The variety of DVDs available in music stores like Planet M and Musicland is much more exciting than it was a year or two ago; walk into a medium-sized store and you're sure to see a rack filled with old and contemporary "World Cinema" titles released by Palador, Shemaroo or NDTV Lumiere, along with dozens of classic American and British films. But as someone who still does the bulk of his DVD-buying in Palika Bazaar (Rs 150 per disc for "original copies" from the Criterion Collection and such), I'm confounded by two things. First, the prices in the legit stores: anywhere between Rs 400 and Rs 600 per DVD (though Shemaroo's World Cinema titles were priced at Rs 350 last I checked). Second, the absence of extras/special features on the majority of these discs. The assumption seems to be that Indian buyers, even the ones who would willingly purchase a movie made 50 years ago, are unconcerned about such things. (In this post written years ago, I mentioned my surprise that many DVD-watchers here didn't even know about Extras, or how to navigate a disc menu; I'm not sure things have significantly changed since then.)
Much incredulous head-shaking has been done over a DVD series titled "Pure Gold". It's a collection of old Hollywood movies - Singin in the Rain, Roman Holiday, North by Northwest, many others - and it's very pleasing to look at, each DVD coming with a colourful cardboard jacket. If your principal reason for buying DVDs is that they look good on a shelf, you'll want the whole lot. But you have to shell out Rs 600 - four times the Palika price - for the stylish packaging, and of course the disc itself has only the movie on it. Nothing else.
On the positive side, there was a nice "3 DVDs for Rs 500" deal for a couple of months at Planet M recently, and one sometimes discovers a "50 per cent off" tag on a DVD that people aren't queuing up to buy - Police Academy 4, for example. But our music stores clearly have a way to go before they start offering the equivalent of the round-the-year deals one sees at international stores like HMV.
P.S. I'm not sure how Enemy at the Gates fits in the Pure Gold collection, but let that pass for now.
[Other DVD-related posts and rants: bizarre subtitles, jacket typos, a tip for Palika hounds, of porn and Pasolini, in praise of pirates]