Updated: December 31, 2021 7:24:14 am
Following the Delhi government’s decision to close theatres in the wake of a spike in Covid cases, representatives of the Multiplex Association of India (MAI) met Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia Thursday seeking reopening of cinemas with pre-emptive measures. Other cinemas and industry bodies have supported this appeal.
The delegation, led by Ajay Bijli, chairman of PVR Limited, highlighted the adverse economic impacts faced by the entertainment industry due to multiple lockdowns and restrictions since March 2020. In its appeal to Sisodia, he was informed that the decision to shut down cinemas has caused uncertainty.
Expressing his concerns, Bijli said: “We fully understand the challenges faced by the government in these tough times. However, instead of closing cinemas, we urge them to consider introducing a ‘double vaccination requirement’ for gaining entry into cinemas, as is the case in some states. Alternatively, a 50% seating cap can be reintroduced.”
The association fears that several films, scheduled to release in January such as RRR, Radhe Shyam and Prithviraj, will probably change their release dates. Shahid Kapoor-starrer film Jersey, which was supposed to release on December 31, has cancelled its theatrical exhibition. According to the MIA letter, Jersey is now being considered for “a direct OTT release”.
“Instead of releasing their films at cinemas or waiting for relaxation, producers are finding it more lucrative to release on streaming platforms leaving cinemas with no new films. As a result, the industry has run into an extremely adverse situation and is in need of urgent help from the government,” the letter stated.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Nitin Tej Ahuja, CEO of the Producers Guild of India, extended his support to the MIA’s plea and said, “Theatrical release is the primary source of revenue for filmmakers. The producers of the movie ‘83’ held it over for almost two years. Even though it was finally released on December 24, people in Delhi can’t watch it now.”
The multiplex body argued that cinemas are equipped to manage crowds with a hygienic environment while maintaining social distancing norms.
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