Disney+ Hotstar launching 'Multiplex' on July 24; 'Sadak 2', 'Laxmmi Bomb' among films to premier on platform

After Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar will have exclusive movie premieres on its platform for subscribers.

Agencies
Disney+Hotstar will premiere films including Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Laxmmi Bomb’, Ajay Devgn’s ‘Bhuj: The Pride of India’, Alia Bhatt’s ‘Sadak 2’, Abhishek Bachchan’s ‘The Big Bull’ and Sushant Singh Rajput’s last film, ‘Dil Bechara’.
MUMBAI: Star & Disney India is set to premiere at least seven Bollywood movies directly on the video streaming service Disney+Hotstar after giving the theatrical window a pass and further deepening the rift with the already vexed multiplex industry.

Disney+Hotstar will launch 'Multiplex' on July 24th, a new tab within the app, which will premiere films including Akshay Kumar starrer ‘Laxmmi Bomb’, Ajay Devgn’s ‘Bhuj: The Pride of India’, Alia Bhatt’s ‘Sadak 2’, Abhishek Bachchan’s ‘The Big Bull’ and Sushant Singh Rajput’s last film, ‘Dil Bechara’.

Earlier, Amazon Prime Video had acquired rights of seven Bollywood and regional films for direct-to-digital release — including Amitabh Bachchan - Ayushmann Khurrana starrer ‘Gulabo Sitabo’— in a move that was heavily criticised by the multiplex industry, which has suffered major losses during the Covid-19 outbreak.

​Ajay Devgn's 'Bhuj' will also premiere on the streaming platform.
Ajay Devgn's 'Bhuj' will also premiere on the streaming platform.

However, Uday Shankar, president, The Walt Disney Company APAC and chairman, Star & Disney India said that movie premiers on OTT was something he was planning for a long time, and the decision was taken to relieve the choke on the distribution side of the value chain.

“As a producer of movies and a user of movies as content, I've been concerned about the choke point that's been building up,” Shankar told ET. “There have been only so many screens and because of that, whenever a big movie is released, the only way it can make money is to take all the screens (3,000-4,000 screens). And that meant that smaller movies couldn’t be released at that time,” he said.

According to Shankar, the other issue was that on an average, people go to movie theatres not more than twice in a year.
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“The only way a multiplex player can make money is by making tickets more expensive, but it also limits the number of people that can visit and the number of times they can visit. So the problem is that the entire film community is hitting a ceiling. As a result of that, when you want to release a movie in theatre, by and large, it is all about the big stars. So, on the one hand we keep complaining about the dominance of big stars, but on the other hand, we have created a business model that is designed to lead to that situation.”

These issues made Star & Disney India think about releasing movies online.

“This crisis came in as a real opportunity because theatres are shut and movies are almost ready. There is also awareness that even when the theatres are ready, people are not likely to start rushing back to them in any way,” Shankar said.

However, multiplex players including PVR and Inox Leisure, who have repeatedly voiced their concerns and annoyance over producers’ not honouring the theatrical windows and going to over-the-top (OTT) streaming services, are not a happy bunch.
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But Shankar terms the multiplex industry fear as “totally irrational”.

“It was the same when we went aggressive and launched movie channels on TV and started airing films,” Shankar said. “I used to hear that we will destroy the film industry and that nobody will go to theatres. But what we are creating is just one more channel and it will be great for everybody and nobody is going to get hurt.”
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Quarantine And Chill: From ‘Money Heist’ to ‘Parasite’, Shows & Films You Can Watch During Lockdown
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The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the world to a screeching halt. With a large chunk of the global population locked up indoors, a considerable number of people are turning to OTT platforms and streaming their favourite content to make the most of their quarantine.

We have prepared a comprehensive list of all the shows and films (both on OTT platforms and television) that you can watch during the lockdown to keep yourself entertained.

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As viewers re-lived some of their favourite moments from the epic saga like Sitaharan and the iconic moment when Lord Rama defeated Ravana, the TRPs of Doordarshan skyrocketed.

DD National said on April 16, 7.7 crore people across the globe watched the show, making 'Ramayan' the highest watched entertainment program globally.

The last episode of ‘Ramayan’ aired on Doordarshan on April 20. If you didn’t get a chance to catch up on ‘Ramayan’ fret not. DD is now airing ‘Uttar Ramayan’ from 9 am to 10 am and 9 pm to 10 pm every day, which is an official follow up to the original show and chronicles the journey of Luv Kush.

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Thanks to ‘Ramayan’ and ‘Mahabharat’, Doordarshan had become the most-watched Hindi entertainment channel in the lockdown period. Soon, it was announced that Pogo and Prasar Bharti had joined hands to air ‘Chotta Bheem’ on DD National.

One of the most popular kids series, which features Bheem and his friends in the fictional town of Dholakpur, airs on DD National every afternoon at 2 pm.

Needless to say, the show received a warm welcome from the audience, which consisted mainly of kids who enjoyed their favourite Bheem going on fun-filled adventures with his friends.

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Way before the battle between Marvel and DC Comics started, Indian kids had only one superhero to look up to, Shaktimaan. The show which originally aired on Doordarshan from 1997 to 2005, made its way back to India TV amid the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown.

The superhero television show had producer Mukesh Khanna playing the role of ‘Shaktimaan’, who acquired superhuman powers via meditation.

‘Shaktimaan’ airs on DD National on weekdays at 8 pm.



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No conversation about classic TV shows from the yesteryears is complete without talking about the iconic ‘Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai’. The show is about the Sarabhais, a family living in the posh area of Mumbai. The show is filled with witty dialogues, tongue-in-cheek humour and, of course, the constant bickering between Maya and Monisha over the latter’s ‘middle class’ ways.

Those who have seen the show can vouch for its fresh humour and that it was way ahead of its times. Watch it for Maya’s sass, Monisha’s retorts and more than anything, for Rosesh’s poems!

‘Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai’ airs on Star Bharat every day at 10 am.

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‘Khichdi’ and ‘Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai’ are two shows whose names are often taken in the same breath. ‘Khichdi’, like Sarabhai, reached cult status and got a massive fan following years after it finished airing. From Hansa’s comical translations from Hindi to English to Praful’s dim-witted demeanour, the show has fun characters, each with their own quirks.

Much like its contemporary ‘Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai’, ‘Khichdi’ is one show which is perceived to be ahead of its time in terms of humour and plot.

You can catch up on ‘Khichdi’ on Star Bharat every day at 11 am.

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‘Money Heist’, originally, ‘La Casa De Papel’, is a Spanish heist crime drama that premiered in 2017 and is currently streaming on Netflix. The show is about a mysterious man named ‘Professor’ who recruits a group of eight people to rob the Royal Mint of Spain. Each of these eight people have city names and their own character traits which make them interesting.

As the crew takes over the Royal Mint of Spain, they face a series of challenges from rebellion among the hostages to the tactics of the elite police force. They end up stealing 2.4 billion euros and return in the next season to rob the Bank of Spain.

‘Money Heist’ is streaming now on Netflix.

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‘Panchayat’ is one show that enjoyed massive success, thanks to the lockdown. Starring the talented Jitendra Kumar, veteran Neena Gupta and Raghubir Yadav in titular roles, the web series is the story of an engineer, Abhishek, who, due to the lack of a better job option, joins a remote panchayat office as the secretary.

‘Panchayat’ received critical acclaim and widespread recognition upon its release. While critics appreciated it for its simple yet layered narrative, the audience loved the show because of its humour.

You can watch ‘Panchayat’ on Amazon Prime Video.

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It’s not common to see a streaming giant, with the stature as high as that of Netflix, come up with a reality television game show. ‘Too Hot To Handle’, is one show, which thanks to the lockdown, was binge-watched by several Netflix subscribers.

The reality show is hosted by ‘Lana’, a virtual assistant that sets the rules which need to be followed by the contestants throughout the season. The show follows an original group of ten singles who are taken to a special villa to find love and earn $100,000. However, soon, the contestants are told that the prize money will be deducted if anyone on the island engages in sexual activity.

‘Too Hot To Handle’ became the #1 television program on Netflix in the week of April 20 and sparked a series of meme trends on social media platforms.

All episodes of the show are streaming now on Netflix.

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Starring Vir Das, Manoj Pahwa, Ranvir Shorey and Ravi Kishan, ‘Hasmukh’ is a dark comedy web television series which premiered on Netflix on April 17,2020. The story follows a small-town man who also happens to be a serial killer.

‘Hasmukh’ landed in controversy after the High Court sought Netflix response to a lawsuit alleging that the show maligns the image of lawyers. The suit alleged that episode 4 of the first season alleges lawyers to be thieves, scoundrels and goons.

All episodes of ‘Hasmukh’ are streaming now on Netflix.

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