The Multiplex Association of India (MAI) has petitioned the Maharashtra government to reopen theatres. While several states have restored theatres following the lifting of limitations imposed by the new coronavirus outbreak, Maharashtra cinemas remain shuttered. According to the MAI, the cinema exhibition sector employs thousands of people, and it is critical to reopen cinemas in order to save jobs.
Bell Bottom, starring Akshay Kumar, was the first major commercial film to be released in theatres last month. Many other films are following in the footsteps of this one. The Multiplex Association of India has urged the Maharashtra government to reopen theatres in light of this. Even theatres in Delhi reopened a few months ago. Since March 2020, the cinema body, which includes PVR, INOX, and Cinepolis, among others, has lost nearly Rs 4,800 crore, and thousands of employment are now dependent on the reopening of theatres.
The appeal shared on Twitter reads, “Film industry appeals to government of Maharashtra for reopening of cinemas #unlockcinemasavejobs At the rate of a monthly loss of Rs 400 crore, the Maharashtra cinema exhibition industry has lost approximately Rs 4,800 crores in various lockdowns since March 2020.”
“Films are the soft power of Maharashtra and cinemas continue to be the main form of entertainment for millions of Indians. The cinema exhibition sector, comprising of around 1,000 cinema screens across Maharashtra, directly and indirectly employs lakhs of people. Due to state-wide lockdowns, the cinema exhibition industry has run into an extremely adverse and hostile situation; it was the first sector to be shut down and will be the last sector to reopen,” it further added.
“Malls, Airlines, Railways, Retail, Restaurants, Gyms and many such services have already been restarted as part of ‘Unlock Maharashtra’. In the recently announced unlock guidelines, Local Trains, Parks and Beaches have also been permitted to reopen. Cinemas are equipped with better abilities to ensure crowd management in stringent hygienic environments while maintaining social distancing norms.”
“The following factors ensure the cinemas are always safe; Only paying patrons visit us unlike other activities where there are no entry tickets. Movie show timings are staggered, therefore no crowd build-up. Controlled and regulated entry and exits. Availability of ample waiting areas. Cinemas are professionally managed, hence compliance to SOPs is assured All other States across the country have reopened cinemas, State of Maharashtra, which is the most critical part of a functioning film industry, is the only major State, where cinemas are yet to reopen.”
The Multiplex Association concluded their note with hopes of urgent action. “Given the dire economic impact of the epidemic on our sector and the resultant loss of jobs We sincerely urge the government of Maharashtra to allow reopening of cinemas on an urgent basis and facilitate an early vaccination of people employed in the cinemas,” the appeal concluded.
— Multiplex Association Of India (@MAofIndia) September 7, 2021