Getting audience to theatres post lockdown a challenge: Uri director

Aditya Dhar won the best director award for Uri: The Surgical Strike at the 66th National Film Awards last year

Aditya Dhar, director, National Awards, Uri: The Surgical Strike, Vicky Kaushal, coronavirus, COVID-19
Dhar hopes that someone someday makes a film that will underline the heroic efforts of the medical fraternity during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bollywood filmmaker Aditya Dhar feels that the nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country has altered the movie viewing experience of people.

Dhar believes that in the post-coronavirus world, it will be a challenge to ensure the survival of cinema houses as the audiences have got more used to the streaming services.

Dhar, who debuted as a director in Bollywood with his blockbuster film Uri: The Surgical Strike, said “In the kind of situation we are in, I believe when everything gets normal it will be a little bit of a challenge to get the audience back to theatre because they are used to digital content, web series, films just by sitting at home.”

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The COVID-19 pandemic has put the industry under heavy stress as release of many movies have been delayed due to the closure of cinema houses, while production on various projects has been put on hold.

In an interview with PTI, Dhar said that the key to lure audiences back into the cinema halls would be “big event films”.

“The best way is to make big event films and that is the natural progression that is happening everywhere around the world, including the US and China. All the major markets are getting into big event films. It is high time we give Indian audience event films, which brings them to theatres,” he said.

Amid the lockdown, which has left no choice for filmmakers and actors other than staying in home quarantine, Dhar has started preparing for his next directorial Ashwatthama, again starring the Uri fame Vicky Kaushal as the lead.

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“I was kind of prepared for isolation because I’m used to it. It is not something which is affecting me quite a lot. But it is very unfortunate, the reason why the isolation has happened. I am busy writing my next Ashwatthama and it is going pretty well,” the 36-year-old writer said.

“When things were not going right for me, writing was the only thing that kept my equilibrium right, it has always been a do-it thing when I feel sad or lonely or low,” he added.

The filmmaker said writing has always been his saviour whenever things didn’t go his way.

“In the last 10 to 12 years when things were not going my way, I was just writing scripts. I have a bank of ten to 12 scripts for web-series, films and short films. Right now all my focus is on my Ashwatthama,” Dhar said.

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He hopes that someone someday makes a film that will underline the heroic efforts of the medical fraternity during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I hope the kind of situation we are in will inspire some writers to write more about things that are going to affect our children, our future and our next generation. I am hoping everyone understands what the medical professionals are doing, like a story from their perspective, how they are fighting and trying to save lives. I hope we understand the value of these people, who are standing in front line to save all of us,” he said.

The writer-director said he hopes the current scenario is an eye opener for everyone around the world, adding that “This was something that was inevitable. Unfortunately it shouldn’t have been this way. We need to get our act right and sort this out.”

Dhar won the best director award for Uri: The Surgical Strike at the 66th National Film Awards last year.

He also won the best debut director title at the 65th Filmfare Awards this year.

(With inputs from agencies)

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