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West Bengal allows cinemas to reopen

As of this Friday, 4,000 cinema halls across Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab will start operations. (Photo: HT)Premium
As of this Friday, 4,000 cinema halls across Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab will start operations. (Photo: HT)

  • several Bollywood movies such as Sooryavanshi, ‘83, Atrangi Re, Jayeshbhai Jordaar, Prithviraj, Jersey, Lal Singh Chaddha, Satyameva Jayate, Gangubai Kathiawadi, Bachchan Pandey, Pathan, and Cirkus are waiting it out for theatrical release.

NEW DELHI: Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government has permitted reopening of cinema halls at 50% capacity this week, coinciding with the release of new Hollywood offerings like Mortal Kombat. Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government too has permitted multiplexes to resume operations in certain districts, Mumbai and Thane being some of them.

As of this Friday, 4,000 cinema halls across Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab will start operations with Mortal Kombat while five small Telugu films - Ishq, Thimmarusu, Narasimhapuram, Parigettu Prigettu and Trayam will find showcasing in their native states.

To be sure, trade experts are projecting a grim picture for the Indian movie business on the back of several cinemas across the country shutting shop, audiences wary of returning to cinemas, and most big-ticket films unlikely to release anytime soon despite easing of mobility curbs after a fall in cases of the second covid wave. This could result in a Rs3,000-4,000 crore loss for Bollywood this year, they say.

The Indian film industry saw business slump 75% in 2020, according to a recent PwC report. While the January to March quarter of 2021 barely managed box office earnings of Rs50 crore, the second quarter has been a complete washout with local Hindi films yet to lock release dates.

Many analysts also point out that just like big filmmakers were hesitant about bringing expensive star films to cinemas for months after reopening permits came in last October, they are likely to take it slow this time as well, with different seating capacities and state regulations adding to the chaos. Moreover, just like last year, the big summer season that sees tent-pole titles from both Hollywood and Bollywood hitting screens and is a coveted period thanks to school vacations, has been wiped out.

However, in a positive, several Bollywood movies such as Sooryavanshi, ‘83, Atrangi Re, Jayeshbhai Jordaar, Prithviraj, Jersey, Lal Singh Chaddha, Satyameva Jayate, Gangubai Kathiawadi, Bachchan Pandey, Pathan, and Cirkus are waiting it out for theatrical release.

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