Theatres open after seven months in COVID-19 shadow

By: PTI | New Delhi |

October 15, 2020 4:14:51 pm

Reopening preparations at a cinema corridor in Chandigarh on Wednesday. (Express picture by Jasbir Malhi)

Cinemas in a number of elements of the nation opened after nearly seven months on Thursday, ushering in a brand new period of ‘contactless’ film watching in the shadow of a pandemic with alternate seating, 50 per cent capability and packaged snacks.

While theatres and multiplexes will stay closed in states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Chhattisgarh, they are going to open in a number of locations, together with Delhi and elements of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, with stringent dos and don’ts in protecting with the brand new COVID-19 regular.

It was a quiet reopening with few individuals venturing warily to look at a mixture of regional, English and Hindi reruns reminiscent of Chhichhore, Thappad, Tanhaji and The Spy.

While PVR will resume industrial screenings on Friday, Cinepolis and INOX began displaying movies from Thursday with an emphasis on security measures, together with stringent sanitising and social distancing.

Read | Cinema halls continue to remain shut in Andhra Pradesh

“Yes, you heard that right! We are open now! See you at the big screen! Cinemas will not be functional in a few states until further notice,” Cinepolis India mentioned in a tweet.

“Sanitisation and deep cleaning with WHO recommended chemicals is done at regular intervals to keep your surroundings safe,” the tweet additional learn.

PVR Cinemas, India’s largest movie exhibitor with 845 screens in 176 properties throughout 71 cities, on Wednesday mentioned 10 states and 4 union territories have given their go-ahead for the reopening of cinemas.

Accordingly, PVR began operations in 487 screens. The hope is that different states will quickly give their inexperienced sign too.

The Ministry of Home Affairs allowed theatres to reopen from Thursday with as much as 50 per cent of their seating capability. They need to strictly comply with the central authorities’s Standard working procedures (SOPs).

The SOPs mandated by the Union authorities embrace one seat distance in halls, 50 per cent capability, masks in any respect time, correct air flow and air conditioner temperature settings at above 23 levels Celsius.

Read | Khaali Peeli, PM Narendra Modi, Thappad: Films releasing after cinema halls reopen on October 15

Besides obligatory temperature checks, masks, pedal-operated touch-free hand sanitizer, multiplexes have gone digital with e-tickets as an alternative of conventional paper tickets, self-check-in with QR codes, sharing of the auditorium’s seat chart and site of the seat and on-line ordering of meals and drinks.

Though the MHA has given its go-ahead to resuming cinema and theatre actions underneath Unlock 5.0, it has left it to particular person states to take a remaining name.

With producers reluctant to launch new movies, cinemas need to take care of the double whammy of COVID fears and outdated content material and have their fingers crossed as they rolled out a unique form of movie-going expertise.

It will take some time earlier than new content material returns to theatres as the discharge of main Bollywood motion pictures 83, about India’s cricket world cup victory, and Sooryavanshi, the newest in Rohit Shetty’s cop drama starring Akshay Kumar have been pushed to Christmas and subsequent yr, respectively.

Cinephiles who need to rewatch or atone for motion pictures they missed watching on the large display can even take pleasure in Rajput’s Kedarnath, Ayushmann Khurrana-starrer Shubh Mangal Zyaada Savdhan and Dream Girl, crime drama Malang and Akshay Kumar-Vidya Balan-Pannu starrer house drama Mission Mangal moreover Hollywood hits Bloodshot, Lion King, Ford vs Ferrari and Knives Out.

An INOX spokesperson in Kolkata mentioned two of its services opened as we speak in accordance with all of the directives issued by the Centre, together with e-tickets and contactless QR-based entries. Those with fever signs had been being turned away.

Other services will step by step open too, she mentioned however didn’t specify a timeframe.

The present timing, intermissions and exits are staggered and friends inspired to keep up a six-feet distance from different households and teams in any respect the instances.

SVF cinemas, which owns 13 multiplexes in Kolkata, will open its doorways from Friday with all the usual protocols, contactless ticket buy, making alternate seating preparations and common use of sanitisers and disinfectants earlier than and after exhibits, a spokesperson mentioned.

Read Show must go on: How cinema halls are preparing to welcome back visitors

Satadeep Saha, a distinguished distributor of movies mentioned 22 single screens throughout the state began screening Rajput starrer Kedarnath. Rajput, 34, handed away in June this yr.

Many cinema halls had been closed even earlier than the lockdown interval began.

Several states, together with Delhi, Kerala and Maharastra, had directed cinema halls to shut between March 11 to 16 until March 31, 2020. The Central authorities later directed a nationwide lockdown from March 25.

India has a complete variety of round 8,750 screens, in which 3,100 are in multiplexes and steadiness 5,650 are single screens working largely in small tier II, III and under cities.

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