And they both go hand in hand. Today, the way digitalisation of payments, banking, and other daily needs are being met in Bharat, consumers are progressing from being aware of being awakened slowly but surely."

"I think it will happen because regional OTT players will be making more originals which will be culturally and socially attuned to their customer’s current needs and demands," Kashyap added. 

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has decided to reopen all the theatres in the State after October 22, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's office said, on Saturday.  

The official handle of CMO Maharashtra wrote on Twitter, "Theatres and auditoriums in Maharashtra will open after 22nd October 2021 while observing all COVID safety protocols. SOP is in the works and will be declared soon."

This also comes as a positive step for the Indian film industry as Maharashtra contributes at least 40-50 per cent of total BO collections of a mainstream Hindi film. As Maharashtra theatres reopen in October, many filmmakers have decided to release their films in theatres like Ranveer Singh starrer sports biographical drama '83', Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukharjee starrer 'Bunty Aur Babli 2', etc.