Due to the Coronavirus outbreak in India, from the 23rd of March 2020 a lockdown was imposed in the country. A number of sectors took the hit of the pandemic and unplanned lockdown. However, while cases continue to grow, the economy has crashed and is on an all-time low. For reasons pertaining to the economy and livelihood of millions, businesses and work sectors have finally started to open in the past few months under different versions of Unlock. Theatres reopen in certain parts of the country after months of lockdown.
Theatres Reopen for Cinephiles
From the 15th of October, theatres have started to reopen after a long wait and patience. Theatres and crowded public spaces were among the first to be shut in the light of the spreading Covid-19. Theatres have remained closed since March and the entertainment Industry combined have suffered major losses. Resultantly, many big banner movies decided to release on OTT platforms. Amitabh Bachchan and Aayushmann Khurrana starrer Gulabo Sitabo was among the first big movies that released online during the lockdown. Vidya Balan and Sanya Malholtra’s Shakuntala Devi, bringing the human computer’s life on screen also released on Amazon Prime, a flourishing OTT platform.
While theatres finally opened on the 15th, the government has issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the audiences’ safe movie experience. The procedure mandates theatres to operate only at a 50 percent capacity. Basic SOP norms include wearing masks at all times, setting the AC temperature over 23 degree Celsius and proper ventilation. Food items will also undergo sterilisation to ensure safety. All food items will pass through UV rays in an installed machine for a whole eight minutes.
Theatres Re-open Amid Covid Scare
However, not every state has yet decided on re-opening theatres or cinema halls. With stringent regulations, Delhi, parts of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh governments have decided to reopen theatres. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh and Kerala have decided against opening movie theatres and multiplexes.
The news has sent a wave of happiness across cinephiles and PVR /Multiplex owners. However, because there are no new movies yet to release, recent hits will return back to screens. Among these are Ajay Devgan’s Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, Ayushmann Khurrana’s Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan, Taapsee Pannu’s Thappad and Sushant Singh Rajput’s Chhichhore. Critically acclaimed and Oscar-winner Parasite, and Bloodshot will also rerun on some screens. PVR has picked up Joker, Malang, Section 375, Dream Girl, John Wick, while INOX is banking on Chhichhore, Dream Girl, Lion King, Ford v Ferrari, Malang, and Mission Mangal.
No New Content, but Theatres Reopen
Irrespective of this, theatres have managed to draw very less crowd. Due to the covid scare, economic and financial shortcomings, and lack of any new releases, the audience pull towards cinema halls after 7 months of lockdown is very less. The retail and recreational sector has already suffered severely this lockdown. But now due to a lack of new content and the still rising pandemic, the suffering seems to not cease.
A few big production houses and banners are underway to theatrical release. But clouds of doubts loom over the future of recreational sectors