The speculative lucrative deals for films like Gulabo Sitabo, Shakuntala Devi, Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl

As a per a reliable source, Gulabo Sitabo has a combined [satellite + digital] deal worth around Rs65 crore, while Shakunta Devi has been sold for Rs35 crore and the Gunjan Saxena biopic has gone for Rs 55 crore

By Mayur Lookhar

Gulabo Sitabo (L), Shakuntala Devi (C), Gunjan Saxena (R)

With theaters likely to remain shut for several months, the film industry is sweating over the films that were set for theatrical releases but the global pandemic put a halt to theatrical exhibitions. It came as no surprise when director, producer Shoojit Sircar, Sony Pictures Networks opted for a straight-to-web release for Gulabo Sitabo [2020] and Shakuntala Devi [2020], respectively.  Certain film exhibitors were upset, but given the environment and financial constraints, it is all but natural for such films to take the OTT route.

A film exhibitor’s worst nightmare though is likely to come true with a big-ticket film like Akshay Kumar’s Laxmmi Bomb [2020] strongly rumoured to have a world premiere on Disney Hotstar – the Over-the-top application owned by Star India. As per sources, Kumar and his co-producers Tusshar Kapoor, Shabina Khan have struck a new Rs162 crore combined [satellite + digital] deal with Fox Star Studios.

There are more films rumoured to take the OTT route.  Among them are Dharma Productions, Zee Studios’  Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl [2020] – starring Janhvi Kapoor, and Ali Abbas Zafar, Zee Studios’ co-production Kaali Peeli that has Ishaan Khatter, Ananya Panday in the lead. The two films are tipped to premiere on Netflix.  ,

With theatrical releases ruled out, are these films commanding a good price for the digital and satellite deals? While there is no official confirmation, a reliable source has given us an idea of the combined [satellite + digital] deals these films have struck.

A source informs, “Gulabo Sitabo has a combined deal for Rs65 crore.  Shakuntala Devi has a combined deal for Rs32-35 crore. Gunjan Saxena has a deal for Rs55 crore, and Kaali Peeli has struck a combined deal for Rs 42 crore.”

Gulabo Sitabo and Shakuntala Devi will premiere on Amazon Prime Video.

There has been no official statement on the release of Gunjan Saxena or Kaali Peeli. In September last year, Karan Johar’s Dharma productions had entered into deal with Netflix to produce exclusive content.  Gunjan Saxena, though, wasn’t part of it.

As the lockdown extends, and fear of cinema halls being shut for a while, expect more producers to knock on the doors of OTT platforms.


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