As many as 30 to 35 single-screen movie halls in West Bengal have decided to open theaters with movies of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who died by suicide on June 14, from October 15.
The decision was taken to pay tribute to Rajput and also to bank on people’s sentiments to attract them to the theatres, said those linked with showbiz business.
“My theatre will play Rajput’s movie, Kedarnath. When this film had released we made good business. There are no other movie in the pipeline, so there is no better option than this. It will also attract audience footfall due to their sentiments attached to the actor,” said Satadeep Saha, Senior Executive Director of SSR Cinemas Pvt Ltd, who also owns a number of single-screen theatres.
According to sources at least 30 to 35 single screens will open with films featuring Rajput.
“The theatres have been shut for several months now. We can reopen only with 50 per cent capacity. We will be happy if we are able to attract at least 50 per cent of the total capacity, which also looks difficult in this present situation. A Rajput movie may help us draw more audience,” said Saha. Most of the single screens will show Kedarnatha and M.S. Dhoni, The Untold Story.
Eastern India Motion Pictures Association (EIMPA) has left it on the owners to decide from when they want to open the theatre and with which film.
“The government has issued a date but there is no movie in the pipeline for release. If a theatre wants to screen any movie, they can do it as per their convenience. But I believe theatres will start screening movies during Durga Puja only,” said Ratan Saha , EIMPA.
EIMPA is a platform of producers, distributors, exhibitors and laboratory and studio owners.
However, the biggest challenge for this single-screen owners is to maintain Covid-19 norms and follow sanitisation process.
“We charge very less money for ticket from the viewers. Also, we are only allow 50 per cent capacity. It won’t be cost effective to sanitise the entire hall after each screening. The Bangladesh government has announced cash relief to the tune of thousand of crores for exhibiters so that they can revive. But here, we are not getting any support from the Centre or state,” said an owner of a single-screen theatre.
As far as multiplexes in the city are concerned, they are likely to gradually open theatres after October 15 and will screen old hit movies and those which were released on OTT platform during lockdown till a new movie is released .
The government recently issued guidelines for the reopening of cinema halls and multiplexes from October 15. As per the new Unlock 5 guidelines, cinemas and multiplexes have been allowed to reopen with 50 per cent seating capacity. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting released Standard Operating Procedures, which need to be followed by all cinema halls and multiplexes.
As per the guidelines, cinemas, theatres and multiplexes will be allowed to open from October 15, almost seven months since lockdown was imposed. Auditoriums, however, will be allowed to operate with only 50 per cent capacity.
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