Alia Bhatt’s ‘darlings’ will stream straight to Netflix

Actress Alia Bhatt’s first production, Darlings, in which she also plays the lead role, will stream direct to Netflix, the platform has announced. The film starring Shefali Shah, Vijay Varma and Roshan Matthew was co-produced by Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment. Bhatt launched his production house Eternal Sunshine Productions last year.

“At Netflix, we want to entertain our members with best-in-class films, across all genres, made possible by collaborating with filmmakers who take great creative turns to tell diverse and compelling stories. With Darlings, we continue our longstanding partnership with Red Chillies Entertainment and are delighted to welcome Alia Bhatt’s first production,” said Pratiksha Rao, Director, Films & Licensing, Netflix India in a statement.

Certainly, with weaker traction and growth from OTT (over-the-top) streaming platforms during the second wave of covid, unlike the lockdown in 2020, Bollywood has slowed down its direct-to-digital movie premieres.

While top studios have waited for theaters to reopen and are now locking in theatrical release dates, many producers and actors admit not seeing the kind of traction they expected for their films on streaming platforms and that the space, despite all its exponential growth, still caters to niche audiences.

OTT platforms, on the other hand, have also streamlined their movie acquisition budgets where they can first negotiate prices on the movie’s box office performance. Theatrically released films also come with censorship board approval.

Compared to the 60-70% growth in subscribers seen at the height of the pandemic last year, monthly subscriber growth figures have stabilized at 15-20%, media analysts say . Additionally, the aggressive push to acquire movies in 2020 was born out of the desperation of streaming platforms as their content pipeline was impacted due to the filming ban.

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