With the Centre allowing cinema halls to reopen, a few theatres in Madhya Pradesh are gearing up to begin screening films from Thursday, but their owners state the business will take time to pick up.
Bhopal Cine Owners Associations secretary Aizazuddin told PTI on Wednesday that”except a multiplex, no additional theatre hall will reopen in the state capital on October 15 because of the crowd”.
The Centre has permitted theater halls and cinemas to reopen up to 50 percent of the seating capacity, which theatres owners state is not in their business interest.
“During this period of time, no manufacturer will choose the risk of releasing his film. Therefore, we have to begin with old films for which audiences won’t be accessible,” Aizazuddin said.
“We demanded from the government that our power bills for the last six weeks be waived off, and the land tax be reduced by 50 percent, but so far no relief was given to theatre owners,” he explained.
In Indore, Central Circuit Cine Institutions (a distributor body) manager O P Goyal said that two multiplexes and two single-screen theater halls would reopen with 50 percent capacity on Thursday.
To ensure social distancing, one seat between two viewers will be kept vacant, he said.
“Though cinema halls are reopening after a long gap, it is difficult to determine how many audiences will visit the theatres,” Goyal said.
Also, he stated that old hit movies would be screened from these halls as fresh movies of large stars aren’t being published currently.
Adarsh Ramlal Yadav, a single-screen theatre owner in Indore, said the government’s decision to allow cinema halls to reopen would give them a chance to re-start their business at a slow pace after fourteen months.
“As producers are not releasing any new films, we have to display old movies which will not draw audiences. We have also demanded that our electricity dues for the closing time be waived off, and 50 percent rebate in property taxation,” he said.
According to industry sources, there are six single-screen cinema halls in Indore and more than 40 screens in various theaters.