Kabir Khan: Won’t throw our films to test the waters once lockdown opens, we’ll wait till we’re comfortable
It’s not the time for blame game, believes Kabir Khan as multiplex chains have openly expressed dismay about films being released directly on OTT platforms as a result of the pandemic and the interim lockdown. But the filmmaker, whose big-ticket sports drama ‘83 was waiting in the wings to release just weeks before a nationwide lockdown was announced, has made it clear that he is ready to wait -- not just for theatres to open, but for a time when a sense of comfort prevails.+ +
Speaking for his own film and even Rohit Shetty’s Sooryavanshi, two high-profile titles which were going to be released just weeks apart from each other, before the lockdown was announced, Khan tells us, “We will be ready (to release when the lockdown opens), but having said that, we will only come out with our movies when the comfort is palpable. and when we feel that ‘Okay, the fear has gone away, and people might feel comfortable to put on masks and gloves, and go watch a film.”
He adds, “There are a lot of efforts, resources and energy that go into films and we would like people to enjoy our films. Both, Rohit and I, would want the audience to enjoy our films on the big screen and therefore we are ready to wait it out for things to get better. It’s not like the lockdown will open and we will throw our films to test the waters. No. We will wait till we’re comfortable.”
At the same time, while he understands that theatres and multiplex owners have their reasons to feel disappointed, but points out at the producers’ predicament in these unprecedented times. “Everybody has invested a certain amount of money in their films and they may be seeing that in the near future, they’re not going to be able to recover the costs because there’s no clarity about when theatres will open, in what shape and form will they open, and will the audience go back (to theatres),” explains the 49-year-old filmmaker.+ +
In this scenario, he says, it’s not wise for producers to lose on “both counts” - theatrical revenue and the chance to secure a bigger price from an OTT platform.
“I’m very clear that I will be releasing my film in the theatre. I’ve made my film for the big screens, and I will wait. But for those who are not ready to wait, I think it’s absolutely fair for them to then carry on,” he adds.
Ask him how has life been in the lockdown, Khan simply points at the “privileged positions” he and his likes are in. “We’re all seeing what’s happening with the labour on the streets and it’s so heartbreaking every single day. When we see what that section of our country is going through, nobody can talk about any other inane issues like boredom and feeling stuck at home. We have comfortable homes. We are with our family. We don’t need to worry about where our next meal or next salary is coming from. So, I’m absolutely fine with the way things are on the personal level. But what’s happening in the country at a larger level, is worrisome.”
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