As 2022 year begins, we all look forward to a better year with a lot more compelling entertainment and adventure on the small and big screens. The pandemic has changed the storytelling narrative and format and the world has discovered some of the most unique stories from ‘Squid Games’ and ‘Money Heist’ to ‘Ted Lasso’, ‘Loki’, ‘We are Lady Parts’, ‘Succession’, ‘Mare of East Town’ and more. Movies that premiered on the digital platform too saw tremendous success and accolades like ‘Jai Bhim’, ‘The Great Indian Kitchen’, ‘Drishyam 2’, ‘Sarpattai Parambarai’, ‘Sardar Udham’, ‘Cinema Bandi’ and ‘The Disciple’. This year has a strong line-up of theatrical releases starting with ace director S S Rajamouli’s magnum opus ‘RRR’ starring Ram Charan and N. T. Rama Rao Jr. on January 7. But Covid once again has thrown releases out of gear.
Irrespective of the pandemic’s effect this month, 2022 has a fantastic set of films ready for release. From B-Town, big films like Aamir Khan’s ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’, Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘s ‘Gangubai Khatiawadi’, Ranveer Singh’s ‘Jayeshbhai Jordaar’, Ranbir Kapoor’s ‘Shamshera’ and ‘Brahmastra’ and Prabhas’ ‘Adipurush’ will be hitting screens this year. While the release dates may be pushed due to the prevailing third wave, producers are looking to release their films as soon as the situation eases. These films are highly anticipated among the audience and many of them look like they will strike gold at the box office.
Heading south, apart from ‘Baahubali’ director’s ‘RRR’, there is Ajith’s ‘Valimai’, Vijay’s ‘Beast’, Kamal Haasan’s ‘Vikram’, Mahesh Babu’s ‘Sarkaaru Vaari Paata’, Yash’s ‘KGF: Chapter 2’, Madhavan’s ‘Rocketry’, Prabhas’ ‘Radhe Shyam’, Vijay Devarakonda’s ‘Liger’, Ram Charan’s ‘Acharya’ and Pawan Kalyan’s ‘Hari Hara Veera Mallu’ and ‘Bheemla Nayak’, among others. Some of these are also releasing simultaneously in other languages including Hindi given that the heroes have a strong market across numerous regions. However, entertainment is not just limited to the big screen but the thriving world of OTT also has a plethora of offerings for the discerning viewer.
While there is a rising demand for OTT content, there is a request for producers and directors: the need for quality content. The clamour for content by OTT platforms – international and Indian – saw many web series and films in numerous languages release with a lot of fanfare. While some were stellar like ‘The Family Man 2’, ‘Kota Factory 2’, and ‘Tabbar’, many didn’t make the mark and were below average. The realisation that the south market is as important for OTT platforms as the Hindi one, had OTT platforms scrambling to bring on board content from well-known south directors. Again, much of it is not worth mentioning.
It is imperative for producers and OTT platforms to learn from the successes and debacles of the last two years and strive to provide top-notch content for the audience. The competition has increased exponentially in the OTT space (with platforms still trying to figure out pricing strategy) and the audience is no longer willing to take yearly subscriptions to an OTT that gives them just one or two good watches every few months. One must stress here that original content is the way to go and more new talent has to be onboarded be it writers, directors or actors – especially writers. With pricing also turning competitive and a lot of free content available on platforms like YouTube, getting and retaining subscribers is the biggest challenge now. And that can only be fulfilled by top quality content. So here’s wishing everyone a fun and entertaining 2022!