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New Delhi: Despite continuing uncertainty around reopening of cinemas in various states and easing of restrictions in others, Akshay Kumar’s action film Bachchan Pandey will release in theatres for the Holi weekend on 18 March, the makers have said. The film, co-starring Kriti Sanon, was initially scheduled for 4 March.

To be sure, several film producers have decided to postpone the release of big-ticket films owing to rising covid-19 cases, despite incurring losses, while new projects are also likely to get delayed. S.S. Rajamouli’s big-budget period drama RRR slated for a 7 January release and Radhe Shyam, which had planned to stick to its Pongal debut, were both postponed earlier this month, as was Ajith’s Tamil film Valimai. The films are headlined by Telugu and Tamil stars but would have lost a big chunk of their Hindi audience due to the covid-led restrictions. Shahid Kapoor-starrer Jersey was first to push its release date from late December.

In February, high-profile titles such as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi and Ranveer Singh’s Jayeshbhai Jordaar, which were scheduled for release, will now have to be postponed.

Release of Bollywood movies will make no sense at the moment as Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana have shut cinemas, while regional language films will also suffer because Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are operating at 50% capacity.

In 2021, Bollywood clocked just one-tenth (Rs. 490 crore) of its pre-pandemic box office revenue. It is set to further lose Rs. 80-90 crore per month as long as cinemas remain shut. With over 1,000 single screens forced to permanently shut shop, the film entertainment segment saw an 80% decline in domestic as well as global theatrical revenues in 2020, said the Ficci-EY media and entertainment industry report.

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