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Bengali films hanging fire amid pandemic blues

Producers and distributors of Bengali films, still reeling under losses incurred last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, had seen a sliver of hope when the numbers declined around November, but the second wave dealt yet another blow to the industry, leaving several big-budget projects hanging fire.

With multiplexes downing shutters due to the lockdown, and single-screens indefinitely closed, several films, some of them much-awaited, have hit a roadblock, including legendary actor Soumitra Chatterjee’s biopic ‘Abhijaan’, which was scheduled to be released in May.

Another biopic on footballer Nagendra Prasad Sarbadhikari, ‘Golondaaj’ — featuring superstar Dev — was scheduled for release in August, but the pandemic having assumed sinister proportion, the production company – Shree Ventatesh Films (SVF) — is reconsidering the decision, its spokesperson said.

Blockbuster ‘Belaseshe’ prequel ‘Belashuru’ has also been delayed indefinitely.

A spokesperson of leading Bengali OTT service Hoichoi, however, said ‘Golondaaj’, along with ‘Psycho’ and ‘Kakababu’, will be having its global premiere on the platform, “as and when they are released in theatres”.

“We have plans to acquire more films. Our platform will cater to those audiences who are willing to watch films from the comfort of their homes,” she said.

Actor-turned-filmmaker Parambrata Chatterjee, who helmed ‘Abhijaan’, said the fight against the pandemic takes precedence, and everything else can wait.

He, however, noted that ‘Abhijaan’ will be getting its world premiere at London Indian Film Festival next month.

Award-winning actor Ritwik Chakraborty said two of his films “Dharmajuddha’ and ‘Binisutoy’ have been put on hold, and not much can be said about the tentative dates of their release. Republic World

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