Movie Industry Back ThenBack in the day, going to the movies in a theatre was one of the most popular ways for people in our country to pass the time. Commercial films such as Beder Meye Josna, Shopner Thikana, Ammajan, and Keyamat Theke Keyamat then were the most popular subjects among young people. On weekends, about 200 film halls throughout the country have all been packed with enthusiastic visitors.
Not just commercial romantic films, but also films with diverse interests, such as Chutir Ghonta and Bhat De have touched people’s hearts.
What Went Wrong?This industry should have been in the sky in a few decades, right? This is where things started to become terrible. After 15 years, the industry lost its pace and it was tough to grab people’s attention. Then, what went wrong?
The lack of adaptability is the simplest answer. Bangla Cinema’s golden era of the 1980s and 1990s was marked by a flood of A-list actors, consistently entertaining screenplays, and enthusiastic audiences. Manna, Salman Shah, Nayak Raj Razzak would give back-to-back hit films. Although people’s tastes evolved over time, the content remained unchanged, and in some cases, it got even worse.
The traditional narrative that the country’s film industry had established as the gold standard was a Poor boy falling in love with a Rich girl whose Father opposes the marriage. Even in 2022, we see films with the same dull plots, despite the fact that the Bollywood, West Bengali, Tamil, and Telegu film industries are widely diversifying their movie genres and creating original works.
In this country, 150–200 movies have been released annually on average over the past few years, although almost any of them can be described as unique. The crowd stopped coming to the theatres, the charisma faded, and the industry collapsed.
Movies That Made an ImpactMovies like Aynabaji, Debi, Poran, Hawa, and Damaal were recently successful in building up a lot of anticipation. These films were distinctive because of their diverse themes and perspectives. All of these films made an effort to diverge from the standard Bengali film structure and offer something fresh. To revive the past, new talent is joining the industry, competing with other industries with exceptional audience experiences and high-quality content.
It’s clear that these films generated enough buzz to increase interest in the area, but not enough to revive the heyday of the movie theatre. The issue with these movies is that the public at large cannot be their target viewers because the majority of people are still not that perceptive.
Poor infrastructure & MultiplexesA movie ticket in a cinema hall costs between 50 and 100 taka on average. The multiplex, on the other hand, can cost anywhere from 250 to 700 taka. Because of those multiplexes’ atmosphere, people remain interested in going there even with higher ticket prices. Compared to the 200 theatres that were in the country thirty years ago, there are only 60 left by the year 2022. There is no way for the owners to even keep the place looking decent, let alone an update, due to low business. It heavily puts a negative impression on the viewers and Cineplex or Blockbuster cinema is the way to go.
Are OTT Platforms a Replacement?Though the idea is relatively new from Bangladesh’s standpoint, OTTs have given the film and theatre industries a different angle. Previously, viewers would watch Bangla dramas and telefilms on YouTube, but in recent years, the popularity of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime has created new opportunities. These expanding numbers were significantly influenced by the accessibility of the internet, the availability of many platforms, and effective promotion.
OTTs, such as Hoichoi, Chorki, and a few more, are producing high-quality content exclusively for the younger audience. To draw in the target audiences, dark thrillers, horror, and comedic movies are the top of the priority list.
OTT appears to have a bright future in this country, but it doesn’t really compete with movie theatres in the normal sense. As already mentioned, a significant portion of the population, particularly those with low incomes, lack the sophistication to frequently use OTT. They would still choose a movie theatre as a cheap entertainment option. Customers for OTT are thus restricted to a specific age range and income bracket whereas the cinema halls do not have those barriers.