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New Year holds promise for Sandalwood as big-star films lined up for release

New Year holds promise for Sandalwood as big-star films lined up for release
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New Year holds promise for Sandalwood as big-star films lined up for release

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The year 2021 promises to be exciting phases for the Sandalwood industry as several big films are waiting to hit big screens.

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Bengaluru: The year 2021 promises to be exciting phases for the Sandalwood industry as several big films are waiting to hit big screens. While Puneeth Rajkumar's 'Yuvarathnaa', directed by Santhosh Ananddram, is set for release on April 1, Kichcha Sudeep's much-awaited 'Kotigobba 3' and Darshan-starrer 'Roberrt' are likely to be released in the same month.

With cinema halls shutting down and shootings coming to a halt, 2020 was not a great year for the film industry which is learnt to have suffered over Rs 400 crore loss. The release of Puneeth Rajkumar's much-awaited film is expected to give a new ray of hope for producers and directors. A special announcement is expected from the 'Roberrt' team on January 10.

After Tamil Nadu government granted permission to increase the seating capacity in single screens and multiplexes from the existing 50% to 100% capacity, Karnataka is also following the same example. According to reports, the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC) is set to meet Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa requesting for permission to allow full occupancy in theatres. Following Tamil Nadu government's move, filmmakers in different States are requesting their respective governments to allow theatres to operate at full occupancy.

"Under the present circumstances, it is a huge challenge to reopen cinema halls. However, it is left to the State government which has to take the final call. But the film industry badly needs this because most of the films of star actors are ready but waiting for the right time. Also the team of 'Yuvarathnaa' has announced release date paving way for others to plan their moves. So, we met our CM and requested him to allow full occupancy in cinemas as Tamil Nadu has done. The chief minister told us that a decision in this regard will be taken based on the experts' opinion." said D.R. Jayaraj, president, Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC).

Currently, theatres in Karnataka are operating only with 50% capacity keeping in view the Covid-19 threat. It has been reported that the Kannada film industry has incurred a huge loss due to the pandemic and the lockdown. While several big star films were slated for a release last year, multi-starrers were put on hold. However, with 2021 filmmakers and distributors are hopeful that they will be able to salvage the situation as many big-starrer films are ready for release and will attract moviegoers to the theatres.

Cinema halls were allowed to operate with 50% capacity in October last year as part of the Unlock 5.0. While initially several Kannada films were re-released as part of the initiative, ACT-1978 became the first film to release post lockdown.

Meanwhile, industry experts said another major challenge is to woo audience back to cinema halls. Karnataka has seen a lukewarm response when theatres were reopened.

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