Ranveer Singh as Murad Ahmed in Gully Boy
- Gully Boy released in theatres across India in mid-February
- Indian films must wait 57 days to be made available at home
- Amazon pays big for limited-time exclusivity with satellite right
Gully Boy is now available on Amazon Prime Video in India, just over two months since its theatrical release in the country, during which it grossed Rs. 237 crores ($36 million), making it the second highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2019 after Uri: The Surgical Strike. Directed by Zoya Akhtar off a script she co-wrote with frequent collaborator Reema Kagti, Gully Boy stars Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt in leading roles, with a supporting cast of Kalki Koechlin, Siddhant Chaturvedi, and Vijay Raaz. Gully Boy is a coming-of-age story of an aspiring rapper from Mumbai’s Dharavi slum, inspired by the lives of Vivian “Divine” Fernandes and Naved “Naezy” Shaikh.
The film’s release on Prime Video is in line with the industry limitations for Indian films — 57 days, to be precise — to move from the cinema to home. To prevent a simultaneous premiere on TV, the likes of Amazon have been snatching up full post-theatrical satellite rights for Indian films, part of which are then later re-auctioned by Amazon, since they don’t own a TV channel. Streaming services in India have to pay big bucks to achieve this limited-time exclusivity. Amazon reportedly paid Rs. 800 million (about $11.5 million) for Padmaavat, and an eye-watering Rs. 1.5 billion (about $21.5 million) for the critical and commercial disaster Race 3, reportedly the highest-ever in Bollywood.
Given Gully Boy’s critical and commercial success, in addition to its star power and cultural impact in India, you can bet that the film fetched a lot for its satellite rights. That will be added profit for the filmmakers, given Gully Boy was made on a production budget of just Rs. 40 crores ($5.6 million). The film was produced by Excel Entertainment’s Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar, who is also the director’s brother, along with Zoya through her new Tiger Baby label. AA Films, Cinestaan, and Zee Studios handled distribution in India and across the world.
Other recent additions to Prime Video’s catalogue in India include the Donald Glover, Rihanna-starrer film Guava Island from director Hiro Murai (Atlanta), Ramesh Sippy’s 1980 action thriller Shaan, with Sunil Dutt, Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor, and Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s 1979 hit Gol Maal, starring Amol Palekar.