COVID-19 is crushing India’s prolific film industry.
According to a report from CNN, now is supposed to be the busiest time for Bollywood releases in particular: school exams are over but Hollywood’s blockbusters are still a couple of months away, making it the perfect time to release India’s big flicks.
Instead, COVID-19 has sparked lockdowns the world over, including all across India.
Film studios have been forced to delay releases — including at least two major films that were expected to carry the season – the action film “Sooryavanshi” starring Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif and the cricket biopic “83” featuring Ranveer Singh.
According to Shubhra Gupta, a film critic for the Indian Express newspaper: “The films were huge. There was a huge deal of anticipation from the audiences. It’s a big loss.”
How big of a loss exactly?
Komal Nahta, a film trade analyst and television host of “ETC Bollywood Business says the pandemic has likely cost India’s film industry more than $330 million in lost box office revenue and canceled production shoots.
According to Gupta, this will have a cascading effect, impacting the entire slate of movies for 2020.
Even if movie theaters do reopen, they will continue to lose money since they will likely be unable to seat full crowds.
While Bollywood films often dominate the industry, there are other significant film sectors in India, including Tollywood (Telugu language), along with films made in Marathi, Bhojpuri and Bengali.