Published On : Tue, Jun 8th, 2021

Theatres remain locked despite unlock in Nagpur

Nagpur: Despite the Maharashtra Government’s nod for cinemas to reopen from Monday, June 7, with 50 percent capacity as Covid-19 restrictions have been eased, theatres in Nagpur city remained closed as the operators wanted the authorities to address their demands and concerns before resumption.

The reasons cited by the operators for not opening the theatres are: No new film is being released, the distributors are not ready to give any film in view of the permission granted only for restricted entry of spectators instead of full capacity of theatres, theatres are permitted to run till 5 pm. Some of the theatre owners also wanted the government to address a host of demands ranging from waiving entertainment tax to forgo fixed electricity charges slapped on theatres even though it had remained shut for many months.

Alok Tiwari, Director of Janaki Theatre said, “Even though the State Government has granted permission to open theatres, we will not open them. Last time, when the film ‘Roohi’ was released, a lockdown was imposed the very next day causing heavy losses to us. It would be meaningless to open theatres until the schedule for release of new films is readied. By 5 pm, only one show of a film is completed. Even if the show started at 11 am, only two shows could be completed under the new restrictions. It also puts us in loss. The terms on which the theatres have been permitted to open, no distributor is ready to give us film. The fans are not interested in old movies. Hence it is better to keep theatres closed rather than incurring losses,” Tiwari stated.

Rohit Jaiswal, Manager of Panchsheel Talkies said, “As per norms, a movie is to be completed before 5 pm. The distributors are not giving a movie only for one show. Moreover, there is no new movie scheduled for release. As per the terms of distributors, they will keep 60 percent share while we will get the remaining 40 percent. In this proposition we will suffer losses if theatres are opened. The sanitisation expenditure for a day itself is around Rs 3000-4000. Spectators will also not be interested as no new movie is being released. Unless a big budget movie comes, we will not open theatres. People connected with our industries bore the maximum brunt due to lockdown. Many people lost their jobs,” Jaiwal lamented.

The Distributor Prakash Modhave said, “Last time also theatres were permitted to open after unlocking. Many theatres were open at that time also. During that time, South content was on the horizon. Thereafter, there was no content . This is because there is no guarantee when the theatres will reopen. The main problem was demand and supply. Even the prominent and big producers were not ready to take risks. We are now resorting to wait and watch after unlocking this time also. The most negative point is the capacity of theatres. Nobody is ready to release movies with 50 percent capacity permission. The normal budget movies have already hit the OTT platforms. The big budget movies have been stalled. Theatre owners have learnt lessons from past lockdowns hence they are not ready to open their theatres this time. Moreover, there is no permission to open theatres in Mumbai, Pune, Amravati and Wardha. Many other states have also not given permission to open theatres. The main reason for this is no new movies. Unless the situation normalises, no operators will be ready to open their theatres,” Modhave stated.