The entire world has been affected by the Corona Virus and this Pandemic has already claimed lakhs and lakhs of lives with the number of those affected, increasing exponentially day by day in India. Tamil Nadu, in particular, has a massive rise in numbers in recent days. The film industry is among the few industries which still is in a dormant phase with permissions being denied to resume shooting for movies. Even the theatres across the country remain shut till now. Yesterday, theatre industry was taken by a shock when Suriya’s Soorarai Pottru was announced to release directly on OTT. We got in touch with veteran theatre owner and association president Tirupur Subramaniam to share his thought about Suriya’s decision. This is what he had to say: 

“It’s a sad news for all theatre owners that an actor of Suriya’s calibre preferring to release his films on OTT platforms rather than theatres because, all theatres have been shut down for over 200 days and the central government is discussing to reopen the theatres by the 1st of September and when the theatres re-open, we need 3 to 4 big films releasing in our theatres to bring people back to theatres. And when you release such good big films on OTT, how will the audience come to the theatre. Even the actor and producer need to be responsible for the welfare of theatre owners. Ask him to release his other films which have not completed yet, just because, he has completed shoot for the film, he cannot release the film as he wishes. Soorarai Pottru is not a big budget film, it is his own production and his salary is the only major cost for the film. But we theatre owners have a debt of 40 to 50 crores and we are suffering more than these producers and actors. What Suriya has done now is atrocious and unacceptable. There are so many producers who are waiting for theatres to reopen, is only Suriya paying debts? Every producer is paying their instalment amount just like Suriya. 
The cinema industry is over 100 years old, when TV’s sales grew, people said that the theatre business would fall, same thing happened with VCR was got famous, then we had 24 hours channel, then we had internet, piracy and now we have OTT. But theatre business will never fall, it will sustain no matter what because the experience in watching a film in theatre. For example, take Vijay’s Gilli film, the film collected 20 crores in Tamil Nadu upon its release in 2004. Now after 15 years, Vijay’s films like Mersal and Bigil have collected 80 crores in Tamil Nadu. Vijay’s market has grown 4 times bigger. Look at the growth of cinema in the last 15 years. So, a TV, VCD, or Tamilrockers, none of it can destroy the theatre business. So, we are not scared of OTT but this is a pandemic period, and every industry is suffering. So, we need the help of big films.”