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The OTT platforms operating in India over the last four years have come a full circle. Having so far sanctioned episodic streaming content, and bought ready-to-beam films, these platform-operating companies will now produce films. These ventures will be undertaken, albeit, in collaboration with established production houses, preferably with one run and owned by an actor or a regular production house with a good standing. Makes things easier that way.
Amazon Prime is the first to make an announcement to actively get involved in filmmaking. The company’s first venture will be “Ram Setu”. Disney+ Hotstar is expected to enter production as well, and an announcement can be expected by September this year. Not long ago, the way films are made in India changed drastically when the big-buck corporate houses entered the scene. They went after names rather than content and ended up backing projects instead of creativity. Script and other aspects took a backseat as long as a maker could put together a project, the star cast, and, mainly, the stars’ cooperation.
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These corporate entities’ style was to grant a hundred or two hundred crores to a filmmaker and assign him/her to make, say, two or three films! Nothing else mattered. Not surprising then, that just about every so-called corporate production house had to finally call it quits as far as production activities went. Actually, more than producing films, they were just outsourcing film production.
What these production houses did was drastically change the financial workings of filmmaking in India. The volumes of monies involved suddenly changed to crores from lakhs. Stars whose films barely managed to cross one crore collections at the box office were granted budgets twice the amount. The media celebrated when collection figures of Rs 300 or 400 crore were issued! If that was true, these companies would still be around doing business!
That makes one think, how did the production houses of yore last for decades and deliver film after film, not deterred by a flop once in a while? They knew their job well. There were producers like Eagle Films, Shakti Samanta, Pramod Chakravorty, Sippy Films, Uttam Chitra, Rupam Chitra, Arjun Hingorani, Manoj Kumar, Raj Kapoor, SK Kapur. There were numerous producers to count, accounting for about 150 new films releasing every year!
Today, their heirs still enjoy the benefits of those negatives (as these assets are called). All the new media that comes up, spells money for them. These films earned from video rights (which fell for renewal every three or five years), television rights, satellite rights, and now OTT rights. Filmmaking in those days, in most cases, involved everybody in the business, a financer, distributor, as well as exhibitor. The risk was shared. A producer of earnest reputation enjoyed continual loyalty of his distributors, film after film. He did not have to go looking for new buyers.
When a distributor announced the acquisition of a new film, he had to pay regular installments to the producer as the production progressed. The distributors, in turn, were paid by the exhibitors of his circuit as a token of goodwill. It was a nice, one-for-all and all-for-one way of working. How things changed with the arrival of corporate houses! As it turned out, they became financiers of films with little concern about content.
The easy and unlimited bankrolling of film production will become scarce now. Wary of big films going to OTT, exhibition chains are reported to have invested in the compilation of some big-ticket films. But as things look now, the mid-range films will become a norm. Now that the OTT streaming companies like Amazon prime have decided to get into the production of films, one only wishes that the weight is more on content rather than stars who would assure the first-day audience. OTT is not at all about the initial draw and more about word-of-mouth promotion.
With Covid-19 changing the way things worked, the film industry was among the biggest sufferers. Film productions as well as exploitation had come to a standstill. With millions invested, filmmakers opted to reach out to their audience through OTT streaming platforms. It was a dicey situation for the cinemas. Lockdown helped OTT tighten its grip. But, there were films that were meant for the big screen and needed a lot to recover costs.
A studio in Hollywood proposed a simultaneous release of films on cinema screens and OTT. But, the one mode proposed now, with Amazon Prime entering production, seems reasonable — that a film will have its premiere release in the cinemas, with the digital media following after four weeks. The best of films don’t last longer than that in cinemas since the release strategy now involves spreading a film’s exploitation thin. With 3,500 to 4,500 screens opening a new film simultaneously across the country, the audience is consumed within a few days. Nothing is left to recoup from the cinemas thereafter.
This release strategy is fated to become a norm. Recently, a Hyderabad company, Net5Media, is reported to have acquired the rights of as many as 100 foreign film titles with a similar release plan: four weeks in cinemas and on OTT thereafter. The one positive for the Indian films that one can envisage due to this arrangement would be a better and wider exposure to our films. And “Ram Setu” would seem to be the right opener. The film showcases Indian culture, history, beliefs, and mythology to the world. With the involvement of Dr. Chandra Prakash Dwivedi, a historian, writer, and actor, with the project, the film should be worth watching. (IANS/SP)
Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.
The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:
#1: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. In addition to three high-altitude passes and five river valley crossings, this is the only trip in the Himalayas that includes seven alpine lakes, each of which is a stunning shade of green, blue, or turquoise. The extravagance is limitless and breathtakingly stunning every day: infinite blue sky, a larger-than-life backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, colourful meadows overflowing with wildflowers, river crossings are just a few examples of what you will encounter during the trek.
You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. | Photo by prayer flags on Unsplash
#2: Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora Trek: The Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora trek is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into Kashmir's undiscovered regions. Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey that is the perfect experience for anyone looking to get away from the frantic tourist rush. This trek is a fascinating journey that allows nature enthusiasts to bask in the splendour of nature's grandeur. The trek goes over many high mountain passes, some as high as 4000 metres in elevation. The hiking route, in addition to providing breathtaking views of the magnificent Vishansar Lake, provides visitors with the chance to see more than 50 alpine lakes.
Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey. | Photo by YASER NABI MIR on Unsplash
ALSO READ: Top 10 Beautiful Sights To VIsit In Kashmir
#3: Tral-Narastan-Marsar Trek: The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. The hiking trail passes past a waving saffron field, beautiful meadows, and several streams. The path also crosses the Dachigam National Park, where there is an opportunity to see various animal species. Trekkers may take in spectacular views of the high mountains running parallel to them as they cut and pass through Narastan, a Hindu pilgrimage place.
The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. | Wikimedia Commons
#4: Chhatargul-Mahlish-Gangabal: The journey, which passes through beautiful locations such as Chattargul, Mahlish, Kolsar, and Trunkul, provides a peek into an utterly uninhabited wilderness of Kashmir. There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one trek into the alpine wilderness. Trekkers can also enjoy fishing in the crystal clear lakes, camping, or just seeing towering snow-capped mountains while on their journey.
There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one treks into the alpine wilderness. | Wikimedia Commons
#5: Kolahoi Base Camp Trek: The Kolahoi Base Camp trek in Kashmir has been famous since the early 1900s and has been a goal for many seasoned hikers from across the world. While Srinagar serves as the beginning point for the trip, it is in Aru Valley that the actual hiking begins. The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. The breathtaking sight of the peaks rising into the sky on the horizon of the Pirpanjal and Karakoram ranges is certainly worth capturing. It is considered to be one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley.
he Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. | Wikimedia Commons
Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere. Trekking through various valleys and peaks while taking in the scenic beauty is something that always calms the heart and provides us with memories that we will remember for a lifetime.
Keywords: Kashmir, Lakes, Alpine, Hiking, Trekking, Treks, Sonamarg, Gangabal, Kolahoi, Chhatargul, Mahlish, Tral, Narastan, Marsar
The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.
It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.
For fifteen days, prayers are offered in temples and rituals are performed to help the souls get free from the cycle of birth, life, and death, and attain salvation.
At the same time, the Pitru Paksha is also an important period for people with Pitru Dosha, which means the curse imposed by the ancestors. Hence, in order to ask forgiveness, people perform Shradh rituals and offer food to the crows, who are considered as living beings that represent the dead. It is believed, if the crow eats the offered food, the ancestors are happy and pleased. But, if the crow doesn't eat the offered food and flies away, the ancestors are not happy.
The event of Pitru Paksha is widely observed by Hindus from all over the world, and they perform prayers and rituals in order to gain their ancestors blessings.
At the heart of Bangalore city, a large 300-acre space of lush greenery and heritage stands as a symbol of the city's past, present, and future. Cubbon Park is every child's favourite park, every Bangalorean's haven of fresh air, and altogether, the city's pride.
It stands testament to the past, in terms of the diversity of flora it houses. Bangalore traffic in the recent past has grown into a menace, but the stretch between MG Road and Cubbon Park is always a pleasurable place to stop and wait for the signal to turn green. The gust of wind that blows here, and the smell of mud, coupled with floral scents instantly transports citizens to Old Bangalore, where the weather was fine, and the trees loomed over roads with thick canopies that did not even allow rainwater to penetrate. Cubbon Park is also a historical site, and one of the few remaining monuments of colonial heritage in Central Bangalore. It houses many statues and among them, the most famous is that of Queen Victoria, which faces the St. Mark's Square.
The stretch outside Cubbon Park is cool and well-shaded from the canopy of trees over it. Image source: wikimedia commons
At present, Cubbon Park is known for the cultural hub that it is. It houses Jawahar Bal Bhavan, which is a large theatre that hosts film festivals through the year. Festivals, poetry open mics, and other such shows are conducted on the lawns every Sunday. A small stream runs through the park, where boat rides are held occasionally when the water level is high enough. There is a children's park on one corner, and a government-maintained aquarium, two-storeys tall, with exotic fish.
The Park has been renamed many times in the past. It was originally named Meade's Park, after Sir John Meade, the acting commissioner of Mysore in 1870. It was later changed to Cubbon Park after Sir Mark Cubbon, who was the longest-serving commissioner of the Mysore state. In 1927, the park was renamed after the Mysore Maharaja Sri Krishna Wodeyar, to celebrate his silver jubilee, since the park was developed during the reign of his ancestors. Even though it is officially named Sri Chamrajendra Park, it is still known as Cubbon Park all over the city. In fact, Bangalore was alluded the sobriquet of 'Garden City' because of the rich botanical diversity of this park.
Art Installation at Cubbon Park Image source: wikimedia commons
In many parts of the country, governments have renamed structures, places, and cities to remove traces of colonialism. But, in a city like Bangalore, there is too much evidence of the British rule. Many of the most prominent attractions of the city are known by their British identities despite the change in name. Even the city's name continues to be Bangalore, despite having been changed to Bengaluru. Last year, the British era and its achievements were celebrated in Cubbon Park when Sir Mark Cubbon's statue was moved from the grounds of the Karnataka High Court and placed in the Park.
Keywords: Cubbon Park, Mark Cubbon, British Colonialism, Cultural hub, Garden City