Single-window clearance likely for theatres in upcoming model policy

The information and broadcasting ministry is working on a model theatre policy, in consultation with all state governments, to roll out a pan-India, single-window clearance system, to help revive the sector, ravaged by the covid-led disruptions, said an officia

Lata Jha
First Published27 Sep 2022, 10:52 PM IST
According to government data, since 2017, screen count has come down from 12,000 to 8,000
According to government data, since 2017, screen count has come down from 12,000 to 8,000(Photo: Mint)

The information and broadcasting ministry is working on a model theatre policy, in consultation with all state governments, to roll out a pan-India, single-window clearance system, to help revive the sector, ravaged by the covid-led disruptions, said an official.

According to government data, since 2017, screen count has come down from 12,000 to 8,000. The downward trend was more pronounced during the two years of the pandemic. In comparison, China’s movie screen count was up to nearly 70,000 from 10,000 during the period,

“In the past five to six years, the number of theatres is on a decline. We must reverse this trend. The ministry has asked the Film Facilitation Office to work with Invest India to come up with a single-window portal for opening theatres, so that more and more theatres can be opened and the public gets to to watch the magic of films in theatres. The Centre will also work with the states to create a model theatre policy to ensure states can adopt and work on the same,” union secretary for information and broadcasting Apurva Chandra told a gathering at FICCI Frames Fast Track 2022 in Mumbai on Tuesday.

The government is considering different models, like all-encompassing entertainment hubs comprising a food court, sports facility and multiscreen cinemas under one roof which is already becoming popular in parts of India, Chandra said.

The Film Facilitation Office which was set up by the ministry as part of the National Film Development Corp. (NFDC) to promote and facilitate filming by foreign filmmakers in India. It offers a single-window clearance mechanism to filmmakers. Invest India is an investment promotion and facilitation agency helping investors looking for opportunities and options in India.

During the pandemic years, 1,500-2,000 theatres, mostly single screens, shut shop while several others are contemplating closing operations as more and more audiences preferred the comfort and convenience of video streaming platforms.

Chandra met several members of the industry, including Dinesh Vijan, founder of Maddock Films, Apoorva Mehta, chief executive, Dharma Productions, R. Balki, Ayan Mukerji, Gaurav Gandhi, Amazon Prime Video’s Aparna Purohit, Monica Shergill of Netflix and Producers Guild of India president Shibasish Sarkar, to build a consensus on key provisions of Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The issues include piracy and sub-classification within the U/A (unrestricted with caution or parental guidance required for viewers under 12 years) category for film certification. “The feedback from the industry participants was positive and unanimous.”

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First Published:27 Sep 2022, 10:52 PM IST
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