Friday, 20 November 2020
On November 9, Akshay Kumar's Laxmii dropped on Disney+Hotstar. Only a day later, a video parlour in Madhya Pradesh screened the horror-comedy to an audience of 70-odd people — the first of many shows to come. Trade circles have been abuzz with rumours that pirated versions of the movie have been playing at several single-screen theatres and video parlours in smaller towns of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
The development was highlighted by trade analyst Komal Nahta, who explained that these cinemas usually buy screening rights from distributors. However, when the monies don't work out, they often resort to screening films illegally and pocket the collections. "[Exhibitors] in metros won't dare to do it, but cinema owners in smaller towns — say, in Madhya Pradesh — are screening the film. I won't name the cinemas, but it has come to a point where people have resorted to piracy for survival," explains Nahta, adding that the theatre shutdown was a severe blow for exhibitors across the country.