NEW DELHI :
The Multiplex Association of India (MAI), a body of theatre chains, has expressed disappointment over the government’s decision to keep cinemas shut in the Unlock 3.0 phase. The sector was thoroughly prepared with stringent Standrad Operating Procedures (SOPs) to provide a safe movie viewing experience, it said in a statement.
“The government’s decision is against our expectations and will impact millions of livelihoods dependent on the industry," MAI said in a statement on Thursday.
“We have been urging the government all along and continuing to engage with the relevant authorities with our plea to allow cinemas to operate," it added.
The stringent SOPs developed by MAI were presented to the information and broadcasting ministry and the health ministry, besides home ministry, the statement said. The guidelines have been developed keeping in mind global health standard practices and protocols being followed by theatres worldwide some of which have re-opened.
Cinemas were shuttered in India since the middle of March, which has led to zero revenues for the sector, for the first time in its history. Bollywood ended the first six months of 2020 with losses of around ₹1,000 crore while several single screens and independent properties have shut shop across the country over this period. The crisis has been aggravated by films unwilling to wait for theatres to reopen and opting for direct-to-digital releases.
The MHA guidelines said that decision on cinemas, among other activities will be taken separately after assessing the situation.
“At this point, we are only hopeful that we will be able to convince the authorities about our abilities to ensure a safe environment and that our plea is reconsidered for an early opening," the statement said.