GANDHINAGAR:Actor and filmmaker Kamal Haasan seeded the idea of an online release via DTH (Direct to Home) when he made Vishwaroopam.
Three techies in Kerala have now come up with a platform for the online release of Malayalam films on the very day they are released at the movie halls.
Taking cue from Kamal Haasan and the Malayalam film industry, director and producer Dayal Padmanabhan is planning to release his Kannada film Toss-Ondu Rupayalli Eradu Preethi online on September 11, the day he plans to release it at the theatres.
Dayal said the idea came to him after the difficulties he faced during the release of his last film Haggada Kone (End of the Noose).
“Multiplexes allotted me very few screens and removed my film by the time people started coming. Even with good word-of-mouth publicity and excellent media reviews, Haggada Kone could not viewed by as many,” he told City Express.
Dayal believes urban audiences, active on social media, wait for reviews before they watch a film. They also watch whatever they can find on their computers and smartphones.
“Based on this observation, I thought of taking my film to them. After discussions with experts, I came across a company called Agilets which showed interest in releasing my film online. So we are now working on this platform,” he said.
The director is aware that films without big stars don’t draw big audience interest. “Multiplexes work on revenue sharing but they don’t take up small films. So, films without stars are in a pathetic situation even when their quality is high,” he said.
Dayal is currently working towards meeting a September 11 deadline to release his film. “We plan to fix Rs 150 as the viewing charge for 24 hours. I feel piracy will come down because the rate is reasonable,” he said.
Bharat Jain of Mars Music has reportedly approached Dayal to release the film online on YouTube on a pay-per-view arrangement. “I am getting into this trusting the online audience. I keep my fingers crossed,” he said.
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Pawan Kumar released Lucia online three weeks after it hit theatres. “Online releases will soon become common, but piracy will remain the biggest challenge,” he says. He has noticed that there are two kinds of audiences — the kind who are ready to pay for the film and the kind who would rather wait for a free copy. “In India, broadband is slow and you have to wait for it to buffer. Moreover, Indians are still getting used to making payments online,” he says.
“Even Indians abroad wait for rates to drop to $1 from $5. So you need a guaranteed viewership of 1 lakh for an online release to work out,” he contends.