Amazon Prime Video, Amazon's streaming service, will screen several new Indian films originally meant for theatrical release, sparking protests from cinema owners as the novel coronavirus outbreak upends Bollywood.
India has been under a strict lockdown since March 25 to battle the virus, leaving about 9,500 theatres shut and depriving Bollywood of box-office revenue.
So, producers of seven films, including two Bollywood movies starring A-listers, such as Amitabh Bachchan and Vidya Balan, will stream the movies directly on Amazon Prime Video following a deal, the company said in a recent statement.
Gulabo Sitabo?, a family comedy with Bachchan and Ayushmann Khurrana, which was set for release in April, will now stream directly on Amazon Prime Video in June, as will Shakuntala Devi?, a biopic of the Indian mathematician of the same name.
Two of India's biggest cinema chains, Inox and PVR, who were meant to screen Gulabo Sitabo?, bemoaned the decision.
"INOX will be constrained to examine its options, and reserves all rights, including taking retributive measures, in dealing with such fair-weather friends," Inox said in a statement.
The producers' guild said the comments from Inox were "abrasive and unconstructive".