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Change is Inevitable
Motion pictures or cinema have undergone a sea change from Lumiere Brothers and Georges Mélièsto Christopher Nolan and Martin Scorsese. From silent movies to talkies and then black and white to color, things changed rapidly. It was not just the way movies were made, but the technology that changed along with the medium it was shown in. Add to it the purpose and the stories.
Closer home, in India, DadasahebPhalke started with the first full-length motion picture Raja Harishchandra in 1913, and after a few years, many others like ArdeshirIrani, Chittoor V Nagaiah, and V Shantaram took it upon themselves to develop the movie industry. The City of Mumbai (then Bombay) became the hub for movies while another base was developing simultaneously in Chennai (Telugu cinema). This way, films became a medium to showcase the ancient Indian culture and tell the people the folktales and traditional stories. Then came Satyajit Ray and then the Kapoors and many others in every pocket of India.
Thus one thing was certain: Change was, is, and will be the order of the day, and everyone has to adapt. A ‘Great Shift’ is underway. One of the best free movie streaming platforms is 123movies.
Cinema goes digital
Until recently, a famous tagline for most movies would ‘Coming soon…. To a theatre near you’. When cinema has gone digital in this day and age, it is natural to expect even the viewing to go digital. Watching films in a closed setting/theatres is an unforgettable experience always, and it has a certain fashion attached to it. The old-timers will always prefer theatre to OTT (Over-the-top) platforms. However, as things change, the way movies are financed to change and, thus, the way it is distributed fundamentally altered. The mode of film distribution and film making in the 50s and 60s was not the same as in the 90s and ’00s.Similarly,two decades later, that the mechanism is getting altered with the rise in technology is a given. Adapting to it is the key.
The Great Shift
Thus, I would call this the ‘Great Shift’ as there’s a very significant change occurring thanks to the Internet. Movies are being made at much less cost (depending on the kind of stories, effects used), exceptions notwithstanding, and the whole industry as a concept is getting decentralized. So is the viewing. Theatre experience aside, it is comfort and ease that drives viewership of movies in the present age. People who used to pay 200/- to watch one movie are now paying a similar amount every 2-3 months as a subscription to watch as many as they can on OTT platforms like Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hot Star. This has given filmmakers a new avenue to make OTT specific content and thus reduce dependency on conventional film networks. Most web series are becoming major hits as they either connect with normal people’s lives or reflect present-day society. Movies have become content-driven and no longer are star-driven ones clicking with the audience despite fan following everywhere.
Thus, such media’s future is bright. It gives the makers and consumers more freedom to create and consume new-age content sans any pressures like those seen in movie industries where there’s a certain hold on the kind of content that is permissible. Thus bright days lie ahead for online films.