Amitabh Bachchan who was seen attending the 25th Kolkata International Film Festival gave a speech where he spoke about the concerns of the future of movie theatres in the digital entertainment age nad suggested how films should first be released on big screens and then online platforms and devices.
He in his speech said, “Today when men and women are toiling in the Indian film industry shoulder to shoulder, we also have several options for viewing content in the comfort of our homes. Yet the thrill of watching movies on the big screen remains unmatched. We need to find ways to protect these traditions. I like the idea of pictures first showing in cinema halls, and then, perhaps, going to streaming and other devices. I am a loyalist to that degree.”
Amitabh spoke about how the taste of the audiences moves fast to fresh digital content or online streaming and how he wanted to draw attention to the fact that films are primarily made for entertainment and hence that draws the audiences to the theatres. Hence he was left wondering what the future holds for movie viewing. He asked, “Will the allure of cinema watched in move halls soon become nostalgic memories? Will studios gobble each other up, and smaller movies struggle to survive and big brand titles tank at the box office.”
Even digital platforms like Netflix and Amazon are revolutionizing the way people watch films, so he asked, “So what happens next? Can classics like ‘Gone with the Wind’ or ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ be watched on the small screen with the same excitement that had originally made them blockbusters? Can the magic of Satyajit Ray’s trilogy or his classic ‘Jalshaghar’ be captured with the same amount of sensitivity on a small laptop or on a mobile phone? What about David Lean’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia’? Can its magnificent panorama be confined to limited digital space.”
Amitabh also spoke about what must be done to make sure more people visit the theatres, as he stressed on realistic pricing of tickets and good content. He also revealed how moviemakers should also keep in mind the tastes of the knowledgeable modern-day youth. He further spoke about how young viewers today have been exposed to international cinema, television, and the arts. The youth want high-quality entertainment, avenues to satisfy their evolved sensibilities. Thus he stated that we must pledge to give it to them with the same enthusiasm as our early pioneers.