Highly anticipated theatrical titles “Coolie No 1,” with Varun Dhawan, and “Chhalaang,” starring Rajkummar Rao, are amongst films across five Indian languages that will bow directly on Amazon Prime Video India, bypassing cinemas.
The films were due to release over the summer, but the spread of the coronavirus pandemic saw Indian cinemas shutter in March. They will begin reopening Oct. 15, after seven months.
Beginning with Amazon acquiring “Gulabo Sitabo,” starring Amitabh Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana in May, several films originally meant for theatrical release have been diverted to Amazon, and rival streamers Netflix, Disney Plus Hotstar and Zee5, among others, while cinemas remained closed.
Amazon’s new slate includes three films from the Hindi-language Bollywood industry. David Dhawan’s comedy “Coolie No 1” also stars Sara Ali Khan (“Kedarnath”), while Ashok G’s thriller “Durgavati” stars Bhumi Pednekar (“Bala”). Social comedy “Chhalaang” (pictured) is by Hansal Mehta (“Aligarh”), and besides Rao, who won the Variety Asia rising star award in 2017, the film also features Nusrat Bharucha (“Dream Girl”). “Irrespective of the film releasing in OTT or cinema halls it is important that after watching ‘Chhalaang,’ the audience will feel inspired and get entertained,” Mehta told Variety.
Dhilip Kumar’s Tamil-language romantic drama “Maara” stars Madhavan and Shraddha Srinath, while Vinod Anantoju’s Telugu-language whimsical tale “Middle Class Melodies,” stars Anand Deverakonda.
The slate also includes Malayalam-language comedy “Halal Love Story” directed by Zakariya Mohammed (“Sudani from Nigeria”) that stars Indrajith Sukumaran, Joju George, Soubin Shahir and Parvathy Thiruvothu. There are two Kannada-language films, Karthik Saragur’s family entertainer “Bheemasena Nalamaharaja,” starring Aravinnd Iyer and Aarohi Narayan, and Vivy Kathiresan’s horror thriller “Manne Number 13,” featuring Varsha Bollamma and Chetan Gandharva.
The films will begin becoming available on the service from mid-October.