Laxmmi Bomb, Bhuj: The Pride of India, Sadak 2 and The Big Bull are among the films that will be directly released through the streaming platform Disney+ Hotstar, it was announced through a virtual press conference on Monday. These big-budget movies were supposed to have been released in cinemas over the next few months. Their producers have chosen to skip theatrical distribution because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The other productions that will be out on Disney+ Hotstar between July and October are Lootcase, starring Kunal Kemmu, and Khuda Haafiz, headlined by Vidyut Jammwal. Disney+ Hotstar had already announced last week that the romantic drama Dil Bechara, Sushant Singh Rajput’s final project before his death, will be out on July 24.
Uday Shankar, President, The Walt Disney Company APAC and Chairman, Star & Disney India, said in a press statement, “Theatres are a special experience. So, they will always exist and thrive. But the potential of the industry can’t be capped by the number of release windows and theatres available. Our initiative will dramatically increase the number of films that can be made, giving film-lovers more films to enjoy and the creative community more films to make.”
Cinemas across the country have been shut since late March as part of larger public health safety measures. There are no signs of the pandemic abating even as various state governments gradually ease restrictions. Cinemas are expected to be among the last commercial establishments that will be allowed to reopen. Among the states that have extended lockdowns are Maharashtra, Bengal and Jharkhand.
The films that will be streamed on Disney+ Hotstar include productions that exhibitors were hoping would be held back for whenever cinemas reopened. Bhuj: The Pride of India, based on a true incident that took place during the 1971 Indo-Pak War, stars Ajay Devgn, Sonakshi Sinha and Sanjay Dutt.
The horror-themed comedy Laxmmi Bomb, a remake of the Tamil hit Kanchana, has been directed by Raghava Lawrence and stars Akshay Kumar as a man who gets possessed by the spirit of a trans woman.
Sadak 2, Mahesh Bhatt’s first film as director in 21 years, is a sequel to his 1999 hit Sadak. Sanjay Dutt and Pooja Bhatt reprise their roles in the sequel, in which Alia Bhatt’s character sets out to expose a godman. Aditya Roy Kapur and Gulshan Grover also star in the film.
The Big Bull, produced by Ajay Devgn, is the rags-to-riches story of a stock broker modelled on Harshad Mehta. Abhishek Bachchan plays the lead role.
The comedy Lootcase stars Kunal Kemmu, Rasika Dugal and Gajraj Rao. Khuda Haafiz is steered by action hero Vidyut Jammwal.