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Karnataka: If pubs can operate why not theatres, ask exhibitors
As the Karnataka government announced relaxations under Unlock 4.0, theaters and multiplexes have not been allowed to open yet
Bengaluru: As the Karnataka government announced relaxations under Unlock 4.0, theaters and multiplexes have not been allowed to open yet. Concerned for the sustenance of cinema halls, theatre owners and film producers in Karnataka say the state government has neglected the film industry's pleas, which has led to a loss of over Rs 1,200 crore in the last five months.
With pubs, clubs and bars were allowed to operate, the Sandalwood questioned why the state government has not permitted theaters and multiplexes to open.
"In Bengaluru, we had one open theatre which is now closed because of legal issues. There are rumours that the government is planning to give permission to screen movies with 50 per cent audience which will be a huge loss for the theatre owners and film producers. Being a producer and exhibitor, I am sure that no big production will plan to release their films during this situation because of the pandemic threat," said an exhibitor on condition of anonymity.
to the reports, there are around 650 single-screen theatres, including 140 in Bengaluru, across the state and one of the most important things for them to open up is to have sufficient content (movies) of all languages.
"Movie theatres have been shut for six months. The exhibitors (theatre owners) are being forced to pay property tax, exorbitant electricity bills running into lakhs of rupees and wages to the employees during the lockdown period. If we start screening with 50 per cent audience, we will incur heavy losses," another exhibitor from Bengaluru said.
With several producers hesitant to release their films, it would not be viable for the exhibitors to open theatres. Further, many exhibitors think it is better to keep the shutters closed than operate with 25 or 50 per cent audience. Earlier, the Karnataka Film Exhibitors Association demanded that the government abolish the minimum demand charges for electricity and water during the lockdown, waive off the licence fee for the year 2021, accord industry status to movie theatres and reduce the GST from 12 per cent to 5 per cent.