Superstar Salman Khan, who is awaiting the theatrical release of his film "Antim: The Final Truth", on Monday said nothing can replace the joy of watching a movie on the big screen. Directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, "Antim" is reportedly a remake of the 2018 hit Marathi crime drama "Mulshi Pattern". The action drama is billed as a "gripping tale of two powerful men" with polar opposite ideologies; one a cop and the other a gangster, played by Khan and Aayush Sharma, respectively.
When asked about the change in the viewing pattern of the audience amidst the coronavirus lockdown, Khan said people have slowly started coming back to theatres. "To watch movies on laptop, iPad or on a small phone, there is not much joy as compared to watching it with everyone on the big screen in a theatre. If you think small phones are an alternative to cinema halls, then it is not true," the 55-year-old star told reporters at the trailer launch of "Antim".
While many states in the country allowed cinema halls to resume operations in the first half of 2021 at 50 per cent occupancy with adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols, Maharashtra, a prime market for Hindi films, permitted theatres to start anew from October 22.
Khan, whose last release "Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai" arrived on Zee Plex through the streamer ZEE5 in India, said the film exhibition industry will eventually bounce back.
"Whatever opening would have been there earlier at the box office (before COVID-19) of a movie it should be 50 percent less now.
The industry will come back, the alternate seating arrangements will also go away. Mostly everyone has been vaccinated now but we all still have to be careful," he added.
Khan also revealed there were initial plans to release "Antim" on an OTT (over-the-top) platform, but the makers later decided to release the film theatrically.
"At one point it seemed lockdown won't ease, theatres won't open so this film was heading to OTT. We thought the lockdown would not open and it was going on OTT. Even that way, it was beneficial to us but we decided to release it everywhere in theatres."
In the film, which also stars Mahima Makwana, Khan has no leading lady paired opposite him.
"This character is much better on his own. If you add romance or songs to it, the character would be diluted, which we didn't want.
We had shot for a bit as well, but then we took that out to be true to the film. This character is beautiful without a heroine," he said.
The actor, who plays a Sikh cop in the film, said he tries to play all his characters with utmost honesty.
"When you play a character like that, you need to give it your best. Whenever you play any character actually, you have to be pure, careful, respectful and dedicated to that character," Khan said.
Sharma said working on "Antim" with Khan, his brother-in-law was a memorable experience.
"Salman is like my elder brother and mentor. He is an integral part of our family. We go back to him for every small thing.
The comfort level is always there to say what you want to him but with respect," Sharma, who made his debut with Khan's 2018 production "Loveyatri", said.
"Antim" will be released in theatres worldwide on November 26.