Sure, this is a phase in the entertainment industry that gives media owners the chance to test waters in newer avenues, but realism is the key. Khaali Peeli, the official Hindi remake of Vijay Deverakonda’s Taxiwaala, featuring Ishaan Khatter, Ananya Pandey, is geared to release via Zee’s DTH cum digital channel Zee Plex, on October 2 where one could view the movie through pay-per-view option. While the success of the pay-per-view model could go a long way in redefining the way direct-to-digital releases are viewed, the real issue comes with the pricing.
An announcement has come earlier in the day that Khaali Peeli would be priced at Rs 299. In addition, another Tamil movie Ka Pae Ranasingam, starring Vijay Sethupathi and Aishwarya Rajesh, to release through this model has been reportedly priced at Rs 199. It’s certainly ambitious for a media brand like Zee to price a movie release that high, but are the films releasing through these avenues worth that risk?
One must realise that audiences have gone beyond the language barrier during the pandemic while watching films and being a remake of a popular Telugu film, Khali Peeli is at a relative disadvantage. Taxiwaala, the original, is also available on ZEE5 for all its subscribers, where the price a viewer pays for Khali Peeli alone can enable them to watch all movies under ZEE5 across multiple languages for half a year at least.
The prospects for Ka Pae Ranasingam sound slightly promising, given the impressive trailer, story and the commendable lead cast. Yet, the high pricing presents the danger of a viewer seeking pirated movie portals to watch it without any cost. While this cost would have made sense for a film featuring an Akshay Kumar or a Pawan Kalyan for the recovery of the budget, one must wait with bated breath to see if this model would work for Ka Pae Ranasingam and Khaali Peeli.