Netflix to Air Alia Bhatt’s ‘Darlings’ on August 5

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The American streaming platform Netflix will present the first production of actor Alia Bhatt darlings, in which she also plays the lead role, on August 5. The film starring Shefali Shah, Vijay Varma and Roshan Matthew was co-produced by Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment. Bhatt launched his production house Eternal Sunshine Productions last year.

Cinemas across India may be running at full capacity, but box office opportunities for low- and mid-budget films are dwindling, pushing them to be released on streaming services.

Even if these films, featuring bankable stars, were intended for the cinema, darlingsby Mohanlal 12th man and the production of Kangana Ranaut Tiku marries Shiru opted to broadcast on digital platforms, trade experts said. The move comes as producers recognize that only large-scale artists ring the cash registers, underscored by poor performances from recent titles like Anek, Jayeshbhai Jordaar and Runway 34among others, which could not attract the public to the cinemas.

A film like Karan Johar’s Gehraiyaan, starring Deepika Padukone, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Ananya Pandey, centered on love and relationships, is a good example of having made the wise choice not to rely on theatrical numbers when it premiered on Amazon Prime Video a few months ago, trade experts say. The few mid-budget films lacking action or large-scale grandeur, especially in Hindi, that have taken the plunge to brave theatrical release have performed poorly in recent weeks, despite the presence of bankable stars. At Shahid Kapoor’s Jersey (Rs. 19.68 crore), Ajay Devgn’s Runway 34 (Rs. 32.96 crore), Tiger Shroff’s Heropanti 2 (Rs. 24.45 crore), Ranveer Singh Jayeshbhai Jordaar (Rs. 15.59 crore) and Ayushmann Khurrana’s Anek (Rs. 8 crore), outstanding examples. Trade experts say Kangana Ranaut’s dismal box office dhaakad which ended at less than Rs. 3 crore is making post-theatrical OTT deals difficult, with the film finding no takers among streaming players.

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