russia: Indian movie industry, pharma giants may gain from Russian market

The Indian film industry and pharma giants may benefit from the Russian market after the withdrawal of Western firms following the massive sanctions imposed on Russia.

Following the announcement by major Hollywood studios that new releases will be suspended in Russia, Russian cinema networks may turn to Bollywood blockbusters and films from other Asian and Latin American countries, according to Russian daily Vedomosti.

Foreign films took 75% of the Russian box office in 2021. Going to the movies is one of the most popular leisure activities among Russians. According to a Moscow-based source who deals with Russian films, “the challenge is to make it cheap and relevant, even with dramatically high costs for the lighting and projector components, which due to the exchange rate are almost 80% has climbed.”

There will be no increase in the price of cinema tickets, despite the fact that the cost of most products and services has gone up. The heads of Russia’s five largest cinema networks – United Cinema Network Cinema Park and Formula Kino, Premiere Hall, Karo and Kinomax – told Russian daily newspapers Vedomosti and Cinema Star that cinemas not only offer pre-crisis prices for movie tickets but also for cinema bar products.

According to research firm Nevafilm Research, these cinema chains account for 31.5 percent of the film distribution market in terms of movie halls as of January 1, 2022.

Cinema chains will not increase ticket rates but will freeze them. However, Russian and South Korean films as well as Bollywood blockbusters will continue to play in theatres.

In Russia, joint theater networks Cinema Park and Formula Cinema saw sold-out homes and new audiences for a special screening of Radhe Shyam, an Indian hit film.

Meanwhile, Indian drug companies could replace Western manufacturers leaving the Russian market, as Russian ambassador to India Denis Alipov and more foreign companies withdrew in the wake of the Ukraine war.

Newly-appointed Russian envoy Alipov told Rossia24 broadcaster that India is a “world pharmacy” and a leading manufacturer of generic drugs that are no less than the original.

“The withdrawal of many Western companies from the Russian market and the space that has been vacated may in fact be occupied by Indian companies in many industries, especially pharmaceuticals,” Alipov was quoted as saying by Russian media outlet Sputnik.

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