Maharashtra: Producers, distributors, exhibitors hail govt’s decision for reopening of theatres

By: |
September 25, 2021 8:05 PM

Actors Varun Dhawan, Arjun Kapoor, Bhumi Pednekar and Ranvir Shorey were among the actors who expressed their excitement about reopening of theatres in Maharashtra.

Also in pipeline are movies such as Salman Khan's "Antim", Aamir Khan's "Laal Singh Chaddha", John Abraham's "Satyameva Jayate 2" and Akshay Kumar's “Atrangi Re”.Also in pipeline are movies such as Salman Khan's "Antim", Aamir Khan's "Laal Singh Chaddha", John Abraham's "Satyameva Jayate 2" and Akshay Kumar's “Atrangi Re”.

Film producers, distributors and cinema hall owners on Saturday welcomed the Maharashtra government’s announcement that cinema halls and multiplexes in the state will open from October 22.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday said cinema halls and drama theatres in the state will be permitted to operate from October 22, on the condition that they follow all the protocols required to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The state government will soon issue the standard operating procedure (SOPs).

Soon after the announcement was made, filmmaker Rohit Shetty said that his much-awaited movie “Sooryavanshi”, starring Akshay Kumar, will finally make its debut in theatres on Diwali.
“Thanks to our Honourable Chief Minister, Shri Uddhav Thackeray, theatres in Maharashtra to reopen from 22nd October. And FINALLY!!! we can say, This DIWALI…AA RAHI HAI POLICE…,” Shetty wrote on social media.

Actors Varun Dhawan, Arjun Kapoor, Bhumi Pednekar and Ranvir Shorey were among the actors who expressed their excitement about reopening of theatres in Maharashtra.

The exhibition industry has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic as it affected the film shoots and releases across India.

In 2020, the cinema operations came to a halt from mid-March due to the pandemic, only to be restarted for a few months starting from October and November last year in various parts of the country.

But in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19, which hit India in April this year, theatres across India again remained closed from the same month.

As the country witnessed a decline in COVID-19 cases, several states including Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh received a go-ahead to resume movie business in cinema halls.

But the government of Maharashtra, a key centre for Hindi films, hadn’t yet allowed the reopening of theatres.

In the past several months, many backdoor meetings were held with filmmakers and cinema owners urging the Maharashtra government to consider reopening of theatres.

Some of the other major Hindi films that are awaiting release include Ranveer Singh’s “83”, Yash Raj Films slate of movies like “Jayeshbhai Jordaar”, “Shamshera” and “Prithiviraj”.

Also in pipeline are movies such as Salman Khan’s “Antim”, Aamir Khan’s “Laal Singh Chaddha”, John Abraham’s “Satyameva Jayate 2” and Akshay Kumar’s “Atrangi Re”.

Leading film producer Bhushan Kumar of T-Series banner, who has over a dozen movies awaiting for release, said he is overwhelmed and has begun chalking out plans for theatrical releases.
“We all are very excited about this news. Many producers like us, Yash Raj Films are waiting for theatres to reopen as we did hold on to our big movies. We are also chalking out plans for our films and will make announcements soon.

“We are thrilled about the release of ‘Sooryavanshi’ during Diwali. Now there will be films releasing and it will be a good boost for the industry,” Kumar told PTI.

Producer Anand Pandit, who latest production “Chehre” released in theatres in August, said it was important that theatres reopen in Maharashtra for the revival of cinema.

“The industry needs this revival and given that Maharashtra is one of the biggest markets, we hope to see the return of audiences to the theatres. What better time to start than Diwali! “I honestly don’t see too many clashes given that the industry understands that the return of audiences might be slow and it would be best to avoid a situation where the audiences worth get divided,” Pandit said.

Alok Tandon, CEO of multiplex chain INOX, said they are all geared up and prepared to welcome people to their theatres.

“We are completely geared up and prepared to ensure the safety of our guests and employees. This decision has resulted in a lot of cheer, not just for the entire film industry and its audiences, but also for the employees of the cinema exhibition sector, and their families, who have been waiting for this to happen,” Tandon said in a statement.

“With the hugely successful vaccination program and significantly low COVID-19 cases, we are optimistic that people will return to cinemas as before and we will witness the same happy emotions in our lobbies,” he added.

Leading distributor Akshaye Rathi, who owns eight theatres in Maharashtra, said the decision to reopen theatres days before Diwali is a big piece of good news.

“It is a very happy moment and we hope SOPs are reasonable and make movies accessible to the widest possible audience. Diwali is just two weeks away from it (October 22). It’s going to be a happy one.

“The big ticket movie release will make a happy Diwali for all of us in the movie business and audience, who are deprived of entertainment for a very long time,” Rathi told PTI.
Trade analyst Amul Mohan said the Maharashtra government’s decision will boost the confidence of producers and exhibitors.

“It is limited right now in terms of occupancy but it’s a great start. It is better to be cautious as COVID-19 is still around.

“However, it is a good time to begin and plan releases for Diwali. This must give confidence to producers who are sitting on their films for two years. Also, the idea should be to get audiences to theatres as fear psychosis is still playing in people’s mind,” Mohan told PTI.

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