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Cinema hall owners in Kolkata wait for new films to resume screening

The West Bengal government on Wednesday allowed cinema halls to reopen from July 31 with 50 per cent seating capacity and strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols.

By: PTI | Kolkata |
July 31, 2021 8:26:14 pm
Single screen theatreSingle screen theatres in Kolkata are showing old releases. (Express Photo Shashi Ghosh)

Several cinema hall owners in the city on Saturday said they will wait for new content to reopen their facilities, even after the West Bengal government allowed them to resume operations with 50 per cent seating capacity.

Some single-screen proprietors have, however, restarted their operations in districts with old films.

Cinema halls in the state remained closed since May 1 as the government had imposed several restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Film exhibitors in the city are waiting for new releases to resume screening after three months, Navina cinema owner Navin Chokhani told PTI.

“Covid protocols are in place in our facility. We are in touch with distributors and production houses as they will decide on the issue of new releases. Several films were not released due to the 2nd wave of the pandemic. We will hopefully take a call by next Wednesday,” he said.

Satadeep Saha, the co-owner of Ajanta cinema and a local multiplex, said several cinema halls are not yet ready to reopen this week as staffers have gone to their native places and other states after the announcement of the closure in May.

“There is also no news about immediate big-ticket releases of Bengali and Hindi films. No multiplex or single screen facilities restarted their operations in the city. Around eight or nine exhibitors have reopened their halls from July 31 in the districts with old releases,” he said.

Chokhani said exhibitors need new releases to resume their operations and viewers will not come to cinema halls to see old films. “We are in running condition as Covid protocols are in place after the reopening of cinema halls in October last year. We have carried out inspections in the auditorium so that health safety guidelines are followed. We now need an occasion such as big-ticket releases to reopen our facilities,” he said.

Saha said cinema hall owners will take a decision on reopening by August 6 as new films are released on Fridays.

Priya cinema owner Arijit Dutta said, “We will consider the prevailing situation and take a call on resuming operations.”

A spokesperson of SVF Productions, leading Bengali film producer and distributor of Bollywood films, said, “We are yet to decide about the releases and will decide by early next week.” SVF Productions, which also runs several multiplex facilities, is yet to open any screen.

“We will soon decide on this after considering all factors and sanitisation measures,” the spokesperson said.

The West Bengal government on Wednesday allowed cinema halls to reopen from July 31 with 50 per cent seating capacity and strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols.

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