I live in Bangalore. The local language is Kannada. A majority of the folks out here talk English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. It is an amazing cosmopolitan place. And so, a variety of movies gets released here. But then, there’s also an issue. Most of the money in the box office is made from the “other” languages (not from the local language kannada). And the kannada lobby has ensured a strict limit on the number of screens on which the other language movies can be played. I am not sure if this is still true, but atleast all the big budget and “star” movies gets a lot of shows in its first week.
All sounds good so far. But then, there’s absolutely very less scope for niche movies. A movie with great review, but catering to only a niche audience might be screened for a few shows in the first week of its release. And then off it goes away. The only way to watch the movie again would be by illegally downloading it. Most of the local language movies don’t take the strain to release DVDs on time. And on TV, only the blockbusters are played all the time. (I’ve already professed my issue watching anything on cable TV yesterday; they are just filled with advertisements).
In US, this problem is solved by Netflix and Amazon, amongst others. Such niche films definitely get into their library and niche filmwatchers, like me, would subscribe to it and watch.
The pirated copy of a newly released Hindi/English/Tamil/Telugu movie is available on the streets a day after its release in Bangalore. Why don’t the film makers understand that, outside its primary market, there is a huge diaspora who wants to watch movies in their local language, but aren’t carried by any of the providers.
An online platform that can provide on-demand access to local language movies would be a great innovation and might really catch up. I know a lot of my friends in US – who wants to watch Tamil movies (Tamilians obviously !). But where is the official avenue to watch the movies ? The only way would be to illegally download it and watch. Isn’t it high time to develop a platform to have the movies readily available? Atleast outside the primary market to start with? If the movies are available as pirated DVD, making them officially available would make better sense. But why aren’t the producers and distributors thinking about this?