Opening of cinemas: Thrills or shrills?

Opening of cinemas: Thrills or shrills?

  • Bollywood wants Centre to allow screening of films
  • South Indian film body says firm ‘no’ to the idea

Hyderabad: The South Indian Film Industry wants the Centre to have a rethink on the issue of opening of cinema theatres. This was told to Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy during a video conference with the minister. On the contrary, Tollywood is insisting on the opening of the theatres.

The South Indian Film Industry recalling the experience of countries such as the US and China where the theatres had to be shut soon after being re-opened as COVID-19 cases surged. It said the opening of theatres could contribute to an increase in the number of cases and at this stage even the film goers do not have confidence they would be safe.

The film industry body said though it was a fact that the industry had suffered huge losses both in terms of revenue and livelihood of many who are dependent on the industry, they were pleading with the Centre not to reopen the theatres during the forthcoming Unlock 3.0 from August 1.

The industry leaders said they were not in favour of even permitting only 20 to 25 per cent of the theatre capacity. This view, they said, had been conveyed by them to the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

Contrary to this, Bollywood and some representatives of the film and distribution houses from the North have made a representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry asking them to permit to run theatres with one-fourth of the seating capacity.

During his virtual interaction with the members of the South Indian Film Industry from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Kishan Reddy said the Centre has not taken any decision on the requests received from Bollywood and others.

He said those who wanted theatres to be allowed to function with 25 per cent of seating capacity argue that if international and domestic airlines could be permitted to operate flights with a restricted number of passengers even when travel time was about 14 hours in international destinations, why not theatres.

Film producer Daggupati Suresh Babu and other film industry representatives urged the Centre to reduce GST, extend facility of Rs 1 crore bank loans without security on the lines of the loans extended to the MSME sector, reduction of interest on the outstanding loans during the moratorium period, etc.

Kishan Reddy assured the members that a decision on the issue of re-opening theatres was likely to be taken on July 31 after considering all the viewpoints.

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