Theatre vs OTT: Sooryavanshi, Radhe, The Girl on the Train – all 2021 releases that should be the perfect fit for big screens or digital platforms

With the buzz that Sooryavanshi, Bollywood’s most talked about film since 2019, might go the OTT way if talks between its producers and theatre owners fail, trade pundits are reluctantly admitting that after the lockdown not all films should look at theatrical releases. The smaller ones would in fact fare better on OTT. The Centre has finally allowed theatres to operate at 100% capacity maintaining Covid protocols. But makers of films like Sooryavanshi, 83 and Maidaan whose flicks were mounted on lavish scale to be big screen experiences are unhappy at the poor response theatres opening in November at 50% capacity received.

It’s a Catch-22 situation. No big producer risked a theatrical release at 50% seating capacity with the lockdown not totally lifted. So smaller productions like Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari, Madam Chief Minister, Ram Prasad Ki Tehrvi, Indoo Ki Jawani and Kaagaz bravely took the plunge. However, audiences were unimpressed. This was pre-vaccine Covid days with cases and deaths high. If people were going to take the chance of stepping out for a film then they would only do that for Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn, the Bollywood Khans and other A-listers. Not small stars. So shows ran empty.

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Then Bollywood’s lionheart Salman Khan decided to break the impasse and announced that his actioner Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai would release in theatres on May 14 for Eid. The makers of John Abraham’s vigilante sequel Satyameva Jayate 2 also picked that date for their release. Several films that were pushed from 2020 are eyeing the box office ticket window now that theatres are ready to run at 100% capacity. Will that signal a natural death for OTT? Some of these films will be big money grossers that will draw the crowd to the theatres. Others might do better if they release on digital platforms.

After talking to trade pundits, distributors, and producers, has compiled a list of films that would pull the crowds to theatres and those that would find their target audience and better business online. A few of these have already booked their slots for release on several streaming platforms. Here are the bifurcation of all the films eyeing a release in 2021 that should try their luck in theatres or OTT:



Radhe:Your Most Wanted Bhai 


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KGF: Chapter 2

Satyameva Jayate 2


Heropanti 2

Laal Singh Chaddha

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Bell Bottom





Jayeshbhai Jordaar


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Gangubai Kathiawadi

Antim: The Final Truth

Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui

Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2

Dostana 2

Ranbir Kapoor-Shraddha Kapoor film


Bunty Aur Babli 2


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Atrangi Re

Jug Jug Jeeyo

Phone Bhoot

Sardaar Udham 

Shakun Batra's untitled film starring Deepika Padukone


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Ram Setu



Sharmaji Namkeen


Raksha Bandhan

Vicky Kaushal and Manushi Chhillar's untitled film 



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The Girl On The Train

Mumbai Saga

The Big Bull

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Bob Biswas

Rashmi Rocket

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Bhuj: The Pride of India


Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar

Badhaai Do

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Shabash Mithu


Looop Lapeta

Haseen Dilruba

Doctor G


Good Luck Jerry

Villain 2


Haathi Mere Saathi