2021: Year in which Malayalam cinema had more OTT hits
The impact of the Covid second wave and the closing down of theatres in April have resulted in a paradigm shift in the way the Malayalam cinema was consumed in 2021.
KOCHI: The impact of the Covid second wave and the closing down of theatres in April have resulted in a paradigm shift in the way the Malayalam cinema was consumed in 2021. Digital streaming giants like Amazon Prime, Netflix, SonyLIV and Disney Hotstar and various new platforms have brought new Malayalam movies to the viewers to watch them in the comfort of their homes.
As a result, nearly 110 movies, which include some big-budget movies like Minnal Murali and Malik had their premieres on OTT. The theatre releases were limited to nearly 65 movies. The biggest crowd pullers in theatres (the admission to theatres were limited to 50 per cent of the total capacity due to Covid) include Tamil superstar Vijay’s Master, Dulquer Salmaan’s Kurup, Mammootty’s The Priest and Mohanlal’s Marakkar: Arabikkadalinte Simham. Though the film did not get a long run, Marakkar had many ‘Houseful’ shows during the initial days because of the huge pre-release hype.
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Two of the biggest hits among OTT releases are Minnal Murali and Drishyam 2, the sequel to the 2013 blockbuster Drishyam. The success of Minnal Murali is likely to prompt many filmmakers and producers to make movies exclusively for OTT. Likewise, movies like Joji, The Great Indian Kitchen and Thinkalazhcha Nishchayam, which were released exclusively on OTT, have enjoyed super success. The content of these movies, the versatile making style and the performances of the actors were widely discussed among the movie buffs.
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However, many producers believe that a big hit or mass masala movie from the big stars will help theatres return to the glory again and OTT will not be a huge threat to exhibitors. There are nearly 650 theatres in Kerala and according to industry experts, both OTT and theatres will coexist. “Some big movies like RRR, Aarattu and Bheeshma will be released in early 2022.
If there will not be a third wave of the pandemic, these movies will generate a good initial collection. Still, people prefer to watch such movies in the festive atmosphere that theatres provide. Hence, both theatres and OTTs will go in parallel and they will not be a threat to each other,” said Kerala Film Producers Association president Ziyad Koker.