'India not ready for online exhibition of films'

Chennai, Oct 14 (IANS) Telugu composer-turned-filmmaker R.P. Patnaik, who recently released his English directorial debut "Amy" on Video-On-Demand (VOD) service in the west, feels Indians will "abuse" this medium, and therefore, they are not yet ready for it.

Supernatural thriller "Amy" was released Oct 1 on Dish, Blockbuster, Amazon, Vimeo and several other online film portals.

"We (Indians) are generous enough to share films with others. In the process, we illegally download or copy films from different sources. This is why I think we are not yet ready for online exhibition of content. I think we will abuse it," Patnaik told IANS.

"I wouldn't mind if someone pays once and shows the film to a few of his or her friends. But, we (Indians) want everything free of cost," he added.

Does that mean westerners don't abuse this medium?

"I'm sure they might, but VOD is a very lucrative business model there. There are films exclusively made to be released on it during festive seasons such as Halloween and Christmas. I was told by my producer that it generates billions in revenue," he said.

"In fact, some films make more money on VOD vis-a-vis a theatrical release. In essence, most of them pay and watch films via this medium," said Patnaik, who has earlier directed Telugu films such as "Broker" and "Friends Book".

How do you plan to release "Amy" in India?

"I'm still figuring out different options. I want to have a theatrical release because I want to make it possible for many people to watch it. I don't think I will go for online release," said Patnaik, who has composed music for films such as "Chitram", "Nuvvu Nenu" and "Swagatam".

He believes theatres can't be held responsible for not screening low budget films.

"Theatre owners are always blamed for not supporting small films. But, I feel it's the audience who should take the blame. I agree small films have limited theatrical release, but sadly even these few theatres are not able to have 100 percent occupancy," he said.

"Audiences are not going to watch these films at the first place. The occupancy rate is not even a healthy 60 percent. How do you expect theatres to screen these films for weeks, when the footfall drops drastically on the second day itself," he asked.


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