Maharashtra is facing the worst situation right now due to the sudden increase of coronavirus cases in the state. The daily number of cases went close to the 50,000 marks on Friday and Saturday. However, on Sunday it recorded 57,074 cases.
The Maharashtra government on Sunday launched a lockdown-like situation in the state till April 30. This will result in the closing of multiplexes and single-screen cinemas. However, film and television shoots have been allowed.
The chief minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray, virtually met stakeholders from different sectors on Saturday, April 4 before taking the decision. He discussed the situation and seek their cooperation.
The industry was represented by director-producer Rohit Shetty, Kamal Gianchandani, CEO, PVR Pictures, Kapil Agarwal, Joint Managing Director, UFO Moviez, Akshaye Rathi, film exhibitor and distributor, Alok Tandon, Chief Executive Officer, INOX Leisure Ltd, Nitin Datar, head of Cinema Owners & Exhibitors Association of India (COEAI), Devang Sampat, CEO, Cinepolis India, Prakash Chaphalkar, secretary, Multiplex Association of India and others.
A source was quoted as saying, “Uddhav Thackeray ji appreciated Rohit Shetty as he took the brave and difficult decision of postponing his film, Sooryavanshi. Rohit, in turn, agreed that the industry should support the government’s endeavour of saving lives.”
Sooryavanshi was scheduled to release on April 30, 2021 but the Akshay Kumar-starrer now will again get postponed, particularly looking at the present situation and as the lockdown-like condition came into effect.
The source further adds, “Kamal Gianchandani offered his support to the government as well. But he also added that their sector has suffered for a year and that they’ll require help in the form of waiver, subsidies, etc. in order to tide over these new curbs. Nitin Datar meanwhile requested waiver of property tax on single screens and also to do away with certain charges in the hefty electricity bill.” The source continues, “Many in the exhibition sector also asked if cinemas can function at 100% capacity after the second wave dies down.”
Revelling what Uddhav Thackeray had to say, the source said, “Uddhav ji acknowledged that the cinema sector has suffered the most in the pandemic and that theatres have been dedicatedly following the SOPs laid down by the authorities. But Uddhav ji insisted that the current priority of the government is ‘zindagi, jaan aur uske baad kaam’ (first life, then livelihood). He stressed that people will get jobs in future but first, they need to survive this deadly second wave.”