Kamal Haasan has taken a revolutionary step with his decision to air his new film, Vishwaroopam, on DTH a day ahead of its theatrical release.
You can watch the film at home, a day before it hits the theatre, for Rs 1,000.
In a statement on Sunday, the actor justified his decision, saying the screening would not affect the film's collections at the box-office.
"Only three per cent of people in Tamil Nadu have DTH connections in their homes," he said. "In that 3 per cent, only 1.5 per cent are expected to subscribe for Vishwaroopam. The film can not be recorded and it can be watched only once."
Kamal makes the point that films will always have a wider audience, wherever you decide to watch it. "There are good cooks and great kitchens in many houses. But don't people still go to hotels? People have not stopped going to Tirupathi just because they have images of Lord Vishnu on their calendars," Kamal said, adding that people will surely also visit theaters to watch Vishwaroopam.
Distributors and theatre owners may have a varying point of view, but what does this decision mean for the average movie-goer?
A visit to a movie theatre ranks right up there on the weekend entertainment plans of most Indian families. Indian audiences are responsive and emotional, and there's no better way to enjoy a movie than with the crowd - especially on the first day of a release.
But things are changing. The cost of tickets, and the attendant benefits of a movie-going experience - like popcorn and snacks - have shot up. Most theatres still don't have mobile jammers - and it's annoying to listen to loud, parallel conversations while you're trying to focus on a movie. Commuting is a nightmare in most overcrowded Indian cities. And parking in a multiplex is rarely cheap or easy. Critically-acclaimed small films rarely get a good run, or a convenient slot.
So, will Kamal Haasan's move lead to more such releases in the future? As a movie lover, would you still prefer to watch movies on the big screen, or do you think it's cheaper and more convenient to watch movies at home? Will this curb piracy? Do you agree with the actor that our audience is too vast, and that this form of release wouldn't hurt theatres? Where will you watch Vishwaroopam: Would you skip the theatre if you can watch the film at home?
We'd love to hear from you. Leave your comments below.