A few days ago, an unassuming Bollywood audience got to watch the recent John Abraham-starrer, Force, before anyone else did. And from now on, personnel from the Indian Armed Forces will get access to first-day-first-shows for most major releases.
The digital cinema platform UFO Moviez has just finished installing satellite servers at over 50 unusual locations around the country where military camps reside, including some in places like Ladakh and Assam, which barely have any theatres.
“Giving a print for a few screenings for the defence services is not a viable option, and the cinema halls aren’t in locations where they can visit and quickly return, since they’re posted at the outskirts of most cities. This way, the films reach them directly,” explains Pankaj Jaysinh, COO, UFO Moviez India.
Though the government has set aside the investment for the projectors and physical space, it is the flow of content that has been smoothened and updated with the 50 installations.
“The films can directly be downloaded by the distributors via satellites. Whenever and the defence wants to watch these films, they can get permission and screen them,” says Jaysinh, adding that the price for that consent is negligible. “The point is to take the entertainment to them; money was never the issue, as the budget is sanctioned by the government. The plan was that they would install their own projectors and we would get the remaining equipment,” he adds.
Recently, the Nishikant Kamat directorial venture revolving around a narcotics officer was screened for the armed forces 12 hours before it was released around the country. For now, the next big release UFO Moviez is looking to provide is Shah Rukh Khan’s RA.One. “Since the film will release in 3D, we are working out how to put up the 3D projectors,” Jaysinh adds.