CINEMA THEN AND CINEMA NOW

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Cinema is one of the most favourite entertainment media in India. Over the years cinema has been undergoing significant changes due to various factors.

At least a few of us would be remembering the time we used to wait for a Friday blockbuster on the Doordarshan channel. I wouldn’t be surprised if the current generation is unaware of the existence of such a channel. Because let it be Television, movies or any other media everything has changed radically.

From the times of those Friday blockbusters, movies became more accessible with the evolution of video cassettes, then CDs and DVDs. Even though the audience had a choice to decide what to watch, the available content was still limited and accessibility was less as we had to go to shops to buy or rent the CDs or DVDs to watch our favourite movies. And when Television evolved with competitive channels fighting to increase their TRPs, numerous movies became available on different channels. But here the audience had no choice to decide what to watch.

Now, let it be movies coming on televisions or content available on CDs or DVDs, to watch the latest movies, we had to be in theatres. Otherwise, we had to wait for months or years for them to come on TV or CDs.

But now we can access any movie released anywhere in the world at any time with a few clicks on different OTT platforms.

From the days of the first day first shows, Houseful boards, and 100 crore club tags industry has changed to binge-watching and virtual watch parties.

The OTT platforms dominated the industry recently with the pandemic and extended lockdowns. Now more quality contents are getting released every day across different platforms. The competition is very high. To gain more views or to become a hit on an OTT platform, content has to be of good quality. With numerous OTTs and millions of contents, online creators have to stick to quality content to stand the competition.

Moreover, OTT helps content reach millions of audiences with a minimum cost of formal releases and traditional ad promotions. This enables low-budget movies to reach millions of viewers with minimum risks. We have seen a lot of such small movies with no superstars getting widely appreciated on these platforms. As the language and country barriers no longer persist in the OTT world, regional movies are getting a wide appreciation which was very limited with big-screen releases. Before these movies used to get released in local theatres but now through OTTs, the whole world can watch them.

Newspaper ads or notices used to be the promotion methods in the earlier days of cinema. Later it changed to TV ads and now social media promotions are the key. The method of ‘mouth publicity’ became stronger through social media through youtube and blog reviews, movie discussion groups on different platforms etc.

Earlier 2 and half hours or more was the traditional length of a movie. But later it reduced the less than 2 hours. And short movies with less than half an hour duration also came into place. Recently there is a lot of good contents coming with less duration. And this has helped a lot of creators to make movies with less budget and less crew.

Overall the attention span of people has reduced. People are hesitant to go for longer movies and they prefer movies that are short and good. It has in turn improved the quality of the content as creators can present some quality stories which do not require a 2 hour or 2 and half hour duration. Earlier these movies struggled to make it to theatres or television.

Technology has also revolutionized movies. Using various VFX methods creators can make the impossible possible on screen.

With the pandemic and lockdowns in place, creators are forced to create contents with less crew. To create new contents in the current scenario they need to look for scripts that do not include a major number of people, malls, streets, railway stations etc. And some great contents are coming which are shot within these limitations.

It will take a significant amount of time for the industry to go back to normal. Until then the industry has to adapt according to the circumstances to keep the show running.

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