The trailer of Coolie No 1 has mass written all over it. Many in the trade and exhibition sector had expected this film to release in cinemas, especially in single screens. After all, the Varun Dhawan-Sara Ali Khan starrer is a true-blue masala entertainer and would have created a riot in cinemas. However, the film was sold to Amazon Prime Video many months back, at a time when there was no idea as to when theatres would open. Now that theatres have restarted, many wondered if a hybrid release of the film, that is, in cinemas as well as digital, would be possible.
Unfortunately, that won’t happen. A source says, “The multiplexes were never in favour of a simultaneous release in OTT as well as in cinemas. However, the single screen cinema owners had no qualms with this arrangement. They believed that their target audience did not have access to the streaming giant and would be more than happy to see Coolie No. 1 in cinemas. Hence, a discussion was initiated between the exhibitors, Varun Dhawan, director David Dhawan, producer Vashu Bhagnani, and Amazon Prime. Amazon heard out their request for a hybrid release and assured that they would come back with their answer.”
The source then continues, “But after a few days, the Amazon Prime team put their foot down and made it amply clear that they would want the film to be available exclusively on their platform. They had a justification behind this decision since the Amazon team had paid a decent sum for Coolie No. 1’s OTT premiere. Therefore they were not in consensus for sharing the movie theatrically and hence, ruled out the possibility of its theatrical release. The makers tried to persuade them, however they didn’t relent. Needless to say, the makers as well as the single screen owners are miffed and disappointed with this decision.”
A trade expert adds, “David ji makes films for the masses. For the longest time, he was against the idea of a digital release but later had to give in since the pandemic refused to die down. When the possibility of a release in theatres arose, I am sure he must have lapped it up. It would have been fun to catch this film on the big screen amidst seetis and teelis from the audiences.”