Rohit Shetty on box office success of Sooryavanshi: People told me nobody will come to theatres
Rohit Shetty (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Director Rohit Shetty’s latest directorial Sooryavanshi is unstoppable at the box office. The film, which released on 5th November, coinciding with Diwali, has been doing phenomenal business ever since entering theatres.
Shetty says that the humongous success of the film is yet to sink in as the film’s release was a tough battle of 19 months, where his team “fought” the pandemic, nationwide lockdown and naysayers who thought no one will step into a cinema hall to watch the cop action drama.
Featuring superstar Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif in lead roles, Sooryavanshi has been credited to revive the exhibition sector for Hindi cinema after the industry was severely hit due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The film was originally planned to be released in March 2020 but was delayed indefinitely after cinema halls shut following the nationwide lockdown. When a new release date of March this year was announced, the makers had to push the movie again due to the second wave of the pandemic.
In an interview with PTI, Shetty said holding on to the project for 19 months was not easy and recalled how his decision to release the film in theatres was being deemed a fatal move. “We fought for almost 19 months, where everyone told me my decision was wrong. Even till Thursday a lot of people were like, ‘He has gone mad, nobody is going to come to theatres.’ But there was a belief that they would come. We analysed a lot of things – the Ganesh Utsav, Navratri, how schools and malls started opening up, and how people started going back to work.”
“When all of this was happening, I knew people would come to the theatres. Someone had to take the first step. I knew I had to take the risk and now I think it was worth taking. It was not just about me but the livelihood of all those connected to the theatrical business,” the filmmaker added.
While he patiently held fast to the film, the director said several streaming platforms had approached him with lucrative offers to buy the project for a digital release. Shetty, however, was certain that he wanted to see his film only on the big screen, even as people were writing off the future of cinema halls.
“People said, ‘Cinema halls are dead, there is no future of films theatrically’ but I wasn’t worried. There were offers from OTT for the film, there was a lot of discussion in my office that we should move on. But I didn’t want to, I wanted to wait. We would have been in huge, much more profit when it would have come 19 months or 15 months ago when we started getting the offers. But I had a firm belief that it was made for cinema (halls) and it should come there,” he added.
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