In wake of the new government restrictions across various states in the country, Indian filmmakers have shifted their release dates and postponed all January movies for a later date. With a steep rise in fresh cases of coronavirus across India, the signs were there as 2021 came to an end. The movie theatres have been shut down in a few states and a few others have ordered them to function with 50% occupancy.
Filmmakers began shifting their releases as early as last week of 2021. Jersey was the first one to be postponed and RRR followed it up with an announcement. Akshay Kumar’s Prithviraj and Prabhas’ Radhe Shyam have also been shifted for a later date.
The latest to make an announcement is filmmaker Karan Johar – his production, Gehraiyaan, is now slated for a February 11 release.
The film that stars Deepika Padukone, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Ananya Panday was shifted from the original release date of January 22. The film that is not slated for a theatrical release but has been shifted, Gehraiyaan will premiere on Amazon Prime Video and also stars Dhairya Karwa, Naseeruddin Shah and Rajat Kapur.
Gehraiyaan is jointly produced by Dharma Productions, Viacom18 and Shakun Batra’s Jouska Films.
Shahid Kapoor’s Jersey – a remake of Telugu movie by the same name – was the first one to be shifted from a December 31 release. It also features Mrunal Thakur. The announcement came soon after Delhi decided to shut down movie halls.
Announcing the shift in the release date, the producers said in a statement, “In view of the current circumstances and new Covid guidelines we have decided to postpone the theatrical release of our film Jersey.” Soon after the announcement, the Multiplex Association of India urged the state government in Delhi (India’s national capital) to avoid shutting down cinema halls. However, Delhi’s move was only followed by a few other states over the next few days.
The much-awaited Indian film, RRR was also slated for a January 7 release and it has been shifted for a later date. The release date for SS Rajamouli’s upcoming film is yet to be announced. RRR is headline by Ram Charan, Alia Bhatt and NT Rama Rao Jr. Ajay Devgn will also be seen in the film.
The producers said in a statement, “Despite our relentless efforts some situations are beyond our control. As many Indian states are closing theatres, we are left with no choice but to ask you to hold on to your excitement. We promise to bring back the Glory of Indian Cinema and at the right time, we will.”
Yash Raj Films’ Prithviraj was also postponed. It was originally set to hit theatres on January 21. Starring Akshay Kumar in a lead role, the movie is a historical drama that has been directed by Dr Chandraprakash Dwivedi (who made the famous 90s Hindi TV show Chanakya). Prithviraj will mark the Bollywood debut of Miss World Manushi Chillar. The film is based on Indian king Prithviraj Chauhan and also stars Sanjay Dutt, Sonu Sood, Ashutosh Rana, Manav Vij, Sakshi Tanwar and Lalit Tiwari. The producers are yet to announce a new release date for the film.
Radha Krishna Kumar’s Radhe Shyam was also scheduled for a January 14 release and has been postponed now. Set in the 1970s, Radhe Shyam also features Pooja Hegde.
The producers of the film said in a statement, “We have been trying our best for the past few days but considering the growing cases of Omicron variant it looks like we will have to wait for our labor of love to get to the big screens. Radhe Shyam is a story about love vs destiny and we are sure our love will help us ride over these tough times together. We will see you in the cinemas soon.”
As of now, only one major Indian film is slated for a theatrical release in January. Ajith Kumar’s Valimai is scheduled to release in theatres on January 13. At least six smaller Telugu films are also slated for release mid-January. Various parts of India celebrate harvesting festivals around January 13 and January 14. The Tamil film Valimai is likely to be the only major Pongal/Sankranti release this year.